It’s Friday, November 27th. Traditionally known in America as Black Friday. The Day After Thanksgiving. Food Coma Recovery Day. Raise your hand if you shouldn’t have eaten that last [fill in the blank].
The past few weeks here in the States, most of the conversation not dominated by Things Political has been focused on the War on Thanksgiving, aka “Life with Covid-19.” Medical authorities and science-aware politicians have asked – begged – people to stay home, telling us that it’s better to miss this one Thanksgiving than to miss all the ones to come, and other words of caution.
Too many people, feeling either that they know more than medical professionals or simply not caring, ignored the warnings. We’ll see, in a few weeks, if they’ve cost us lives, and the winter holidays, too.
Those of us who heeded the warnings may have gone into the holiday feeling like we did, in fact, “miss” Thanksgiving. I certainly felt that way – not only was I not able to fly back east to see my family for the first time since my mother’s funeral in January, I couldn’t even gather with local friends. And hey, those feelings were valid. 2020 has been, you should pardon my language, a shittastic fuckery of a year. Even if you didn’t start the past twelve months with major surgery and the hanging sword of cancer like I did, it’s not like 2019 was anything to write home about either, and WHAM hello Covid-19, like the shitty kicker to the Trump regime. Losing Thanksgiving was pouring salt into the wound of insult added to injury, and it was entirely reasonable to be grumpy, if not downright angry.
But something funny happened, at least here. As we cooked, and baked, and plotted zoom sessions, and arranged for drop-offs and pick-ups of food; as we teased each other about not getting out of our pajamas all day, or having to clean the house for company, we also had time to look around, and see, in the shadows of what we’re missing, the light of what we have.
Caring. Connections. Community.
We didn’t miss Thanksgiving. It was right here, waiting for us to notice it again. Not the whitewashed historical story we were fed as children, but something better. Thanks. Giving. Taking a breath to be thoughtful, thankful, and mindful not just of what we have, but what we’re able to give.
And maybe next year, when we gather with our loved ones without fear of pandemic, we’ll be able to remember some of that, and build on it.
Maybe. That’s up to us.