Culture | Food | Seasons

Thanksgiving 2020

This morning would normally be abuzz with Thanksgiving runners scrambling out the door to run the Feaster Five in Andover, Massachusetts. They have a virtual race this year, I’m told. I’m not the runner in the household. Normally I’d wish the runners good luck and focus on other things. For I have other obligations on this day.

I am the designated turkey escort: I escort it from the refrigerator to the sink to the counter to the oven to the table. It’s fair to say I get to know the turkey more than the turkey gets to know me. Cooking turkey is relatively easy compared to other meals, but the timing matters a lot. And so does the preparation. And so my morning is spent honoring the poultry despite the indignities I put it through.

This year features a sharply smaller group, yet a turkey similar in size to other Thanksgivings. It seems you can’t ask the turkey to shed the pounds after they spent all year bulking up, and so there was a serious shortage of smaller turkeys available for the suddenly smaller gatherings. I hope the really big ones find a good home with those in need.

Often this year I’ve wondered at the world we live in, and why the dynamics of human relationships seem to divide on what media source you consume. Politics, belief in mask-wearing, vast conspiracy talk… At times this year I’ve walked away from it, dove deep into the middle of it, and tried to mediate it. And all of that has reinforced for me that you can’t live happily in a pile of “it”.

The beauty of a smaller gathering is we can ignore all that and focus on what matters. We’re all just a little bit world-weary and shell-shocked from absorbing what was lost this year and on edge about what might still come to pass. And yet we still have so much to be thankful for. The world wallows in self-pity, but it turns on hope and love and generosity. And so we celebrate our short time together on this earth and count the blessings we’ve had in a most challenging year.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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