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Pandemic OK, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:45am

Well. Here we are.

I would love to hear about your Thanksgiving plans this year. A judgment-free zone, if we might, because I am going to trust that you all will do what you must to keep everyone safe.

My husband and I are staying in. We will order takeout, from a local business, either a family-owned supermarket or a restaurant we used to patronize when we went anywhere. We will not have visitors. Now that I think about it, we will probably do an extended family Zoom call, as we have every Saturday evening almost since the pandemic began.

I hope everyone remembers that if things are hard, there is good reason. We can only hope to be Pandemic OK. What are you cooking?

I have often used daydreams to make my way when I struggled. For better or worse. But in my imaginary Thanksgiving this year I have better plates and new black loafers. And my whole, entire, beloved family sits around a white tablecloth and picks up their silver forks, light reflecting. In case it wasn’t clear, I am trying to use images of things to distract from the coming absence. I will fail.

Here are my imaginary new salad plates, to replace the red striped Cornishware I’ve chipped like a son-of-a-gun. Hermès Balcon de Guadalquivir. Imaginary. And there is one other pattern I haven’t shown here, to mix. I have coveted these since forever.

I’d wear the outfit my siblings gave me, but with new shoes. I have owned one pair of black loafers or another since I was 37. Why I don’t now I do not know. The Carlisle loafer. Just love that squared-off toe, and the leather looks soft.

(Alternatively, these from Brother Vellies.)

Finally, I’d serve the gravy with this, something that came to me when we divided up my mom’s belongings. It’s about five inches long. We think the initials are from Great-grandmother Nina, pronounced Ninah, but we do not know. I’ve always wanted a teeny-tiny ladle. I am letting small things fall into place as the big ones spin somewhat spiky and painful across the world.


I’m glad you’re here. I so hope you are also alright and can have a Pandemic OK weekend.


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49 Responses

  1. We were going to drive today to see my mom (and my aunt), but decided yesterday to cancel.

    We started planning a few months ago, when we knew we would need to quarantine after being pollworkers on Nov 3. We thought we might as well put the quarantine to good use and were going to drive the two days to Colorado.

    (Our usual activities that put us out of quarantine are going to the grocery store and the library and volunteering at the food bank.)

    But the numbers in the past few days have been so bad and so many people in our region (upper MidWest) think masks are stupid and won’t wear them that we decided we didn’t even want to take the risk of going into gas station bathrooms.

    So now we are staying at home and we are cranky and sad. I wonder if we are overreacting but I couldn’t live with myself if I took covid to my mom or my aunt.

    1. @Texan In Exile, I am so sorry. You and your husband are doing everything right, and social good besides. But I understand, even when your mom might urge you to come you just can’t. All of us cranky and sad:(.

  2. We currently have plans to host the two families we are bubbled with from our children’s schools, unless Governor Inslee locks us down completely, which may very well happen. I haven’t bought any food yet, but I did order a pair of wine velvet pants to wear with my copper sweater and slippers, a pretty olivewood cheese board and a coloring tablecloth for the kids (or maybe me.) None of us are football fans. We’ll watch the virtual Macy’s parade and the National Dog show, assuming it happens. Dinner at 5 and then send the kids to the TV room to watch a movie while the adults play a board game. The next day is our 27th wedding anniversary. No big plans this year, just being grateful that we have each other. I did ask for an receive a gorgeous encaustic painting from a local artist as an anniversary/Christmas present. It practically glows and makes me very happy.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. @Renee, I love the idea of wine velvet pants with a copper sweater! I hope you are able to gather as you’ve planned. And that painting brings the Pacific Northwest to mind immediately. How wonderful.

  3. We have ordered our meal from the local bakery. We are staying in as well and trying to think forward to summer and better times.

  4. The things we used to take for granted. Lisa, I hope that the Thanksgiving of your dreams comes true, in all respects, next year. I love those red and white plates!

    I’m going to be home alone. My son, who was with me from March to July, is now on the other coast. I miss him tremendously, but I am so happy and relieved that he was able to find his first real job (graduated virtually in June) and move cross-country to live in a house with others his age. He would have been miserable if he couldn’t have moved on. I feel terrible for the young people whose lives are completely on hold. So I am thankful that things worked out as they did.

    My sister has young adult children who normally would have driven 2-3 hours to get to their home in the upper midwest, but the hospitals in the area are full and my sister has told them not to risk driving. I’m trying to think of something nice to send my son and his cousins, all experiencing their first major holiday without family.

    1. @Marie, The Things We Took For Granted. If 2020 had a name, that would be it. I am very happy that your son is so well-settled, but how hard to have him so far away.

