Thanksgiving 2020

Pumpkins are a big part of Canadian Thanksgiving, baked into pies.

What a difference a year makes. Have you said that recently? Things are so unlike 2019.

Last year the Canadian Thanksgiving fell less than two weeks after my mother’s death, so we made it a family celebration and time of remembrance.

This year instead my sister will deliver a turkey meal to my daughter’s doorstep. Social distancing, an upswing in COVID-19 cases in Ottawa and an elderly relative mean no family gatherings.

We celebrate the holiday in Germany too, introducing our friends, Germans and immigrants, to some Canadian customs. Today we were supposed to have a number of guests for a feast (with social distancing in place). Except yesterday we called it off.

Friday morning I woke up with what seemed to be the beginnings of a cold. No big deal. My primary symptom is a nasal drip.

Last year such a thing would be no big deal. I’m able to cook and enjoy others’ company. I might be a bit quiet – but that is my normal behavior anyway. I have the beginnings of a cold – it isn’t like I am sick.

This year though, we take no chances. We called off the dinner. And I will stay home from church today, attending online instead. I’m a little annoyed, okay, a lot annoyed, at the timing.

I know what a cold feels like. And I have enough friends who have contracted COVID-19 that I think I know what that feels like too. I have a cold.

But I’m not a doctor. Symptoms vary with individuals. I’ve looked at a chart comparing common symptoms of colds, flu and COVID. I have a cold. Yet I’ve still canceled dinner. Last year I wouldn’t have, but 2020 is not 2019.

I want other people to know I will put their health and safety first. These are unusual times, and we are all learning some new behaviors. A cold is still no big deal – but you don’t want to spread it to your friends either.

In Canada we have our Thanksgiving feast on Sunday so the holiday Monday can truly be a day of rest. Here it was to be Sunday because Monday is a work day. We’ll just have to postpone it for another week.

It doesn’t really matter when you celebrate Thanksgiving. What is important is that you are thankful. And with all that has happened this year, there are still many things to be thankful for.

Today I am thankful that I have a cold. It could have been so much worse.

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