This Thanksgiving is shaping up to be one that will be beyond belief for many and unlike any other in history. In the last two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving 2020, governors have declared draconian orders, implemented curfews, called for mandatory 14-day quarantines for people traveling to certain states, and the prohibition of all social gatherings with people not from the same household — even with as few as two people, even if it is done outside, even if proper social distancing is practiced, and even if everyone is wearing a face mask. For those who dare to defy these domineering directives face punitive penalties, including fines of up to $1,000 or 90 days in prison.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines on how you should hold your holiday celebrations. The CDC recommends that you treat your Thanksgiving with your loving family like it was a work Zoom call, and that the feast be held virtually.
The health agency advises people to "limit the number of attendees as much as possible to allow people from different households to remain at least 6 feet apart at all times." "Sorry Aunt Edna, you're the 11th guest at Thanksgiving, and we can't socially distance properly past 10 people, so it looks like you'll have to hit the road – you can come back at around 9 p.m. for a curbside pickup of your leftovers; do you like dark or white turkey meat?"
The CDC states: "Encourage guests to avoid singing or shouting, especially indoors. Keep music levels down so people don't have to shout or speak loudly to be heard." Good luck telling Uncle Mike not to shout once he pours a Maker's Mark and starts ranting as to why the Dallas Cowboys only have three wins this season.
Speaking of alcohol, the CDC wants you to lay off the booze during Thanksgiving, which for some people is the time they need a shot of liquid coping the most.
What started out as "15 days to slow the spread," has quickly morphed into 255 days of lockdowns, which has had a devastating effect on people's mental well-being. Doctors believe that the prolonged isolation during the coronavirus pandemic has plunged many senior citizens into despair.
Now, more than ever, we need to be thankful for our families. People are craving real interactions, not only through digital screens. People yearn for their loved ones during a time of rising depression and addiction.
People desperately thirst for something normal, not whatever officials tell you is "the new normal." Thanksgiving with the people you unconditionally love, a time-honored tradition your family engages in every November, will fill your soul with a warmth that has been missing for months.
Hearing Grandpa tell the same story he has told 177 times about how he almost made it to the major leagues as a pitcher, but he blew out his arm in college is suddenly strangely soothing this year.
Mashing potatoes for your Aunt Patricia as she complains about her rheumatoid arthritis is no longer a chore, it is a welcomed privilege because you truly understand that we must treasure these precious moments that disappear in the blink of an eye, and future blessed family celebrations are absolutely not guaranteed.
Getting real in-person updates, not Facebook updates, straight from your cousin's mouth on how her 4-month-old twins are growing so fast as the adorably chubby babies coyly coo in their seats will instantly heal your God-loving essence.
In a time of so much uncertainty, nothing is so reassuring and comforting than connecting with your family — the people you share a blood bond, a heart bond, and the bond of traditions, such as Thanksgiving.