So, Stacy and I did it: We had the tiniest Thanksgiving ever. The Centers for Disease Control had made it clear that the way to keep everyone safe was the celebrate the holiday only with folks you’ve been living with for at least 14 days. We felt like that was the best advice to follow, if we wanted to keep ourselves and our family safe during this pandemic.
The result was the first Thanksgiving in either of our memories when we didn’t spend it with a gang of people we love. Even back when I was fresh out of college and couldn’t afford plane tickets home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’d gather every year with a group of friends for what we called the Homeless Waifs Thanksgiving Dinner. And one thing we’d be thankful for was that one of the Waifs was our buddy David Raymer, who was the sous chef at a restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I’ll never forget the year I told him I wanted sage sausage in the stuffing, and he sent me to the butcher for a pork butt so we could make our own.
Stacy and I kept things simple yesterday. We roasted a chicken and accompanied it with mashed potatoes and some roasted asparagus. Our little house smelled delicious, like Thanksgiving should. But most importantly, it felt full of love, and the day gave us some time to reflect on all the things we’re grateful for right now, even though this dreadful disease had kept us from the other loved ones we always celebrate with.
The first thing is our health. We’ve been so fortunate to remain free of COVID-19 — and luckier still that our friends and family have stayed unaffected by it. In thousands of American families this year, folks who might have been at a Thanksgiving meal are no longer around thanks to this disease. If you lost someone to COVID this year, our prayers are with you.
We are grateful to have plenty of food to eat. Since the pandemic began, we’ve had a well-stocked pantry and the means to buy the food we need. Too many Americans these days are not so lucky.
We give thanks for shelter as we think about the homeless among us. We have the privilege of living in a cozy 1930s cottage here in Clarkston, Georgia, which keeps us plenty warm in these cold days of late autumn.
We are thankful to see a peaceful transition from one presidential administration to the next begin. It’s a tradition as old as our nation, anchored by our Constitution, and we’re happy to see it held firmly in place by the institutions so many have fought and died to defend.
We are grateful for the tiny red barn in the backyard, where Stacy makes things you so graciously buy from Down South House & Home. Heck, we’re even grateful for the backyard itself. It’s an oasis of flowers (and sometimes vegetables) that allows us a place of respite even in these days when a pandemic so limits our options for travel.
We give thanks for y’all, our beloved customers and readers, because you keep our enterprise alive. We hope that our stories and our goods bring light, grace, and joy to your homes.
We are grateful for the opportunity this pandemic has given us to build closer relationships with our neighbors here in Clarkston, for the sense that we are all weathering this storm together.
But most of all, we are grateful for each other. This time of pandemic has taught us how to love each other better — more honestly, more openly, and with greater tolerance of each other. Being stuck in close quarters forces folks, I think, to take those kinds of risks. And for us, the risks have paid off. We certainly miss all the hugs and companionship we enjoyed with so many others before the pandemic began, but we have been blessed to have plenty of both, on our own, in this tiny house we call home.