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.

Photo by nycshooter on iStock


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This past weekend, I noticed a bunch of flags on my street and wondered why since July 4th is still almost a month away. But this morning, I learned that today's Flag Day.


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Well, for someone who likes to decorate for the holidays, I would have thought you would have known all about it.


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I've heard of it, but I never really thought much about it, let alone when it is. I knew it had to do with the American flag, but it surprised me that it has nothing to do with Betsy Ross, which legend has made the first flag, although it seems there's no evidence to support that.


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If you want an interesting "story", read about why the American flag is called Old Glory. Regardless, the American flag, like all flags, communicates a message.


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I know you like to connect odd dots, but only you would see a connection between flags and communications.
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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I can't believe that Sawyer's graduated from high school and will be off to college in a few months. It's so bittersweet. Especially as it seems like only yesterday you were bringing me dinner in the hospital the day she was born – it was wedding soup from my favorite Italian restaurant.


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Well, since that has now become one of her favorite restaurants, that is where we should go to celebrate the start of her exciting new journey.


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Exciting is an understatement. As soon as she finished her Zoom session with the orientation team at Belmont University, she came downstairs and talked a mile a minute about all the incredible course offerings, and before I knew it, she opened her laptop and was going through everything with me.


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When she showed it to me, I was impressed by the range of courses available, and it made me want to go back to college. But, I was most impressed by her enthusiasm and commitment to opening herself up to opportunities that she might not have previously considered.


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I know! For years, starting when we taught at KIPP Houston High School, you've told students that college was a step-along-the-way, not a destination. And the perfect opportunity to try new things.


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I also said, "Homework never ends; it just is called 'research' when you get older."
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