Blog: A Very Strange Thanksgiving

Burt Ross

For most of us this Thanksgiving will be unlike any holiday we have ever had. Perhaps more than any other holiday, Thanksgiving has always been an opportunity for families to come together, but not this year.

When I headed the New Jersey State Energy Office back in the 1970s, our statistics showed that more people traveled on Thanksgiving weekend than at any other time of the year. The highways and airports were always packed with people eager to visit loved ones many of whom they had not seen in months or even years.

We as a people are more scattered than ever before. Whereas back in the days of my youth relatives often lived in the same town or state, now because of air travel, it is not uncommon at all for parents to live thousands of miles from their adult children and grandchildren. 

My bride’s family lived in New Jersey—all four grandparents and most of her aunts and uncles. Now her siblings live in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Hawaii. Our nieces and nephews are similarly dispersed, and our own adult children live on the East Coast.

With Covid-19 on the increase again, most Americans will defer air travel for another day, and unless we can reunite by car, we will not be sharing this special day with those whom we cherish the most.

And so we are going to have to search like never before to recognize our blessings—that for which we want to give thanks. Despite losing our home to the Woolsey fire and not seeing friends and family since the pandemic started, I for one am still grateful for what I have. I share my life with the person I love the most—my wife of 38 years. We are in good health as are our two children. We have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and don’t worry about paying the next bill. 

And we live in Malibu where we can hear the sound of the waves and the sun shines daily. So let’s all hope that this time next year the virus will be a thing of the past, and we can reunite once again with our loved ones. Until then, stay healthy and enjoy the holiday as best you can.

Let us also remember that millions of people are not as fortunate as some of us are, so let’s keep those people in our thoughts, and do for them what we can.