  5. Instead of our usual, much-anticipated, joyous annual family feast featuring niece-raised turkey, cousin-raised brussels sprouts and potatoes, and homemade everything, my husband and I will stay in. If the weather is halfway decent, we will go for a walk in the country. Your idea of takeout is great!

  6. Our plans are much like yours: staying home, FaceTime with our sons and their families, and for the first time ever I’ve ordered a pre-made Thanksgiving meal from a restaurant, through a restaurant supply service that was one of the only ways we could get groceries back in the dark days of spring in New York. Hoping for better days soon. If I were to emulate you and fantasize about doing it differently I would be heartbroken, so instead I’ll remember our joyous get-together last year and look ahead to a post-vaccine world.

  7. We are a small family. My son and his wife will wear masks except while eating. We will open all the windows and doors and burn a fire. Additionally, each person will have their own serving spoon. We will be approximately nine feet apart one couple to each couch. After dinner they will drive rs back to Columbia, MO. I will not let anyone help with the dishes. What can I say I was an R.N. and think I can pull this off safely. We shall see!


  8. Maybe we should all decide to be safe and have Thanksgiving when this pandemic thing is all over. We celebrated Thanksgiving in October. Just Hubby and me and a nice roast chicken. My 93 year old mum was alone in New Brunswick. Her lovely caregiver arrived with two plates of turkey dinner and stayed to eat with her. That made me a little verklempt, I’ll tell you. We cannot visit since the numbers up here in Ontario are sooo much worse. But Mum is pragmatic. Determined to stay alive until we can get home, whenever that is. So she and I can drink tea and yak and watch Jane Austen movies together. But at 93… who knows? I do know that for the sake of one meal, I would not risk infecting her. So we wait.

    1. @Sue Burpee, So hard to be far away from our older parents:(. I am listening to the older people in my life, and doing as they wish, unless I feel it would really compromise my health.

  9. My husband, son, and I will stay in and order a Thanksgiving meal from a local restaurant. My daughter and son-in-law will not be joining us on T-Day but will be here next week. They have been working from home, always wear masks when outings are necessary, and will travel by car to visit. We have all been vigilant, so we hope that we are safe. Thanksgiving usually involves playing games and watching the Macy’s parade and football. We will try to keep up the tradition.

    1. @Mary, I will hope you are safe too.

      From what I understand, keep the windows open as much as you can stand it. I am happy you will see your family.

  10. I will spend the day with the television broadcasts of the modified Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the National Dog Show and, if on, a re-run of the film Miracle on 34th Street, with attention skewed by the holiday card I am developing from an image I came across reviewing the work of my significant other, a very accomplished professional photographer, who died in late summer. Sheltering at home, he was unable to receive the face-to-face treatment he needed for complications from a years-long illness. Fortunately, I’m not a foodie, so I will not lament the lack of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. So, a somewhat flat but not empty day.

    1. @Nancy, I’m so sorry your significant other is gone. The pandemic has made illnesses of all sort, mental, physical, chronic, so hard for the sufferers and for their family. Making a holiday card from his work seems like such an apt and loving way to keep his memory.

  11. We are staying in, which is what we usually do, having no family on either side. I am cooking a small chicken (from Costco, and they’re really good), stuffing in a pan, and sweet potatoes (no marshmallows). Pumpkin pie if available, or something else if not. It’s what we always do, but this year it’s making me a little sad that so many people will not see their families, and that so many people will and then will fall ill. This just wears on a person after awhile.

    1. @Allison, How nice to be able to keep to your ritual. We are very happy to be with each other, and yet, this does wear on a person after a while.

  12. just the two of us, and the boy. (who lives alone + is tested every week for covid as part of school protocol.)

    not sure what the meal will be … am open to a broad interpretation of thanksgiving as i will be focused on being thankful to have our small family unit together … am hopeful that in 2021 we will be able to return to celebrating my favorite holiday however we choose, with all options on the table!

    1. @jane, Some schools are doing this so well! I am glad your boy can come back to you. A broad interpretation is key to sanity, at this point. xoxo.

  13. We will stay in with our local son who has been careful and comes over for dinner once a week. None of us really likes turkey so ours will be fish with whatever trimmings look good. A factime game with older son and his wife. We have not seen them for a year and hope to drive to see them at Christmas. Have rented a house near them so plenty of room for physical distancing options, but it’s a long drive so we will just have to wait and see.

