Covid Thanksgiving


November 27, 2020 by Jean

Thanksgiving: This traditional day will be like no other - Itemlive : ItemliveThis Covid Thanksgiving wasn’t as much of a departure for me as it was for many people. It has been more than thirty years since I last lived close enough to family members to celebrate Thanksgiving with them, and this is not the first year I have spent the holiday alone.

For many years, I had Thanksgiving dinner each year with my friend Joyce, who loved to cook this holiday feast. She was not a turkey fan, so she would roast either a goose or a duck. This would be accompanied by a myriad of side dishes, including soup, cranberry relish, roasted vegetables, and salad. My contribution was typically an apple pie (her favorite desert) and some fresh-baked dinner roles. Some years, it was just the two of us; other years, she also invited others to share the feast. It has been six or seven years since she last felt well enough to cook a Thanksgiving dinner (or well enough to drive the hour to my house so that I could cook for us). The last time I had Thanksgiving dinner with her was 2016, when she was a patient at a rehab hospital that put on a Thanksgiving dinner for patients and their visitors. Even then, though, we didn’t actually eat together; I went down to the hospital cafeteria to eat my meal alone, while she had hers on a tray in her room. In the years since, I’ve mostly spent Thanksgiving alone.

I love turkey dinner and its leftovers, so I got in the habit over the years of cooking my traditional turkey feast for Christmas. (Growing up, we always had turkey dinner for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.) I am very good at creating rituals for myself, and one of those has been a new Thanksgiving dinner ritual: I take the last packet of leftover turkey meat from last Christmas out of the freezer and use it to make a turkey parmesan soufflé. This is what I did yesterday. My soufflé recipe is pretty simple, including a mixture of sautéed onions and turkey meat with turkey seasonings like thyme and sage in a cheesy white sauce as the basis of the soufflé. I also kept the side dishes simple this year, cooking and pureeing a butternut squash and seasoning it with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and maple syrup. I ate my simple turkey feast in late afternoon, savoring that first delicious bite of turkey meat surrounded by the slightly bready texture of soufflé.

I might have eaten a bit later, except that my younger sister initiated the idea of a family Zoom call for evening. What this meant for me was that I had more family connection on Thanksgiving this year than I normally do. For an hour and a half, I visited with both my brothers, my sister-in-law, my younger sister, and one nephew – a lovely way to finish my quiet, Covid Thanksgiving.

7 thoughts on “Covid Thanksgiving

  1. Charles Emmons says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Jean! We had an outdoor dinner in Atlanta.

  2. Jean R. says:

    Glad you got to catch up with your siblings by Zoom. I haven’t tried Zoom yet but the CCC where I’ll be moving next year did a Facebook posting about how they were helping residents set up Zoom visits during the pandemic. How cool is that!

    Even thought we might not see others as often as we used to when we were younger, the holiday is a nice time to remember and appreciate the gatherings in our pasts.

    • Jean says:

      Jean, One nice thing about our virtual family gatherings is that I get to see my Florida brother. On the other hand, one of my sisters and her family don’t seem to willing or able to Zoom.

  3. Molly Wickwire says:

    Glad that you were able to visit with family via internet (it does have it’s good points :+) ). Your meal sounds delicious. Enjoy the rest of the year, stay well and dream of better days in 2021.

    • Jean says:

      Thanks, Molly. Happy Thanksgiving to you. This is going to be a challenging winter, but I’m just setting my sights on Spring. One advantage of being older in this situation is that time goes by faster.

  4. Honey Bee says:

    Living alone, and wanting to celebrate Thanksgiving with a lovely meal, I found an area with dine in seating, and serving Turkey dinner, in a town about two hours away. I stayed two nights in familiar hotel, enjoyed scenic fall drives (our Canadian Thanksgiving is in October) along the Niagara Parkway, and purchased crisp, new crop apples from a farm stand. The days were sunny and warm, so finding a spot to enjoy the afternoon sun along the water was part of my celebration. Conversations with friendly people I met throughout my little getaway also added spice.

    I am planning another longer getaway to the north for Christmas. Even if eating establishments are closed, I can enjoy take out, or DIY, in my lodging. I know the motel and its staff well from summer jaunts, so it will be a kind of homecoming. With cozy reading socks and a stack of books, I’ll be happy as a clam.

    Wishing you some respite and good cheer this Christmas. I’ve been both caregiver, once, and executrix, three times, so know how wearying and drawn out those tasks can be.
    Honey Bee

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I am Jean Potuchek, a professional sociologist who has just stepped into the next phase of my life, retirement, after more than thirty years of college teaching. This blog is about my experience of that new phase of life.

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