As many of you know and can imagine, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I like Christmas but Thanksgiving has always been so very special to me. It’s a time when family and friends can share some outstanding food and drink along with football and laughter.

For years now I have hosted Thanksgiving at my house. Last year I got a 29lb turkey, I made some of the sides and my wonderful nieces and nephew filled the table with other dishes that were just awesome. My nephew is a bartender and beverage manager at an upscale bar and restaurant in New York City and brings wine and scotch that are his favorites which quickly become mine.

My niece Alice and her husband Dave come up from Baltimore with their 5 kids, my niece Katie who is also in Baltimore comes up along with my nephew Pete and his girlfriend Lindsey and my other niece Marie and her husband Chris who live very close to me. We usually have another friend or two with whom we enjoy sharing our day.

Big Joe - Townsquare Media
The 29lb turkey takes up a lot of the oven!

The tradition begins with me cooking Tuesday and Wednesday, getting ready for the big day and Wednesday night, everyone arrives and we go to dinner at a local restaurant, Tuzzio’s and catch up, laugh and eat. Thanksgiving morning Chris brings over his famous breakfast bake, the turkey is in, the parade is on TV, the fireplace is lit, the kids are laughing and there may be a Bloody Mary or two being served. It’s not Norman Rockwell but it’s pretty darn close.

As the afternoon progresses football takes over the TV, some wine or cocktails are poured, Alice’s killer cheese and jam tray is served and the smell of the turkey, gravy and stuffing permeate through the house causing me to slightly drool on my holiday sweater.

Then the dinner is served, the kids are at their table, we’re at ours, the food is great and a moment of prayer and thanks is taken and the dinner is served. While the food evaporates in seven minutes, the conversation and laughs do not. Sure they are the same stories, mostly from me but we all enjoy the laughs.

I treasure Thanksgiving day. I never take it for granted and I’m humbled and thankful that my nieces and nephew and their families spend the day with me. It is my honor and pleasure to host this day.

This year will change all that. The real threat of spreading the virus is just too much to chance. My nephew has had people he works with die from the virus and he’s deeply concerned. I’m concerned about my niece and their five kids.

Thanksgiving will go on at my house but it sure won’t be the same and that is just a shame. I will make it the best we can. I hope that your Thanksgiving is a good one. If your tradition breaks as mine has, grab comfort in the past celebrations that made it so special. Happy Thanksgiving.

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