Thanksgiving Options: Very Safe, Fairly Safe Or Not Safe At All


Thanksgiving is next Thursday, and I have three choices:

  1. The Safe Choice — I spend a couple of days baking, cooking and cleaning; set a beautiful table where flickering candles bathe fall’s bounty in a glorious yellow glow; and have a wonderful private feast with my husband.
  2. The Next-Safest Choice — I accept my daughter’s invitation to enjoy the holiday at their house; let the kids romp all over me and breathe in my face; and settle in to watch football, sated and happy.
  3. The Probably Unsafe Choice — I get into my car and drive through several states to visit my brother, who is going to spring my parents from the retirement home in which they’ve been entrenched since March, and we will have a down-home family Thanksgiving reminiscent of the good ol’ days, except that we’re all wearing masks and sitting in folding chairs on the back patio, six feet apart in 55-degree weather with a robust wind-chill factor.

Ordinarily, having these three choices would make me feel great. The fact that all these people consider me important enough and funny enough (and non-combative enough) and worthy enough to want to spend Thanksgiving with me would have me smiling from ear to ear.

But this year, my choice is really whom do I want to endanger the most — my husband, my daughter or my parents?

So, I could let myself get mired in depression, knowing that I am nothing but a potential germ-carrying pariah wherever I go — or, I could look at the bright side!

The bright side is this (it’s not much, but it’s all I’ve got) — think of how magical and powerful and appreciated all these holidays are going to be next year, post-vaccine. Even if the shots aren’t available to us peons until spring, Easter Egg hunts could be back by April! The crowds at the Fourth of July celebrations might be huge! Grandparents’ Day will include actual grandparents.

By the time Halloween shows up, this whole virus travesty could be nothing but a dim memory (fingers crossed). Costumes will sell out! Kids will be showered with buckets of candy at every door!

Thanksgiving won’t be held via Zoom, but around an honest-to-goodness table with people seated less than six feet apart, savoring the inexplicably, indescribably beautiful smells of roasted turkey and pumpkin pie and buttery mashed potatoes and warm homemade rolls, fresh from the oven! Christmas, well, Christmas 2021 will include shopping at the mall — for months! Wouldn’t that be nice?

And those are the hopes we have to cling to, people! Look past the rapidly rising case numbers; the scary up-the-nose testing; the severe, claustrophobic isolation! Look to the future — the near future — where we beg someone to stick a needle into our arm and inject us with a vaccine that may have been rushed to market.

It’s all good! Uh-oh, sinking into the abyss again. Luckily, I have a pumpkin spice candle right here.

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