My mother sent a photo of a huge female turkey sitting on her bird feeder.
The giant, ungainly creature looked ridiculous, perched on the little wooden roof of a feeder intended for chickadees and nuthatches.
"She has been hanging around for two days now," my mother wrote. "Maybe our Thanksgiving dinner?"
Even before my mother sent this, I was thinking Thanksgiving looked a little strange this year.
I've heard the complaints, year after year, about how we're rushing the season, how we want to get through Halloween and Thanksgiving before we start thinking about Christmas. We don't want turkeys dressed in Santa hats or a Christmas tree surrounded by pumpkins. Being something of a purist, I usually agreed.
But this year, I say: Bring it on.
Of course, I don't work in a retail store. If I did, I might feel differently about having three holidays stacked up on top of one another, a cacophony of holiday carols blaring over displays of gourds and discounted black cat sunglasses.
But I don't work in a retail store. Instead, I wander around the neighborhood and see what folks have set up in their yards and sometimes get a glimpse of how they've decorated the insides of their houses. (Looking through windows while walking down the sidewalk does not count as spying!) And this year, the early appearance of pine trees covered in lights, red bows around planters, and sparkly wreaths hanging from doors is making me happy.
We missed the whole holiday season last year, after all.
Everyone did the best they could, but most gatherings were small or nonexistent. My parents spent the holidays alone. My husband, Peter, and I spent Thanksgiving with his very sick sister, Lori, and her husband.
I will always be grateful we had that time together and that we were able to share a small meal. I knew, even at the time, that it would be Lori's last Thanksgiving. I knew the pandemic would eventually come to an end and that I would always remember that holiday season for being a different kind of year, a special and quiet year. But it did not feel much like the holidays, and I don't think I'm the only one who felt that way.
So, this year, if someone is going mad with tinsel and twinkle lights a little ahead of schedule, I am not going to criticize.
I will be celebrating Thanksgiving up north with my parents. Peter and I have rented a little cabin about a mile away, so we won't be piled directly on top of my sister and her family. It will be a smaller gathering than some in the past, but I know it will be special because this year, more than most, we have a lot to be thankful for.
I'm grateful that we have enough -- and that we know it. I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn every day, to find things to laugh about with Peter, and to share my experiences with you.
But most of all, I'm grateful I made it through this last, very different year.
I now have a chance to take a fresh look at the things I hadn't looked at closely in a long time, things I had taken for granted. Thanksgiving is not going to look the same this year because Thanksgiving, like me, is going to have to change.
I think the turkey on the bird feeder is safe. In fact, we may put some food out and invite her to be our guest.
That's what Thanksgiving looks like this year.
Till next time,
Carrie Classon's memoir is called "Blue Yarn." Learn more at CarrieClasson.com.
DISTRIBUTED BY ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION FOR UFS