It’s the Thursday before Election Day, and so I’d like to talk about Thanksgiving. It’s not a great time to be talking about politics.
Thanksgiving is a time when families come together, often from many different locations, once a year. It’s not like Christmas -- there’s no obligation to give anybody anything -- and so family gatherings often get pretty big.
That puts it near the top of my list of annual events. It’s just all about gratitude, and goodwill, and connections with people you care about.
This is a good time to think about what that’s going to mean this year.
What that ought to mean, it seems to me, is to really limit the size of the get-togethers. Small, nuclear family-type shindigs are one thing, but Grandpa and Aunt Sheila and Cousin Jeremy and that one red-headed nephew and Uncle Wayne’s third wife What’s-Her-Name? Not so much.
Truth is, if you care about Grandpa, you particularly ought to keep it small. I’m not saying to leave him out in the cold, or to tell Grandma to cook her own damn turkey. But keep in mind that older people are more at risk of serious cases of the coronavirus. Caring about them means looking out for their well-being, even if that means they can’t see all the grandkids at once. And by the way, if you’re reading this, and you’re Grandma or Grandpa, you can make this easier on everybody if you understand where this is coming from.
If you already have plans to get together with elderly relatives, that’s fine, so long as the gathering is small, and so long as everybody beforehand agrees to be extra vigilant in the days leading up to the event. The teenagers can’t be going to the rager in somebody’s basement the week before, and the middle-schoolers can’t have a sleepover.
Usually, the risk at Thanksgiving is that somebody will pull a hammie in the touch football game in the side yard, or that one nutjob uncle will start screaming about the liberals when the longhaired cousin wants to announce a change in his/her personal pronoun.
This year, there really is risk, and we’d all be wise to think a little about that beforehand. It’s about a month from now, so this is a good time to do that.
You’ll want the event to be a warm, wonderful celebration. You aren’t going to want to remember it as the root of a disaster.
The outbreak stemming from a Riley County wedding -- it’s up to 37 cases now -- is a rather sobering reminder that we’re not yet in a world where we can just do what we’ve always done. So, now’s the time to give that some thought.