Except that this is 2020.
And in this, the seeming never-ending Plague Year, everything is different. So why should Thanksgiving be any exception? No large family gatherings. No in-person large shopping crowds. Football in empty stadiums, with fans banned from the seats.
And yet I have rarely had more to be thankful for at any time in my life than right now.
I've had family members come down with COVID (And I'm pretty sure, based on the duration and symptoms, that I had a bout of it in February, before the virus had yet to really muscle its way into our lives). And I've know plenty of people who've had it. I've known a couple of people who died from it, and heard of others (family members of friends) who have also passed away from it.
But so far no one in my family (thank God!) has died from COVID.
And speaking of family, I'm so thankful for mine. Wife, son, parents, brother, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews. We're an eclectic bunch, but that just makes our get-togethers (when we can safely have them again!) all the more interesting.
My wife and I both work for organizations which (so far at least) have placed an outsized value on safety in the workplace. So we both have been able to work remotely from home. We and our son stay pretty isolated from potential contact with the virus as a result. I'm thankful for my wife's company and the school district where I work having their priorities straight where public health is concerned.
I teach, and have been conducting my classes remotely this year. And my students have been fantastic about the whole arrangement. This year I have one of the nicest groups of kids I've had in my two-plus decades of teaching. While I have done my best to rapidly pick up the ins and outs of Microsoft Teams and the Canvas grading system, my students have been gracious and patient with regard to my frequently fumbling attempts to remotely facilitate their collective educations.
And I know for a fact that many of them have family situations at home made much more difficult by this pandemic. And yet they show up, day in, day out, ready to learn, and just happy to be together (albeit remotely). I am so thankful for each and every one of them. My young heroes.
I'm thankful for my work colleagues. These folks have done amazing work, bent over backwards to support each other and our students and our community in trying to bring some stability and "normalcy" to the statistical outlier which IS 2020. My bosses, the other teachers, support staff, all of them. My "older" heroes.
I'm thankful for my neighbors, who continue to be interested and interesting without being nosey or judgmental. I'm thankful for my state (Washington) and my county (King) and the legislature and governor who have led the fight against COVID.
I'm thankful for my country. I'm thankful for being American. I'm proud of my fellow citizens who turned out in droves to vote this month, over 150 million of them. I don't care who they voted for. As an historian and a teacher of social sciences, I am a huge fan of participatory democracy. We had that this year in spades, even electing an African-American/South Asian WOMAN as our vice-president.
I'm thankful for my friends. They fill me up (remotely) when I need it most. And that goes especially for my friends in the writing community and for the writing community as a whole. I come away from my interacting with these folks energized. And that means a lot in the decade-which-has-been-the-year-2020.
I'm thankful for writing. It's my outlet. It's something I work hard at, take pride in, and with which I am never wholly satisfied. And I am even thankful for that lack of complete satisfaction. It's part of what drives me.
Lastly, I'm thankful for my readers, whether followers of my fiction, or just of my work here on this blog. Yep, you read that right. I'm thankful for you.
So, "Thank You."
And Happy Thanksgiving!