Thanksgiving 2020

My urge was to rush in and hug him, but he still puts on a macho act rather than show weakness. He’s been like this since he was twelve. That’s when his first dog, Toby, died after being hit by a car. He had said crying was a sign of weakness. Now that he is a dad, maybe that will change some day. For now, I don’t want to embarrass him.

I had wanted Thanksgiving to be as close to normal as possible, but not this year. I miss normal. Before I teared up, I went back down the hall to the darkness of the living room and waited for Paul to leave the kitchen.


I summoned everyone into the dining room for dinner. If it had been a normal year, Cyrus and Daria would have been racing each other to call the whole brood to dinner. Instead, one of us will mask up and take a grocery sack of leftovers to Pamela’s house.

Gene squeezed past me and said, “You set too…” I put my finger to my mouth to shush him. ‘…many places,’ he mouthed.

I gave him a stern look and mouthed, ‘Remembering Twila’.

He nodded. “Irene, you cooked too much food.” Gene played along a bit too dramatically, but maybe Paul won’t notice. He pointed at the wild rice stuffing, Twila’s favorite, but not his. I bugged my eyes and nodded towards the extra place setting. He nodded and kept quiet.

After we settled into our seats and Camille in her highchair, I said, “Let’s give one thing we are thankful for. It’s been a hard year. I’ll start. I’m thankful for technology so I can still see all my grandbabies faces even if they are on video calls.” I tapped Gene’s hand to signal his turn.

Gene patted his stomach, “I’m thankful for all this delicious food.”

“Oh, you always say that. What about you Paul?” I asked.

He looked pensively at Camille. “For my baby girl.” He barely got those words out before his eyes turned misty and he bowed his head. Gene and I looked at each other.

Camille shrieked and tipped her head to get a better look at her daddy’s face. He looked up at her. She shrieked again and then giggled, breaking the tension in the room.

I’m also very thankful for children’s laughter.

Related stories: Saving Halloween and Mystery Masks

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