Recently, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and Bummercloud in Chief, Dr. Anthony Fauci, expressed concerns over families gathering together for a traditional Thanksgiving celebration this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite playfully assigning nicknames to this fine physician (also, Dr. Doomopotamus), I think we should take these warnings seriously and do all we can to protect our family members from possible viral droplets spewing from our pumpkin pie holes when we gnaw on our Butterballs.

After much contemplation (heavily under the influence of my three daughters’ leftover Halloween candy), I’ve come up with a few options for making Thanksgiving dinner not only safer, but also fun.

First, we all know that the U.S. Postal Service has had its struggles recently. Family members can stay safe and do their part to support this national institution by selecting a traditional, fully-cooked Thanksgiving dish to mail to one another – just to see what happens. Have you ever received an envelope full of giblets? What about a cardboard packing tube stuffed with sweet potato casserole? Just tip up and enjoy! And think of the shock your local porch pirates will experience when they rip open a stolen bubble-padded mailer bursting with Grampa’s special deviled eggs.

If mailing your munchies doesn’t sound appealing, how about a delicious game of catch in the back yard? Socially distanced relatives can put on ponchos and turn menu items into mouthwatering projectiles while burning off a few calories as they try to snag some sustenance in midair. Once Dad says grace over a bullhorn, let the games begin! With unruly kids occupied by shooting stuffing from slingshots, the nerdy uncle with the engineering degree catapulting the creamed corn, and Grandma serving gravy from a squirt gun, the entire family can safely get in on the action. And don’t worry about the potential mess. The household pets will be eager to take care of the clean-up. (Just be sure to avoid any of Aunt Betty’s brownie bites you may find in the grass later.)

Ok, so, yes, I’m being facetious about these suggestions for a socially-distanced Thanksgiving – maybe. I guess I’m just grasping at drumsticks over my fear of having to prepare my own Thanksgiving dinner this year. For our entire lives, my wife, three daughters and I have been hosted by our parents for Thanksgiving dinner. We’ve always happily sung “Over the Highway and Through the Speed Traps to Grandmother’s House We Go” as we anticipated a good, old fashioned feast not prepared in a microwave or ordered on my cell phone. About all I know how to do for a homemade Thanksgiving is to open the store-bought cranberry sauce that retains the shape of the can.

Sure, we could go to Cracker Barrel and have our Thanksgiving meal served to us by a teenager who would rather be Snapchatting or listening to Billie Eilish on Spotify sing like she stayed up all night Snapchatting. But this traditional celebration of family, freedom and prosperity just isn’t the same when you have to leave a tip.

However you decide to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I want to encourage you to follow the advice of Dr. (Fun-sponge) Fauci, and employ all recommended safety measures to protect your loved ones. And if you’re feeling a little depressed about all of the changes, there is one element of Thanksgiving that is sure to lift you up with positive feelings of gratitude, patriotism, and love.

Pie – lots of pie.

Copyright 2020 Jase Graves distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at susanjase@sbcglobal.net.

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