While change can be a good thing, it can be disruptive as well. All of 2020 has been an upheaval in so many ways, so why shouldn’t Thanksgiving be as well?

For the past several years my Turkey Day has been full of friends—whether I was in Baja or Tahoe. Not this year. No big family gathering or large Friendsgiving—at least not in person.

It was touch-and-go whether I would even be in Todos Santos for Thanksgiving. Jill and Robert (friends who I’m staying with while I’m south of the border) invited me to break bread with them. I was supposed to make the apple pie. Then I got stuck about eight hours north of here for more than a week (that’s another story for another day) and my arrival seemed like it would never happen. The longer I got delayed, the longer it would be before I could get a COVID test. The longer it took me to get here, the more I wanted that swab. Results won’t be known until the day after Thanksgiving. I don’t think I’m infected, but who wants to take the chance of eating food prepared by someone who could be.

I’m bringing wine to the table. Much safer. Chiles will be stuffed instead of a turkey. It will be the perfect meal with such incredible friends.

So many of my Thanksgiving memories are about the food; just the smell of a turkey roasting, of pies cooking, conjure up times gone by. Those aromas won’t fill any kitchen I’m near this year. That’s OK. I still have my memories and new ones are about to be made.

Even more important is that I have plenty to be thankful for this year—even during a global pandemic. I’m healthy (as far as I know!) and so are most of the people in my sphere. Some of us have more aches and pains as we age, but those are minor in comparison to what so many people have gone through and are still experiencing. A friend lost her mom to COVID, another friend said goodbye to both parents just weeks apart, while others had to bury their 23-year-old daughter after she died of leukemia. Still, others have lost jobs, income, and are struggling to keep their business alive.

Many a time I have been at a Thanksgiving table where everyone lists something they are grateful for. It’s an acknowledgment we should all do every day, even on our worst days. I look over at my dog AJ and am grateful at 17 for every day I have with her. I am grateful to my friend Joy for leaving her four-legged fur baby to me. I am grateful to my mom, who at nearly 86 is still walking two miles a day, six days a week. I am grateful to have work that is rewarding and that I can do anywhere in the world. I am grateful to everyone who buys my books. I am grateful for all of my friends, who enrich my life in ways that I’m not sure they know. They are my foundation, my rock, and even my reason to keep on going each day. Without my friends, well, my life would not be what it is and it would be difficult to find reasons to give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

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