A Very Covid-19 Thanksgiving

A beautiful fall afternoon in North Texas, November 8, 2020.

Sunday afternoon, my husband and I took a walk along the trail behind our home. The trail is winding through mature trees and older homes with manicured lawns and beautiful gardens. The trail can go on for miles or loop around what is essentially a bayou turned nature preserve. Bobcats and coyotes often use this bayou as a highway across our growing city, trying to scratch out survival from the ever encroaching human population. This small area is a sanctuary for them, and I’m grateful to live here and to be able to observe. We like to walk the two mile loop around the bayou, enjoying the breezy afternoon and keeping a look out for wildlife.

The trees in North Texas are changing colors. The crepe myrtles are a rusty shade of orange; the maples a bright red. I’d like to have my children put their phones down today to run outside and look at the colors and collect the different leaves. The Baby will probably go out, while the others will head upstairs and burrow in to their nests to decompress from the anxieties being a teenager can bring.

Every year, for Thanksgiving, we head down south to Houston, Texas for dinner with my large family. Twenty-five people or so will crowd into one home and eat, potluck style, turkey and all the traditional fixings. This year, however, Thanksgiving will be different. My grandfather is ninety-two years old, and none of us want to risk his health. In the middle of a pandemic, we must protect those we love by staying away from them.

Our plans are open, now. I’m disappointed that yet one more holiday will be spent confined to our home, just the five of us. On the other hand, given that my oldest daughter is nineteen years old and establishing her own place in the world, it may be the last time my family is ever together like this for an extended period of time.

I’ll buy the pies from a bakery. I’ll make the Thanksgiving dinner. My husband will clean the kitchen when I’m done. We will play Christmas music after, like my grandparents used to do every year. It will be a bittersweet night. I’d like to reach out to friends and neighbors who can’t go home to family and invite them to come here, but I really can’t. We usually have some company with us for the holidays we do spend at home, but this year everything has changed. No matter how much we quarantine, the virus spreads further and further. It is times like this that I wish we as a people were more united, and more cognizant of how our actions affect each other. A little consideration could go a long way to ending this pandemic.

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