Have you noticed it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas? Store windows filled with Christmas displays, old fashioned Christmas music (“I’ll be home for Christmas”) drifting through the aisles of the food market and outdoor lighting displays sparkling at the end of the day. It is understandable, of course. Retailers are hoping to attract some of the business they lost during the year and municipal leaders are hoping the festive lights and outdoor markets will encourage people to feel a sense of joy and hopefulness in what has been a challenging year for all of us.
We have just packed away the Halloween decorations and costumes, storing the boxes on a shelf in the garage or the basement. Next week is Thanksgiving. The holiday that gathers American families, from all races and cultures, together as one family. This year Thanksgiving, like all of the other holidays, will be different. Families will not be traveling over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house. Families living on different coasts or spread across the world will not be landing at international airports to be reunited with their families, friends and communities.
Yet as difficult as the challenges have been, as the coronavirus has spread across the country, as political turmoil has dominated news cycles, there have been many silver linings. Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center over the last month has featured something to be thankful for each day. It reminded me we should all do the same as we celebrate Thanksgiving.
We should be thankful for the friendship and love that has underlined this year, 2020. For the essential workers, the nurses, doctors, bus drivers, retail workers who risked contracting COVID-19 so life would go on for the rest of us. For many of us daily routines were completely overturned leaving us to be inventive and creative in figuring out how reorder our lives, to find elegance, laughter, entertainment and exercise in corners we had overlooked.
This thanksgiving I will not be with my family. I will not have an opportunity to drive through Franconia Notch to attend the parade in Littleton that welcomes Santa Claus, followed by a tall stack of pancakes, smothered in maple syrup and butter at the Littleton Diner and then walking down Main Street to stop at the Modern L and visit a friend from childhood.
This year I am studying recipes and planning the table decorations for what will be quiet dinner.
A dinner of true thanksgiving for the precious acts of kindness and the love that has been the silver lining of this year, giving thanks for the struggle that allows us to see through to the joy in life and the awe in nature.
I wish you and your families a Thanksgiving filled with the thought that on this day we do come together as Americans, grateful for all we have and the ennobling spirit, that in spite of our differences, binds us together.
You can follow Elizabeth on Instagram at elizh24 or send her a note at: email@example.com She is an author and journalist. Her books include: Ned O’Gorman: A Glance Back, a book she edited (Easton Studio Press, 2015), A Day with Bonefish Joe (David R. Godine, 2015), Queen Anne’s Lace and Wild Blackberry Pie, (Thornwillow Press, 2011).