Thirty years ago, Linda and I made our first Thanksgiving dinner in her small Oakland cottage. We invited her parents and mine, and a couple of friends. Linda’s father seated himself at the table, smiled and said, “Well, this is a sea change.” In that moment, a torch was passed. Our house became the designated gathering place for holiday meals. When we moved to a larger house to accommodate our growing family, we had room to put up guests from out of town. They came from Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Washington, D.C.—even Stockholm, Sweden. Good food, good wine, extended visits from grandparents and aunts and uncles and step-siblings and cousins. Stories and jokes with friends. Treasured memories for our kids.
So it has gone every year until the present. This year, for the first time since the Administration of Bush the Elder, we will set a table for two. We’ll do a family Zoom call tomorrow, but that is cold comfort. Our kids are spending the holiday with each other, and that would warm the cockles of my heart if I knew what a cockle is, but they aren’t here. We will have our turkey and stuffing and sides and pie, but it ain’t the same. Linda and I have each other—and that’s more than so many people have—but it will be a sad and hollow Thanksgiving nonetheless.
I know we sacrifice this year so that we may all gather in good health the next. I know the circumstances in which we find ourselves are not the fault of any politician. I know this is only one day, and our relationships endure. It all sucks anyway. We will spend this holiday reminiscing about Thanksgivings past and anticipating Thanksgivings yet to come. We hold in our hearts all those from whom we are separated this year.
Our best wishes to friends and loved ones, here and elsewhere, however you are spending this most unusual and fraught holiday season.