Through the Woods

Here it is, the weekend before Thanksgiving 2020 and it’s cold and gloomy like a typical November day. At least that much hasn’t changed. Many of us will be spending Thanksgiving with much fewer family members this year and the day will feel different.

For me, Thanksgiving hasn’t been the same for decades. Thanksgiving at my great-grandmother’s house in Taylorville is how I think of the day. Our pitiful attempts at recreating what she was able to do so naturally have always seemed, well, pitiful. It just hasn’t been the same.

My mom probably could have filled the role well as she aged but unfortunately passed away at a relatively young age. So, that has left me and I can’t be Thanksgiving and I certainly can’t be my great-grandmother.

I can be Christmas breakfast or Halloween but not Thanksgiving. For one, I’m not the most gifted cook in the world. If tasteless turkey and lumpy mashed potatoes are your thing then I can do that. At least, the dogs appreciate my cooking, though I’ve noticed they too more eagerly beg when I bring home takeout. What’s up with that?

Holidays come with expectations and I would assume most of us draw back on our childhood for what Christmas and Thanksgiving is supposed to feel like. I loved singing that one Thanksgiving song in school. “Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go…” It was magical and exciting… but, if we’re honest, holidays can be very weird or awkward.

I’ve wrote in the past about my great-uncle’s new wife who unsettled the family like a rabid bat caught in the living room drapes. She was the exact opposite of his previous wife who was timid and gentle. She barked out commands to her own beat which she timed with frequent hand claps and foot stomping.

She was like an out of tune chime in our family’s orchestra. It had taken years to get us all playing the same tune on Thanksgiving. Everyone knew what their role was, where they were to sit, and how the song went. She blew it all up to hell!

But in time, and looking back, it’s what I remember the most about Thanksgiving. The story would have been kinda boring without her.

This year, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving virtually using Zoom. Actually, I’m looking forward to it. It’s perfect when you think about it. Having the ability to mute your in-laws at the Thanksgiving table is a dream come true!!

But seriously, I think it’s going to be special and memorable. Just like my out-of-tune great-aunt, Covid-19 has unsettled us all but there’s still much to be thankful for and I doubt any of us will forget Thanksgving 2020.

While past Thanksgivings have become a blur of overeating and bad football games, 2020 is going to stand out and remind us of the most important things to be thankful for. The mute feature on Zoom? Maybe.

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