BUT, IT’S ALL ABOUT FAMILY


Thankfulness is not just a feeling; it is a state of mind. 

In a couple days families all across America will celebrate Thanksgiving.  This particular day is one of the most anticipated, planned and heavily traveled days of the holiday season.  BUT, Thanksgiving 2020 is shaping up to be anything but normal.  Now more than ever, thoughtful planning and careful consideration must be incorporated into the celebration to protect the people we love most – family and friends.

Customarily, gatherings large or small would unabashedly socialize with those they had not seen all year long.  The day’s activity would include hosting, dining, laughing, catching up, relaxing, and maybe watching a game of football. These are all part and parcel of what makes the day exciting, for young and old, and what makes it so special to everyone.  BUT currently, new directives outline all get-togethers should be small, preferably to include only those in the immediate household or bubble. 

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Leading up to the merriment, retailers and supermarkets tend to pull out all the stops to ensure shoppers have their turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry, apple pie and all the fixings that go into making the feast.  However, the menu I suspect with all its delectable, mouthwatering servings, is not the only reason for families wanting to come together during this stage.   BUT, as health authorities would have it, they prefer outdoor assemblies versus interior, and if indoor, suggests that the count be kept to a minimum.

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Besides a heightened sense of excitement, and meticulous planning, some form of transport will bring everyone home for the occasion.  As of writing, the airwaves are reporting high travel volume, over 4 million persons and counting are transiting airports, bus, and train terminals.  People from all walks of life are determined to reunite with relatives no matter the cost.  BUT, yet again the health czars are recommending staying put.   

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Community Peeps, undoubtedly Covid-19 has proven to be a challenge on every front.  It has impacted the way we live, work, and socialize even to the point of muting current celebration plans.  BUT in all this, thankfulness should still be the mindset.  Being thankful is certainly the best attitude one can have to keep a healthy outlook on life.  Take the time daily to be thankful for your blessings and appreciate family.  Only those above ground can do so.  I am thankful for all of you.  And oh, if you must travel, do so safely.  I implore you to wear a mask, sanitize and physical distance.  Please share what you are thankful for in the comment box below.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comment in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thank you for reading.

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Thanksgiving Drama


Stuffed to the brim yesterday and hungover today.  Not from alcohol, but from the food, entertainment and drama.  Thanksgiving Day is one of my favorite holidays of the year, the other Christmas in Barbados.  As in last year’s blog, I shared our family traditions and how we express our thankfulness – Staycation Plans.  Today, I want to highlight some of the stressors that are part and parcel of making Thanksgiving Day an unforgettable experience.

Usually I sit down to eat the sumptuous meal with family and friends just after noon.  I adopted this habit many years ago.  It gives my guests who spend the entire day the chance to consume the meal, with opportunity for seconds, thirds, and desserts.  Plus, I would not have to worry about storage for the leftovers.  I still recall my very first Thanksgiving meal.  My host and I prepared the food all day long and didn’t sit down to eat until 7:00 p.m. that night.  In my humble opinion, that was way too late to be eating such a heavy meal, but I graciously obliged my host and tried to do justice to the meal that was served to me.  From that time, I promised myself I would never serve meals to my guests that late and I have kept my promise.

Over the years, I have found that while the day is wildly anticipated, many anxieties are experienced before, during and after the actual day.  Is it all worth it?  Many a host will tell you, “yes, it is.”  You can be the judge after reading of some of the pressures that help to put a strain on the day.

Kuala Lumpur_38Travel can be one of the contentious points that causes anxiety on Thanksgiving Day, whether by car, bus, train or plane.  Arriving or departing, your visitor’s safety is paramount.  This year was touted to be one of the heaviest travel days, and from all indicators, that prediction was a bulls-eye.  Thanksgiving-eve and Day, cars flowed in every direction like red and white blood cells flowing up and down a vein. More people hit the open road to join family and friends than in previous years.  A contributing factor are low gas prices.

Weather conditions too can greatly factor in.  Because of the tendency to have an early snowfall, (as we had last week) possible flight cancellations may occur.  Over bookings and other unanticipated anomalies may cause delays in departures/arrivals.  Whichever travel option used, the tension of dealing with congestion, delays, or cancellations may greatly impact the start of your holiday celebration and or may derail your plans altogether.

Family dynamics may present some uneasiness when considering or looking over your

Friends_Manila Philippines2invitation list.  You can choose friends, but you cannot choose family members.  That said, there may be wariness in extending invitations to break bread especially when you know some members don’t get along.  Even though the day is all about thankfulness, some personalities are not always willing to put their differences aside and may cause some tension which will overshadow the day.  This possibility is cause for concern if you are trying to accommodate everyone, not wanting to choose one over the other.

Food preparation can be another big stressor too.  Choosing mouth-watering foods that everyone will love and enjoy can turn out to be exasperating, especially when most of your invited guests are foreigners, and it is hard to please everyone.  Do you serve the regular Thanksgiving Day cuisine, or do you serve that of another culture?  Which culture takes preference?  Without a doubt, the one agreed upon food that will grace the

table will be the bird.  If it is eaten, liked or disliked, you can rest assured that turkey (whole bird or breast) with stuffing will take center stage.  The other fixings may be hard to choose, and indeed, may bring an added weight that may not be worth the time or effort.

