It’s Thanksgiving and clearly not like any Thanksgiving I ever had in my 50 years. It’s different for everyone, at least it should be. An unwanted package left on our collective doorstep by the pandemic…or is it a gift? For a moment, see past the overeating and bustling dinner tables. Separate the shitty Lions football and loudmouth relatives from the day we’re to give thanks and be appreciative for what remains, your life. See it at the capacity for what is, not what it could be or what it should have been. A humble home, hopefully health, and something you like to eat. A focus on those faces that live in immediate household. I’m sorry for the sharp pang of remorse this brings to anyone that’s lost a loved one to this virus, the last thing those folks need is to be further isolated in grief.
Freedom from Want, 1943
By Norman Rockwell
Oil on canvas, 45" x 35"
Freedom from Want, Redneck Style, 2012
By Sam Spratt
For many years, most of my adult Thanksgivings were spent drinking and eating too much with people who have drifted into and out my life. The cast of that production has evolved, it seems every 10 years. From siblings to extended in-laws and friends (and or) a peculiar combination of the three. Children and family pets have replaced outlaying aunts and uncles. Watching those children grow from those little kids that need to be entertained with video games to young adults who discuss their aspirations and developing politics. Now this year, the focus is even more narrowed on just those in our households. Yes, we’ll find ways to connect to those who also are separated responsibly for the sake of not spreading Covid. But in the end you’ll be eating a festive dinner modestly with those you spend everyday with, at least you should. I imagine many will disregard and carry on like nothing is different. Many have already reconciled the risk and rationalized the alarming infection rates. To those, I hope your crap shoot doesn’t come up snake eyes, the lives of your at-risk family members depend on it.
Thanksgiving Dinner, 1982
By David Bates
Acrylic on canvas
The Dinner, 1869
By Claude Monet
Oil on canvas
On to more pressing matters. Establishing the logistics to jockey mashed potatoes and Brussel spouts around the county for those that usually had a place at the table. I imagine my Thanksgiving will be like any other day in some ways. Sneaking out to my studio for a few hours, then spending the lion’s share of the afternoon “bump’n asses" with my wife in our tiny kitchen, with the exception of making side dishes to be divvied up in a series of to-go boxes. I’m hoping maybe this will create a new tradition among my household. Perhaps my adult children can truly discover the joys of boredom. To quietly reflect on what it means to thankful for what they have. Maybe even show an interest in learning recipes that have become stalwarts in our family’s cookbook for generations. Huh, who am I kidding, that’s not going to happen. Nonetheless, here’s hoping you have the best Thanksgiving you can despite the circumstances. Most families start each feast with a blessing. This year should be no different. If the dogma of religion plays no part, then you should spend a few moments each vocalizing something you’re thankful for, isn’t that the premise of the holiday.
Hopefully you’re sparred the agony of mediocre football. Hopefully you left room for pie. Hopefully you find an opportunity to nap. Hopefully, despite this pandemic, you have some things to be thankful for.