I know, saying Thanksgiving and 2020 in the same sentence seems like a total contradiction in terms, but bear with me. I think we have a lot to be thankful for, and as we progress through these unusual times, there will be more.
First and foremost, we made it to the end of November. It may be different where you are, but here, that means almost nine months of this new normal. And we are still alive. I know not everyone is, but I am, and since you are reading this, I’ll jump to the conclusion that you are too.
And this year, more than most, that in itself is something to be thankful for. I am also healthy. It’s probably been one of the healthiest years I have had in recent memory. And no wonder. Never in my sixty-five years have I put so much effort into avoiding contact with germs. Or any other living organism, for that matter. They say the flu season will be bad this year, but I don’t know how that can happen. None of us are breathing the same air.
More than any year I can remember, I’m thankful for friends. This is for many reasons. First, except for my wife and my Dad, who can still drive to our home for Thanksgiving, there will be no family this year. Our nieces and nephews are doing their own hibernation, and no one wants to be the one to cause illness in a loved one.
Our daughter, who is in the opposite corner of the country, is staying put. It’s coming up on a year since we’ve seen her, which coincidentally, was during our last vacation. Or travel of any kind. Sometime in 2021, come hell or high water, we will get together. Even if we both have to drive to Denver for lunch.
But also, I’m thankful for friends because I have so many now. More than at any other period of my life. We live in a beautiful community full of caring people, all of which I am proud to call a friend. We are somewhere in the middle age-wise, but we have friends from fifty-five to over ninety years old, and we still see them often, if only at the mailbox.
I am thankful for my health. As I said, I am as healthy as I have been in many years and enjoy long walks in the park, kittens, and… no wait, that’s a different article. But the point is, I get up early each day, enjoy my coffee and good food. I can walk as far as boredom allows me and pretty much do anything I choose to. Health. It’s something I’ve always taken for granted. Not anymore.
I’m thankful that we are financially secure and will continue our ‘golden years’ with the ability to do what we want. But knowing not everyone is in the same situation, I am thankful for collecting and delivering a weekly load of food to a local church. I am grateful to keep several bags of food and supplies in the trunk to hand out when we see someone in need. I am thankful for the ability to give so much, but not so much that the need exists to do so.
I am thankful that my hobbies and avocations, writing, photography, and guitar can still be practiced daily throughout these trying times we live through. I may not be photographing Rome and Paris this year, but there was a beautiful sunrise this morning I could capture. I can write and play the guitar until my fingers are too sore to continue. This social isolation thing has actually made the things I love to do more accessible, not less.
And while I hate the conditions that precipitated it, I am thankful that so many are coming together to fight a common enemy. Whether it is health workers on the front line or the rest of us just trying to stay safe and help by not being part of the problem, the world has united. If nothing else, it proves to us that we can. We can bond against a common foe and stand together. Unless there is only one package of toilet paper on the shelf, then all bets are off.
I am thankful that I will join with family and friends and have a traditional Thanksgiving feast. Well, actually, two of them, but who’s counting. I don’t usually like most conventional foods, but this year, it’s good just to share a table with a few people. Hopefully, by this time next year, we can bring the whole community together. I would be happy and blessed to be able to buy enough food for the entire damn crowd.
I’ve had a few odd Thanksgivings in the past, but I hope 2020 sets the all-time record for oddity. I will be hopeful and then thankful that sometime in 2021, we can put everything behind us except for the painful lessons we learned. Take nothing for granted. Don’t assume anything.
And always, always, be thankful for what you have.