December 19, 2020
Well brother , it’s Thanksgiving weekend. Where do I start? First, Thanksgiving without the old man, then without mom, then without you and finally without Mary, were all very tough. But this one is tough in a different way.
With the fear of this deadly virus spreading, the question is, “How do we handle the holiday.” We are very careful, following all the mask, handwashing and distancing protocol. But what should the attendance be for a dinner that usually finds us hosting upwards of 15 family members?
It’s funny, even when I was young most people always looked to me to organize, make the decisions and be the guy with the answers. Now that I am the oldest, they look to me even more .
I must admit, for the first time I find myself without the answer. Limit the attendance but not the menu. Skip settings that are being heralded as the worse for spreading, and hope for the best. But the responsibility for always being the guy with the answers has drained me completely. Cancel, and I’m the bad guy. Have someone come and get sick and I’m still the bad guy. It’s a tough call but I have made it.
Next on the Thanksgiving schedule is to be thankful for what we have. This is something I’ve always been good at. I never needed nor wanted much. But this piece of the puzzle has been hard for me as well as the rest of the world. It’s been a tough year. For many it has been a completely lost year. Be happy we are still here but mourn the losses of all those around us. It’s hard to be happy for yourself when your trials have been limited but the fear is always there and the sadness for others dims the mood.
So I try to go back in time and think of how mom always used to look on the bright side so I will make that attempt. This year I have been thankful for some crazy things so here I go. As mom would say, “Look on the bright side”.
I am thankful because I have learned the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic.
I am thankful because I am doing better at calculating fractions as I try to figure out the percentages and likelihood of who gets this disease and who dies.
I am thankful that I am learning new words and phrases. However, referring to college kids as the “silent spreaders” had a whole different meaning when I was a young man.
I am thankful for other words and abbreviations and phrases. ISO, social distancing, sanitizer, and protection are only a few on the new means of communication I now know how to understand. Again, when we were young protection meant something entirely different.
I am thankful that with all this going on I no longer have to speculate or draw an opinion as to whether or not the media taints numbers and stories or if politicians sometime lie. I now know that it’s a fact.
I am thankful for family and seclusion. With this pandemic comes a new found solitude that I have only recently learned to enjoy. I will say when this is over there will be a lot of social activity to catch up on, but being alone at times has been ok. Sometimes, not running all over the place and just relaxing can be very rewarding.
I am thankful that going on forty years SueAnn and I are closer than ever as we spend more and more time with each other and grow stronger as a team.
I am thankful for the memories of holidays past. I laugh as SueAnn pulls out Mary’s turkey pan to prepare our meal. Our sister never made it through 65 years and never cooked a turkey in her life but when we cleaned out her house at the time of her death, she had a brand new never used turkey pan.
I’m thankful that when many people reach Thanksgiving with no homes, no jobs and no money we are pretty comfortable.
I am thankful for a family that still seems to need me and a wife and kids who still seem to care about me.
I am thankful for a community that works together and helps each other out whenever help is needed.
I am mostly thankful for still being able to follow the traditions of family given to us by mom and the old man. I also have three children who want to continue these “together” customs.
Take care my brother. I miss you and the rest of the crew and I’ll see you soon, thankful in the thought that whenever it happens those left behind will be fine.