Some people have celebrated Thanksgiving in the same way for years. Not me. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I celebrated with more than two generations and a band of cousins. When I was a kid, we lived in Nebraska, my mom's family were mostly on the west coast, and my dad's tiny family was clustered in South Jersey. So Thanksgiving was just the four of us, with maybe the addition of a random guest or two. After Jim and I got married, we stayed home for our first Thanksgiving, and invited a bunch of fellow students who were at loose ends. Then we had several years of trekking to Other People's Houses because we were the young couple with no kids. My parents divorced in the mid-1970s and Thanksgiving turned into an awkward dance, rationing ourselves out carefully so neither one felt slighted. After we moved to DC, we stopped traveling for Thanksgiving. Not only was it the WORST time to try to go anywhere, and the end of my semester (grading, final papers, panic), but Jim worked in the display department of a big downtown store and often worked overtime the weekend after Thanksgiving to trim the aisles and windows for Christmas. Our Thanksgiving has changed every few years; that's our "tradition".
For many people, this is a suddenly different Thanksgiving, but for us, it's just another chance to ensure the Important Things happen. There must be pie and stuffing. There must be time spent with friends. There must be gratitude.
There was definitely pie. I have had four pieces of pumpkin pie today, and will have more pie tomorrow. There was stuffing, though not enough. (Then again, I never get enough stuffing.) I had a wonderful phone call with a close friend, and we visited with a new neighbor down the hall. And there is gratitude. Gratitude for our new home, for safety, for health and humor, for opportunities to be of use. Gratitude for technologies that have made these months easier, gratitude for artists and musicians, gratitude for health care workers and for children and for cute animal videos.
When this is over, let's have a party. A big one, with lots of stuffing.