Entertainment is another medium through which tension can manifest itself.  Routing for one favorite football team or another, is not necessarily the issue.  If that were the case, then you would be happy to know that all persons in the house are fans of the game.  However, football may not be the favorite pastime of your invited guests.  So, how do you deal with the blaring TV in one room, a gregarious group in an adjacent room, and still others or lone figures huddled in other areas of the house trying to have different conversations?  Running around trying to be the perfect host, making sure everyone is happy, and enjoying themselves may bring on moments of unwanted worry and anxiousness.

At the end of the day, you are eager to see the backs of your guests and their tail lights pulling away from your driveway.  You breathe a sigh of relief and are thankful that you survived yet again.  The food was eaten, everyone said they enjoyed themselves and had a great time.  The strain and tensions of the day melt away as your weary head touches the pillow.  Before you drift off into sleep you find yourself thinking on new and improved plans for next year’s Thanksgiving.

Community Peeps, how was your Thanksgiving Day?  Do you have some Thanksgiving drama of our own to share?  What has been your experience as host, or attending a family/friend’s home for the meal?  Spill the beans on your experiences, past or recent.  Waiting to hear from you.

Readers, as usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Your interest, time and attention are always appreciated.  Thanks for reading.

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Itinerary Planner

Staycation Plans


Yesterday I looked outside my window and saw snow flurries.  Thoughts of traveling to a sunny, exotic location, lying on a beach, sipping a cool mocktail or reading a book, began to fill my mind.  Reality check.  This is peak season to destinations like that and the costs of airfare, hotel, etc., would probably blow my travel budget into smithereens.  It’s just a pipe dream.  So, if this is your dilemma what can you do and where can you go?  I propose a staycation.

I am especially fond of the holiday season, albeit cold.  Usually around this time, my travel plans whether using bus, car or train, are limited to the Northeast for these simple reasons:  It is a time to enjoy my colorful backyard, a time to give thanks, a time to enjoy Christmas, and a time to spend with family.

I live in the Hudson Valley and at this particular time of year it is a picturesque place to be.  70 miles north of New York city, you can begin to enjoy nature’s foliage as you drive along any of the major highways to the upstate suburbs.  If you pack a lunch basket, don your walking boots, you can take your family on an outing to witness the explosive kaleidoscope of colorful leaves.  Browns, reds, oranges, yellows splash across the mountainside and along the rippling Hudson River banks like Holi (the Hindu festival of colors).   I especially like to take the ride up through the Taconic State Parkway or the Palisades Parkway.  These two routes present some of the most advantageous views and scenic photo ops for both the professional and amateur photographer.  Hiking on Bear Mountain and the many national parks that make up the Harriman State Park is another great way to witness the colorful leaves and explore the trails.

Do not feel left out if you live alone.  Plan a surprise visit to a friend or family member and spend Thanksgiving or even Christmas with them.  Choose a destination away from your town so you can see some different scenery.  Drive half hour or more if you have to.  I am not talking turkey when I tell you that I love Thanksgiving.  On such occasions, I drive two and a half hours just to be with family.  Here are my reasons why.  Giving thanks is a priority when my family sits down together for our meal. We acknowledge in our daily devotions thanks to God for being our provider, sustainer, protector and redeemer.  Thanksgiving day is no exception.  When we gather at a pre-selected household to break bread,  before laying into the delectable spread,  every person present is afforded the opportunity to give thanks.   Sincere expressions of thankfulness for:  kindnesses received or given, thoughtfulness of and to others, love-in-action demonstrated by friends and family are often recited.  The food, though mouth-watering, is not the priority, as one by one we tell each other why we are so thankful.  Sometimes these moments can be very nostalgic, moving each other to tears (happy tears), or being outright hilarious.  After all is said, one person says the corporate pray of thanks giving to God for us all and then we dig in.  It is a beautiful, special moment with family.

Christmas is another favorite holiday of mine.  If in the city, a great travel plan would be to attend a local concert.  Many church choirs in the area renders the ageless Handel’s Messiah or the Hallelujah Chorus much to the delight of their audience.  If you like the ballet, The Nutcracker is another staple performance for theater goers.  I attend a choir concert or two just to enjoy the music of the season, but it begins for me much sooner than December.  Every September 1st, I swap out all the music in my car to only play Christmas songs, carols and hymns as I drive.  My friends think it is strange (you might think so too) to be playing this holiday music so early, but I think the month of December is not long enough for me to enjoy them.  Besides, my quirk was adapted to de-stress after a long, hard day.  The combination of listening to favorite carols, watching twinkling lights, feeling crisp cold air, and seeing snowflakes fall, helps to make my travels extra special as I whiz up and down the highways.

Although mentioned last, spending time with family is by far the most important reason for liking the holiday season, whether Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Without the love of family and friends, and the ability to share with them, all the aforementioned would probably be less enjoyable.  According to Statisticbrain.com  it is estimated 39,000,000 people will travel this Thanksgiving day.  I like the fact that travelers will crisscross the nation to see and be with their loved ones.  Too much cannot be said about the value of being with family during this season.  Quality time spent with the people you love and appreciate makes great, unforgettable memories later on.

Here’s a question for my blog followers and viewers.  Do you have a favorite holiday plan you would like to share?  Please let me know in the comment section below.  I find your comments very interesting.  Don’t be shy to drop me a note via my website, Google+, LinkedIn, or email.  If you have gotten this far, thanks for reading.

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