Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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Thanksgiving's my favorite holiday of the year, but this year I feel like it's barely going to be a holiday. It makes me sad.


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Are you still going to have decorations throughout the house and your big inflatable turkey in the front yard?


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Are you kidding? He's my favorite inflatable and has been on our front lawn since right after Halloween! Inside, I pared down the amount of decorations years ago. Just enough to make it festive, but not overwhelming in terms of set-up and take-down.


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Are you still planning to cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner? I know the last few years it has only been a handful of people, and there are only two (Mom and me) who are not part of your COVID "bubble".


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Of course! I always make too much food so I can send Mom home with lots of leftovers. This year, I'll just be delivering it as a big care package and, like everything else I deliver, leaving it in the laundry room. Since she's almost 93 with pre-existing conditions, we haven't had face-to-face, or even mask-to-mask, contact since March. Anyway, I guess that means you'll want to place your "delivery" order.


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Actually, do not take this the wrong way, but now I have an excuse for not coming over and eating way too much. Especially as I am not a huge fan of turkey or dressing. Or, desserts. Although, if you get your usual Honey Baked Ham, I might want a few slices.


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Technically, you buy the ham and I merely pick it up and serve it. But I can probably get away with not making a zillion desserts this year. Since it will just be a few of us in the house, even with making everyone their favorite dessert, it will be a lot less work.


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The last few years I brought pies from Whole Foods to cover some of the "favorites" and I can do that again this year. I will just drop them off, wish everyone "Happy Thanksgiving" from a distance, grab my to-go order, and be on my way. In fact, I may become a "Thanksgiving Santa" and deliver pies to some other people, too.


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I used to bake cookies for the girls to give as Christmas gifts, but I've never thought about delivering Thanksgiving food to others. That could become a new tradition. And it could be as simple as just making extra portions of what's already planned.


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Which to some extent is what the Pilgrims did … they shared their good fortune and available food and crops with the Indians. So, is that not the true spirit of the holiday?


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Says the woman who doesn't cook. And never has people over to her home. But I guess one of the good things about a pandemic Turkey Day is that I can delete "cleaning the house" from my traditional Thanksgiving to-do list since there will be no one coming over to judge me.


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I can understand guests judging your sweet potatoes or cranberry sauce, but your housekeeping abilities? An issue the pilgrims did not have to worry about since their celebratory feasts were outdoor events. Although this year, they would be considered super-spreaders.


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Cute. I thought about doing something outside, but we don't have a large picnic table, the weather's never predictable, and it wouldn't necessarily allow you to socially distance when your masks are off to eat.


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We each need to be creative and find what works best for our situation. It will be the most difficult for people who usually travel to be with family or are used to having a large gathering for a traditional Thanksgiving feast. It does not mean that people cannot still "get together" and celebrate – whether it is having a "Zoom" Thanksgiving meal or just a smaller outdoor gathering where you visit but do not eat. But, for some, it may mean just visiting over the phone with people you are grateful to have in your life.


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Careful! You're starting to sound warm and fuzzy. Anyway, every year I have a list of people I either call or text on Thanksgiving. Because it'll be a much smaller and "easier" Thanksgiving means there will be more time to spend with them.


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It also frees up time to stop and give thanks. To appreciate what you have in your life.


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Yes, which to me is the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Although I'll admit I have my own special traditions.


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Do I even want to know?


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Probably not. I wake up, turn on "The Godfather" movie marathon on TV, and start cooking. I love the break from my normal routine and having the freedom to cook all day, coupled with the feeling that it means fall's really here, even if the thermometer doesn't always indicate that.


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Sounds like your Thanksgiving traditions will continue, although modified slightly.


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Yes, it will definitely be a bit different. And, on a good note, maybe even less hectic. Maybe I'll even be able to earmark time to just "chill" and quietly give thanks for the positive things in my life.


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The Pilgrims would be proud.


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So, what are your plans since you won't be eating with us? Oh wait, let me guess. You'll be working on Red & Black so you can have uninterrupted peace and quiet.


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Exactly. Because that is my Thanksgiving tradition.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

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I may not celebrate Rosh Hashanah by going to temple, and now that the girls are no longer home for the holiday, I don’t prepare a seder with the traditional foods . But I know and appreciate that it’s one of the most important Jewish holidays, as it’s a time for reflection on the past and hope for the future. And this year, between world events, where I feel surrounded by so much negativity, and on the personal front, with Mom’s passing, it seems more important than ever before.


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Although Rosh Hashanah is filled with traditions, like apples dipped in honey because it is believed apples have healing properties (think of the rhyme, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”), and the honey signifies the hope for a new year that will be sweet … it is still incredibly relevant. In today’s hectic world, a contemplative holiday where you stop and think about the road you have traveled over the last year (including any wrong turns) and where you would like to go in the future may be exactly what we all need.

We wish everyone who celebrates Rosh Hashanah a happy and sweet New Year. And remember, you don’t have to be Jewish to look back and reflect … and then try to do better in the future.

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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So, I had to smile when Sawyer came to visit us at Mom’s estate sale. And even though I had seen her only a few hours before, I gave her a hug.


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Yes, you make it rather obvious that you are warm and fuzzy. And, a hugger.


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But what made me laugh was when she greeted you by acknowledging that you weren’t a hugger. Now there’s an understatement.


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No, it is merely a fact.


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I never realized, though, just how much both Natasha and Sawyer are like you. Although they begrudgingly let me hug them, they’d both be just as happy with a handshake. If that.


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Maybe a fist bump?
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Credit: Photo by Maha1450 on iStock


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I know you celebrate Labor Day by just, well, laboring away on Red & Black. But that’s how you celebrate most holidays. For me, I always enjoy celebrating the last three-day weekend of the summer, although the challenge will be deciding what to do this Labor Day. Escape to a movie (ok, my passion’s the popcorn), go to Dunkin’ for a leisurely coffee (it always brings back memories of growing up in New York), read, or climb into bed and watch old episodes of Downton Abbey. Or, maybe “all of the above”!

But before you say anything, yes, I’m well aware that today’s more than a day off and a potential “cut-off” for wearing white (😊). It’s about honoring American workers and all the many contributions they’ve made and continue to make.


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I know you love history, but do you know the history of Labor Day includes violence and a deadly railroad strike? And, was a way for politicians to “prove” they cared about workers? It is too bad people do not typically walk around thanking others for the work they do (imagine the impact if we did), but maybe you will get inspired by these Labor Day quotes.

And, in terms of me “laboring” today. Of course, I am. I look forward to the quiet time of weekends, especially long ones, to work on strategic projects needing large blocks of uninterrupted time or one of my passion projects. To you, it might appear as if I am “working”, but I am doing what makes me happy. Although tomorrow morning, you may not be happy when you find all my emails that will be waiting in your inbox.