Thanksgiving is upon us, and you know what?
I love Thanksgiving, an entire holiday devoted to carbohydrates.
I’m talking stuffing.
For me, it’s all about the stuffing and always was.
I remember the Thanksgivings of my childhood, when Mother Mary made antipasto with prosciutto and provolone, then a big turkey, stuffing, ravioli, gnocchi, sweet potatoes with maple syrup, escarole, and iceberg salad.
For dessert, Entenmann’s chocolate cake.
Some families keep it classy.
We keep it real.
All the relatives came over, and we ate all day long, hung out in the living room, and watched the game while my mother was in the kitchen.
Happy Thanksgiving, Mom!
In more recent Thanksgivings, it’s Francesca and me in the kitchen, making eggplant parmigiana and broccoli rabe, then my best friend, Franca, comes over, joins us in the kitchen, and heats up her delicious Brussels sprouts with Marcona almonds dish.
We’ve gone from one woman in the kitchen to three women in the kitchen.
We call this Italian progress.
Which brings me to my point, which is Thanksgiving in the time of a pandemic.
I know we all love those old holidays.
We love when everyone comes over for Thanksgiving, mills around, sees each other, tells each other what was going on, and eats all day long.
But it won’t be that way this year.
And I know that disappoints you and everybody else, me included.
I’m not sure if it’s safe for Francesca to come home from New York City, and I haven’t seen Franca since February.
Everybody is missing somebody this Thanksgiving, and if you’re lucky, you’re missing somebody who’s healthy but just can’t come over.
Many more people have lost a loved one to this deadly illness, or they have a relative in the hospital or recovering at home. I know people who have gotten over the virus, but one of them is a “long-hauler,” reporting random heart pain, shortness of breath, and brain fog.
Meanwhile, if my brain gets any foggier, ships start crashing at sea.
So here’s what I have to say about this Thanksgiving:
It might not be the way you want it, the way you’re used to, or the way you wish it could be.
In other words, it won’t be perfect.
But remember, the perfect is the enemy of the good.
And this Thanksgiving can be good.
Even Mick Jagger will tell you that you can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.
Think of it as a break.
Remember the days when you complained about holiday stress?
And how after the holidays, you said you needed a break from the holidays?
Well, you got one!
And I mean that in the best way.
Take a year off.
Focus on the good side of your Good-Enough Thanksgiving.
For example, you won’t have to spend all day in the kitchen.
You won’t have to food shop for days before, standing in long lines.
You won’t have to sit in an idling car, waiting for a parking space.
You won’t have to clean up the house in advance.
You won’t have to run the dishwasher 45 times.
You won’t have to drive to God-knows-where and back.
You won’t have to deal with emails arranging the comings and goings, haul out extra chairs for the table, blow up any air mattress, or figure out where Uncle Rocky should sleep.
My Uncle Rocky always slept on the couch.
Actually, everybody in my family slept on the couch.
Even during the daytime.
The Flying Scottolines are a good-enough family from way back.
You get to stay home, celebrate Thanksgiving with the people in your household, and if you’re really missing somebody, make an effort to get them on a Zoom call. In fact, Zoom is lifting its 40-minute limit for the holiday.
You can yak with your family all day!
Provided that you want to.
I mean, be real.
Don’t idealize those awesome family convos of Thanksgivings Past.
I don’t know about you, but growing up, our family conversations used to devolve pretty rapidly into a discussion of somebody’s gallbladder operation.
Everybody in my family has had a gallbladder operation.
I’m not sure if there are any Scottolines with gallbladders.
I don’t know why they gave them to us in the first place.
They shouldn’t have bothered.
We’d just lose it, like a fancy pen.
I still have my gallbladder, but I would give it to you, no problem.
I don’t even know what a gallbladder is for.
Wait, maybe I do:
Something to talk about at Thanksgiving.
The only other thing my family ever talked about was whoever wasn’t at the Thanksgiving dinner.
What a bitch!
Now we can all be the Thanksgiving bitch.
And look at it this way, if you do a Zoom call, you might have a better visit than you would have had in person, because you can sit down, sip a nice glass of wine, and focus on the conversation, instead of trying to talk while you’re cooking or fetching pepperoni, another beer, a napkin, or whatever.
This year, Thanksgiving can be everything that Thanksgiving is really supposed to be.
A time where we give thanks.
You can do that if you stay home.
You can do that even if you live alone.
I do, and I will.
Because I’m thankful to be alive.
And next year, there will be eggplant parm.