Just the Two of Us – Thanksgiving in the Time of Pandemic

Last week my home state of Massachusetts tried really hard to get in touch. Phone calls, text messages, even an email from Congressman McGovern. All telling us not to have Thanksgiving with anyone beyond those you live with. Seriously, their message was to lock it down. Naturally there were a few caveats for those folks who are determined to go against the recommendations. If you are someone who decides not to follow the sage advice of health officials then your ill-conceived gathering should be limited to 10 people inside or 25 people outside.

Pond alongside logging road in fall.

Here’s my truth – our house is so small if I invited 10 people inside to eat it would become a super-spreader event. Plus eating outdoors at this time of year? Brrr. I’ve been doing the al fresco, twelve-feet-apart dining (we increase the recommended distance whenever we take our masks off to eat) on those few occasions when our adult children visited us during 2020. What was lovely in June, became brisk in October, and has turned frigid earlier in November. I appreciate how fantabulous it is to see those who are dear to your heart. Even if you can’t hug them, it is wonderful just to be a masked six feet away from them. However eating outside in New England, during November is cold, really cold. So this year will just be my husband and myself at the table.

13 Comments

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13 responses to “Just the Two of Us – Thanksgiving in the Time of Pandemic

  1. Wonderful post. I look forward to exploring the links. We will be four on Cape Cod. I’ve shucked Wellfleet oysters for a bacon and oyster stuffing, we’ll feast on local Hardwick turkey, and enjoy a vegetable dish enhanced by cranberries harvested from a local bog. Yes, we will be eating the same foods for several days!

    We were fortunate a couple years ago to join a local historian for a group walk in Truro that traced part of the path taken by the Mayflower scouting party after the initial landing at Provincetown.

    Apparently they walked right past an encampment of about a thousand Wampanoag people who were hunkered down in a deep protected hollow without notice. They ultimately walked from Provincetown to Eastham, where they skirmished with a group of Native people.

    At some point, the colonialists discovered a cache of corn that they took. This was November. The Wampanoags were depending on this cache to get them through the winter. Although an iron kettle and a couple other trinkets were left “in exchange” this quite likely was disastrous for the tribe. If you are in Truro and see a sign for Corn Hill, this is what it refers to.

    We will be giving thanks this year for our family so far surviving, in remembrance of my parents who recently passed, for the exit of the current White House resident, for the glimmer of hope that the end of the pandemic could be coming. I fully expect that next year’s feast will be a joyful celebration and send love and best wishes to you and your family.

    • Thank you Susan for sharing a piece of Cape Cod history. I’m in concurrence with you about loosing a cache of corn–it would have been devastating. Also I started drooling when you described the amazing stuffing you will be making, it sounds so yummy!

      Many of us do have much to be thankful for now, plus it seems there is a light at the end of this long tunnel otherwise known as 2020. Enjoy your small gathering, and may 2021 be filled with hope and healing.

  2. Lisa Allen

    Beautiful pictures and great information.
    HAPPY REMOTE THANKSGVIING TO YOU BOTH!

  3. Ruth Bath

    Last year I made a large dinner for nearly thirty family members in Brooklyn NY. It was a wonderful experience including all the grandparents, the boyfriends, and girlfriends of all the many cousins and siblings. I am so pleased to have made the effort and have that experience to remember during our noticeably quiet and solitary holiday.
    Our Holiday this year has also been modified by requests from the Oregon governor Kate Brown. Instead of going against the local semi lockdown and hosting or attending a gathering of any kind I have a brilliant friend that decided to turn the guest list into a food exchange. So, while we will not have the company of our friends in person, we will have the dinner created by many. Always part of the fun. I will be supplying cranberry, pecan pie and a southern praline sweet potato dish for three households and enjoy the proceeds of what they are providing to myself and my husband.
    It is not the holiday that I had envisioned that is for sure. I have learned over time; I almost never have the experience that is an exact match to what I had envisioned. I am going to accept this year as another opportunity to just take like as it comes-via zoom.

    • Ruth- I still dream of your cranberry sauce, and while I have tried to replicate it am not sure my version comes out the same. What a delightful idea to share the bounty! Happy turkey day to you and yours.

  4. This was a great read, Cynthia. And “ThanksTaking or ThanksGiving,” which I listened to in my car today, was extremely illuminating. Thanks for introducing me to All My Relations. I know I’ll be listening to more episodes. I’ve never really delved into the true history of Thanksgiving so your post sent me on a foray to learn rather than just accept. Of course, coming from England I’ve always perceived Thanksgiving as more about gratitude for the harvest—like our Harvest Festival—than about Indians, pilgrims and a turkey. I LOVED listening to the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address, especially the translation that they used. And the host’s delivery of it was superb. I want to share part of it at our Thanksgiving, when we will eat a venison roast wrapped in bacon and cooked, rotisserie style, on the outside grill. Both my guys cut their tags this season so we’ll eat in gratitude, and style. Instead of pie we’ll have pumpkin bread pudding with chocolate chips. Although a friend gifted me some lard she had laboriously rendered from a locally raised pig so I may have to make pie too, in honor of the gift. I wish you were here to try a slice. May you be safe, well and have much to be grateful for. I know you will be well fed. xoxo

    • Dearest Nicola I am so glad you liked the All My Relations podcast – it is wonderfully well done. I learn so much from listening to each one they put out. Plus it sounds as if you will have a delicious meal with your venison roast, pumpkin chocolate chip bread pudding, and pie! I will look forward to the day when we may all sit down and feast together again. Hugs~

  5. I love this post, chère Cynthia. I loved to learn about your family – et espère visiter votre belle maison de famille lors de mon prochain passage dans le Massachusetts. En 2022 peut-être… Keep well, bisous de Suisse, Sylvie

  6. mleasca

    Dear Cynthia,
    Thank you for this wonderful post. As always I am making “Aunt Ruth’s dinner rolls” and the dough came out beautifully and is rising now. Lots of sweet memories and love.

    Stay safe and happy and enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving of the great food you have always been so skilled at making, and of being thankful!

    xox
    Maria

    • Dear Maria, Aunt Ruth’s dinner roles will smell amazing as they bake! It is wonderful to honor her memory at your table through the food she used to make. Enjoy the feast~ C

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