    1. @Lynn, Fish! I love a creative approach to tradition when it suits everyone:). We have family coming into town in December. They will drive up, like you, and stay at an airbnb so that all get-togethers will be outside.

  14. I will dearly miss my grandchildren, daughter, and son in law, but since they reside in an area that doesn’t adhere to social distancing, I will not join them. My employer, a local medical school, has hit social media with a checklist of covid preventive maneuvers. I can’t say I disagree with that list, as the beloved owner of a small local bakery died this morning from covid. These are sad times. Stay safe!

  15. We just moved out of the city, actually moving into our new home the week before Thanksgiving. My daughter and her family, who are moving here too will join us for Thanksgiving. We’ll all have Covid tests the Monday before….I’m not making a traditional dinner. Homemade pizzas with turkey sausage, kale caesar salad and pumpkin pie. I’m having a harder time adjusting to this second wave emotionally than I did to the first. Worn down.

    1. @KSL, Pizza with turkey sausage sounds like a perfect Thanksgiving-adjacent menu. I am so glad you have moved to be near your daughter and her family. I hope all of you together weather this second wave well in both soul and body.

    1. @Cara (S. FL), I can’t access the article without registering, and in this day and age I have become relatively guarded about my contact details. Which might seem odd for someone on the Internet as I am, but I do what I can. Thanks.

  16. We’ll be alone, just the two of us, for Thanksgiving. I plan to roast a chicken, make cornbread dressing, and twice stuffed sweet potatoes. The day after Thanksgiving or, the day after that, our older son and his family are coming out to the farm to be with us for a week. Don’t worry. They have been as isolated as we have been. They have a disabled son, our grandson, who is very at risk with the virus due to medical issues, and they know that we have been very very careful and isolated. We’ll have a fun filled week at the farm if everything goes according to plan. This has been such a sad year. We’re fortunate to have two houses almost 100 miles apart, and we are fortunate that we are getting along with each other well. We talk often about the day things return to normal–hoping the day actually comes.

    1. @Susan D., Fingers crossed for your fun-filled week! And next year, if you give me your recipe, I’d love to try making cornbread dressing. (We call it stuffing, that’s the same thing, right?)

  17. This will definitely not be a Hallmark Thanksgiving! I was not planning a gathering but on top of that my 8 year old wall oven failed and the part required is discontinued. I bought a new wall oven and it might get installed for Christmas. Supply chains are disrupted due to…you guessed it…COVID. No turkey roasting here. I’ll fire up the grill! It will be BBQ for Thanksgiving.

    1. @Susan, Eight year-old ovens are NOT supposed to break! Boo! I suppose you could barbecue a turkey if you were game, or buy a deep fryer if you were ambitious, but grilling something else seems like a perfectly reasonable 2020 Thanksgiving to me;).

  18. Seems like we’re all doing the same thing. Staying home. No family. Probably ordering dinner from a local restaurant. I’ve never done that before. So who knows maybe I’ll wind up cooking. Bottom line no kids , grandkids or extended family and friends. But we want to live for another day. Another year. This too shall pass. I hope. It was my 80 th birthday and our 60th anniversary. No bang up celebration this year. Next year.

    1. @Sandra Sallin, So sad to miss the celebration for the big birthday and anniversary but I bet next year will be all the more spectacular. If you cook I will applaud you;).

  19. We don’t do Thanksgiving here in UK but are contemplating a small and quiet Christmas Day, with Zoom as our merry messenger. As you say, we have to do what is best to stay safe and sound. It’s just another gathering we will not be enjoying but that’s fine because the alternative – headlong rule-breaking and likely infection – is beyond my comprehension. Re loafers: I love them but they never really look right on me, apart from a pair I bought in France many years ago (grey suede) which fitted beautifully and are no more. If only I had known, I would have bought two pairs. I substitute the brogue, which I can rock. I strongly suggest you buy those plates, btw.

    1. @Annie Green, How sad to have had one true loafer love;). Thank you for the plate enablement, it’s always welcome, and I wish you an early Happy Christmas and for the whole world, a Joyeux Noël too.

  20. Just three this year instead of 14-15…my husband, 88 year old mother I care for and me. I will cook a part of a whole turkey but not a whole bird and scale down the sides. Leftovers have been and are always welcome. We do and will miss the friends who typically join a full table with multiple pies. However, the infection numbers in MA are alarming and we have no wish to put ourselves or others in harm’s way.

    This Pandemic has been devastating for too many so we are thankful for our health, our home, the ability to shop and pay bills without worry. What we don’t spend on a larger dinner will be donated to the food pantry where I volunteer (duly gloved and masked).
    And I will still break out the sterling flatware and candlesticks ( 25 year old wedding gifts) just because.

