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by Genevieve Mellott

In thinking of writing this piece, I was tempted to go down the list of all my reasons to be thankful… and there are many. But that almost seemed shallow in light of the year we’ve all had. Plus, there is a poignant message on my heart and it weighs on me daily, as it may weigh on you as well. It is the message of doing what we can in a time of crisis. Specifically, it is the very simple act of reducing the spread of this often-memed “shitshow” of a pandemic.

As Colorado transplants, my family normally does Friendsgiving. We love it. There’s laughter and lots of kids running around, and we feast and play games, reveling in all our loud chaos. This year is different. As we forge through our “level RED,” none of us are happy about it. I hear the mumblings, the rantings, and sometimes the outright anger from many people, saying that there is no law that says people can’t live their lives as normal. That may be true. There is also no law that states we need to look out for our fellow humans. There is no law that says we must be considerate. And there’s definitely no law that says we must not allow sickness and disease to ravage our society. Laws are meant to govern the masses, not ensure individual decency.

And aren’t we more than laws? Are we not people with compassion and sensibilities? Do we not have loved ones we would do almost anything to protect? There are those who say that this virus needs to “play itself out” or that nature needs to take its course or even that people who are at risk should just stay home. And people have the right to say those things (because we DO have laws about THAT.) However, I would like to know if their opinion changes when they lose someone close to them because of this pandemic. Or maybe it wouldn’t. We cannot single-handedly end it, yet we cannot force others to help if they refuse. I am not saying to shut anything down or cut off all human interaction. Have I myself been a paragon of pandemic virtue? Absolutely not. But I am trying. And I hope you are trying, too. Our situation will be better faster if we all work together to be safe for others, if not for ourselves, and look at the science, not the politics.

Yes, this year is different. I am not upset or apologetic about being sensible. There are good things that will come from it. My husband and girls and I will be thankful for one another and those we cherish who are elsewhere. We will honor some traditions and maybe create new ones. I ordered a smoked turkey from a friend (Chase’N’Smoke BBQ, if you’re interested for Christmas) and was given a beautiful pumpkin pie by another friend. It will be warm and lovely at our home, but more quiet than usual, with more focus on our own little family. We will truly appreciate our raucous times when they can happen safely again, but for now, we’ll enjoy our small, quiet Thanksgiving. Here’s thanking you for your contribution to ending the pandemic in our community, and wishing you and yours much health and many Thanksgiving blessings.