Blindsided at Thanksgiving – Dr. Ed Iannuccilli

Monday, November 30, 2020

 

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Dr. Ed Iannuccilli

There is a certain cadence to a Thanksgiving Day, and it was lost this year. When I was a kid, the day began with a football game played in the unfriendly cold. I attended games with friends, sometimes with Dad, in later years with my children. While be-bopping in the stands to keep warm, my body may have listened, but my toes did not. Rock hard, frozen digits did not seem worth the effort, as there was never enough hot chocolate at the concession stand to turn the thermal current to uncomfortable tapping toes. Sure, I drank plenty, but it dictated trips to the ice-locker, men’s room, no better.

I then substituted outdoor football with the indoors of Macy’s Day balloons on TV, but that wore thin.

So here we are this year, now some days after Thanksgiving. Falling leaves, bouncing cheerleaders, ducking the cold before turkey dinner did not define the day. Nor did the family gathering. We were blindsided.

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In the past, Diane and I were fortunate to have two Thanksgivings . . . one on Wednesday evening at our daughter’s in Hingham where we had anything but turkey . . . Chinese, Mexican, Thai or whatever. And the following day at our daughter’s in East Greenwich where tradition reigned. Well, not quite the tradition of the cold toes. We skipped alternative morning festivities to drive directly for hugs and food.

This year, Diane and I dined alone; a candle here, music there, a little Prosecco and the traditional dinner warmth with a hitch. There still was the comfort of the toasty, brown aroma of the turkey dinner floating above, but there was a touch of sadness in the unusual, palpable calm, a void in the jovial holiday scene. The thread of conversation of who likes white or dark meat, the sit back, “I’m bloated” blurt as we looked at arriving pies, was not there.

However, the spirit lingered as we did not fail to reflect on what made us thankful, though it was less easy in this not so ordinary time; not when the pandemic has taken so much from so many.

Though it was an unconventional Thanksgiving Day, Diane and I took a moment to reflect on those who have lost so much, those who have had a monumental struggle. And to pray for them.

I am thankful that I will be able to move forward into December when, after the solstice, each day grows longer by a minute, when the virus' beat will retreat, when the vaccine is introduced, when we can begin to return to normal, howsoever it may be.

I love the last stanza of Mary Oliver’s poem, “Messenger”

 . . . which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart

and these body-clothes,

a mouth with which to give shouts of joy

to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,

telling them all, over and over, how it is

that we live forever.

 

Yes, indeed

 

Dr. Ed Iannuccilli is the author of three popular memoirs, “Growing up Italian; Grandfather’s Fig Tree and Other Stories”, “What Ever Happened to Sunday Dinner” and “My Story Continues: From Neighborhood to Junior High.”  Learn more here. 

There is a certain cadence to a Thanksgiving Day, and it was lost this year. When I was a kid, the day began with a football game played in the unfriendly cold. I attended games with friends, sometimes with Dad, in later years with my children. 

 
 

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