Alonzo Weston

Happy Thanksgiving. I know it’s hard for some of us to add happy to Thanksgiving this year because of the pandemic, but you can still find reason to be happy and thankful. For starters, be happy and thankful if you or any of your loved ones don’t have the coronavirus.

I’ve passed up too much happiness in my life by not being more thankful for what I had and worrying more about what I didn’t have.

I missed a lot of blessings that way.

I took for granted the time when our kids were younger and still lived at home. I got caught up in worrying about the money, the house and the car I didn’t have rather than focusing on the fleeting sweet times we had with our young children.

I miss the holidays now where we’d go to mom and dad’s house for dinner and listen to dad sing and play the organ after we ate. I stupidly somehow thought this part of my life would go on forever, that this scene would never change.

I still drive up 22nd Street and look up Sylvanie Street expecting to see dad in his pigeon-toed work boots walking to his garage or putting up Christmas decorations in his yard.

My dad is deceased now, and my mom is alive and well but in assisted living.

The facility where mom lives won’t let residents leave to go to their families because of fear of the virus. Our kids and grandkids might not be able to come to our house for the same reason. This Thanksgiving and Christmas it might just be my wife and I celebrating alone together due to COVID restrictions.

As the late poet humorist Wilbur Nesbit once said, “Forever on Thanksgiving Day the heart will find the pathway home.”

My grandmother, great-grandmother, aunts and uncles who all now are deceased and who made my childhood Thanksgivings great will join us in memory.

Pandemic or not, we still have to make Thanksgiving and Christmas memorable for our grandchildren. My mom, dad, grandmothers, aunts and uncles did not experience a pandemic, but they had other hardships — lost jobs and lost health — and still made the holidays memorable and special for us kids.

COVID-19 restrictions have been stressful for many of us with social distancing, closures and limits on holiday gatherings to the people you live with and no other family or friends.

There are 2 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States and growing. To help make sure Thanksgivings after this year are memorable with family, we have to sacrifice being in large groups this year.

Be grateful you still have football and maybe a parade or two on TV and good food, so this year try to be thankful for what you do have. It’s like author Wale Ayeni says, “Be thankful for what you have. Your life, no matter how bad you think it is, is someone else’s fairy tale.”

Think of the sick, homeless and destitute today as you celebrate what Thanksgiving you can.

Thank you is the best prayer anyone can say. And that is what the day is about — gratitude and thanks despite the circumstances.

Alonzo Weston can be reached at alonzo.weston@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWeston.