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“The Sickness” and Thanksgiving

Posted by on November 23, 2020

In my house we cope with life’s downturns with joking and laughter. Our gallows humor got us through my father’s dying, from the time of his terminal cancer diagnosis to the first day he accepted that death would not be put off, to the seconds after his actual passing. It’s our family’s way. That said, my son has put his foot down and refused to take part in referring to all normal activity pre-COVID as things that happened “before the sickness.” I deliver this line in total scary movie voice, of course. Unfortunately, my kid has drawn the line, and I can’t seem to talk other family members into joining me. We were all in agreement, however, on keeping to our traditional holiday meal for Thanksgiving. (Except my husband, the turkey-hater, who would rather eat anything else, but he was overruled.)

Does anyone else feel weird about Thanksgiving now that we’ve grown as a nation and admitted that our European ancestors basically dropped anchor, unloaded the Uhaul and stole land from the Indigenous People? Half of my family makeup were Indigenous Mexican American, so they were here already, but the other half immigrated from England, Northwestern Europe and Scotland. Most of them came here for cheap land, although some might’ve been on the run from the law. We’ve always been big on a “fresh start.” I think for my family, we celebrate Thanksgiving as a time to express gratitude for what we enjoy in life, in all the various ways we experience comfort, happiness and joy.

This year we’ll smoke our turkey in our Orion Cooker, and have our cornbread dressing, sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, broccoli, cheese and rice casserole from my old Cotton Country Collection cookbook, both dinner rolls and King’s Hawaiian rolls (my son’s request), and of course, pies. My mother makes pecan pie and pumpkin pie, and I might make a chocolate pecan pie for my sweet husband. He’s been extra supportive in this rough year, and deserves a treat. We’ll end up with too much food for 3 adults and one middle schooler, but I’ll be happy for leftovers. There’s nothing tastier than a warm turkey and dressing sandwich, with a smear of cold cranberry sauce, right?

How are you celebrating the holiday in this season of “the sickness?” What traditions are you forgoing, for the sake of social distancing?

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