"Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go!" Well, maybe not this year. Grandma's house may have a quarantine sign hanging on the door.

My wife and I are still planning to purchase a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner this year. We refuse to give in to the virus. Corona will not rob me of my Buryanek bread dressing, our home raised mashed potatoes, our home raised scalloped corn or our garden's production of pea salad. We still have wild cranberries picked from a swamp north of our home, and they will be served in the glass serving dish as they have for the past 40 years of living in this house.

But many folks may be missing from the dining table.

There was a day in my history, with a dispersed family, that a central point was chosen for the annual Thanksgiving Day feast to assemble the large crew of aunts, uncles and cousins. Those were glorious days, and now looking back, I appreciate so much more.

One side of my family grew to such proportions that a church hall had to be rented to provide room. We won't be needing that much room this year. We are now planning to provide the Thanksgiving Day meal in a "take-out" form. That will not seem right or regular, but what is regular in the year 2020? Not much.

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The main decision to be made this year with our annual turkey dinner will be what to do with the leftovers. I'm betting there will be lots of turkey a la king, turkey soup, turkey hot dish, turkey sandwiches, turkey tacos and a bevy of other new recipes to find a use for the leftovers from the turkey platter.

Before going to grandma's or grandpa's place this year, we'll be asked to be COVID tested first. Grandma might be waiting at the door to check your medical report. Hugs will be a no-no and heaven help us if granny might want to give us a kiss on the cheek! (I never liked that anyway!) I'd bet some will break the suggested rules.

If you social distance at our kitchen table, you will be sitting out on the deck. I don't have enough leaves in our table to accommodate that need. Your turkey drumstick might get chilly if the weather takes a nasty turn and snowflakes begin to fall. Asking your brother-in-law to pass the gravy when you won't be able to see him on the other end of the table might be a bit challenging.

The kids' table, which most of us were relegated to at one time or another in our younger years, might have to be placed in the garage with plastic separators between the plates. Kids will be instructed to stay away from each other. Good luck with that.

One way my uncles handled passing on any kind of a virus at the Thanksgiving Day feast was to christen the whole affair with a glass of the cheapest wine they could find. Their theory was that after one gulp of wine, all potential viruses would be killed. That was plenty of reason for most of them to down two glasses.

Their wives never bought into that theory and usually the wine bottle magically disappeared 10 minutes after the cap was unscrewed. No one ever seemed to know where the bottle went. I think Grandma Bessie had it hidden under her chair.

I've never experienced a quasi-Thanksgiving in all my years here and I've got lots of company. I'm not looking forward to celebrating with a string around my finger and I'm going to miss that get-together as we've been able to celebrate in past years. All we can hope is that by this time next year we can return to normal. That will really be something to be thankful for.

I'm still going to buy some of that cheap wine and kill any virus that might show up during our downsized Thanksgiving feast. It's the least I can do to fight the virus.

See you next time. Okay? Stay safe!

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