    Wishing all a good health and cheer despite the circumstances.

    1. @K Gaylin, I appreciate your reminder that gratitude is a saving grace for many sadnesses. It is so fortunate to even be deciding whether to take out or cook a big Thanksgiving dinner. All best wishes to you and yours.

  21. Our Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone, and while it was tough not to be together, we did the full Turkey with Trimmings for the two of us and enjoyed leftovers and soup the following week (and then some!). Now we’re in a 2-week restriction that asks us not to socialize beyond our immediate household. Hoping this will be enough to bend the curve if not flatten it, and hoping the restriction won’t be extended. And thinking ahead to how to make a happy Christmas if we’re not able to be together in person. . . Perhaps that will be another good lesson, another bit of character-building and truth-revealing, brought to us by 2020. . . (rather thinking I’ve learned enough already ;-)

    1. @Frances, I agree. Is this not enough, oh 2020? Have we yet more to learn? FINE.

      I hope your restrictions can be eased up after this two-week pause. And I’ll wish you a Happy Christmas in advance too. xoxox.

  22. We will be celebrating(?) just the two of us even though my oldest daughter and her family live in our neighborhood and my younger daughter and her family live just a 10-minute drive away. Due to the fact that they have to be in contact with people outside of our family (unavoidable) it’s not very safe. We will probably get our dinner delivered by them but then we will eat at our own house and see them via FaceTime. Take care and be safe. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

  23. We’ll be having our now-traditional small 3-person gathering, with our son coming down from Manhattan on T-Day itself and staying through the weekend. (Our daughter and her family go from their Manhattan apt to their updated old farmhouse in rural northwestern Connecticut, and celebrate with friends there.)

    I do a very traditional dinner, as befits my Boston-born husband, but I have it down pat by now, and Thanksgiving has become the only holiday that I find truly relaxing to anticipate and cook for. I always choose special music to play while in the kitchen – this year will be a full stack of Nancy Griffith CDs, although last year it was two different versions of “The Marriage of Figaro” – my favorite opera.

    The two variations I’m planning for this year are 1) home-made gougeres instead of cheese and crackers during cocktails, and 2) cornbread stuffing instead of my usual bread and herbs (which will be a shocker!).

    And as always, we will raise a glass of prosecco to those who are gone – a somewhat longer list this year, to our sorrow. 2020 has been hard in so many ways.

  24. I had been planning to drive to San Antonio, where my aunt was planning a 90th birthday party. Her birthday party is the day after thanksgiving and I was going to drive and drive back, my vacation being mostly time in the car, and possibly some socially distanced walks with my new dog. The party was cancelled due to restrictions however, so I am staying home. She an I agreed that we will have a big shindig when we can get together again. I am very cautious about going places as the anti-mask contingent is quite vocal and I case counts and deaths are both on the rise in my area.

    Possibly I will have Thanksgiving with my daughter’s family but her husband is at high risk so they are very cautious. We will only gather if we can eat outdoors, and I don’t feel like doing a full-on traditional Thanksgiving meal for that. In fact my grandson and I agreed that we don’t even really care for the traditional menu. I bought a pretty warm table-top fire-pit contraption which may help. We are thinking of some kind of international, mezze-inspired spread and I had ordered a Spanish ham sampler. If we decide not to get together I can happily nibble on hams for days. I may, if I find a couple of nice turkey legs, braise them in some wine and porcini mushrooms just for myself; everyone else in the family only eats the breast anyway, about which I could care less.

  25. Instead of the usual very large family gathering (like 35-36 large) – it will be 3 of us this year. Myself, hubs and daughter. My daughter is coming home from her college – and will be tested before coming home. We will do a zoom call with some of the remainder of the family.

    My son, nurse practioner daugher-in-law and grandchildren will not be making the trip this year – too dangerous for them to come to us. I will miss them so.

    We plan to all work together on the mean – which will be all our traditional favorites scaled down considerably. Watching the virtual Macy’s parade is on the docket, and if the dog show carries on we’ll watch that as well. The evening we hope for a fire (if the Alabama weather allows) and either White Christmas or Miracle on 34th Street. Or we may binge on Harry Potter movies – who knows!

    Not the usual holiday – but we will make the best of it we can. And hope for a blow out next year!

  26. Update to Luci’s post.
    Perhaps, after hearing one too many news stories we decided to not have my son and his wife over this Thanksgiving holiday.
    I have never enjoyed Russian roulette.
    Best wishes to all and hope for better days ahead.


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