In these "unprecedented times," we here in New Jersey were warned by our governor not to travel, or have more than two households or more than 10 people in our houses for Thanksgiving. Many people here in this state took heed and seriously scaled down their family gatherings. Many did not.

What is a celebration of any holiday without the ones that you cherish and care for? There is a new virus spreading around the world that has people in an absolute panic. For many it's justified. They've seen people get very sick from COVID-19 and some even die. Others have looked at the statistics and facts and made a decision based on their own comfort level and risk assessment to continue to live life.

I have a family member who is a strong poker player. He says, "I'm an odds person. I've looked at the odds as to what the consequences are to living a normal life with certain precautions and I'm going to live and not hide."

That family member was over my house for Thanksgiving. So were about a dozen others, including my elderly mother. We did some serious risk assessment of our own and decided that if we can only see my kids a few times a year and they didn't pose a risk and they felt comfortable traveling, come on home. We did have some family members that we didn't see over the holiday because they weren't feeling well. So they stayed away from the family gatherings and played it safe. One tested positive for coronavirus in one test and negative in another. The one who had worse symptoms tested negative for the virus, and they are married and obviously are close to each other all day and all night.

Holiday decorations and getting packages from Amazon may lift the spirits for a moment or two, but the real joy of this time of year is the people we love and spending time with them. Lockdowns haven't worked and have unintended consequences sometimes more dangerous than the virus we're currently running from. So what are we to make of the testing, the masking up, the quarantining? Your guess is as good as mine or Dr. Anthony Fauci's (he's been guessing and re-evaluating from the beginning). So whatever your best assessment of the situation is, is what you should do in a free country like America, or at least it used to be.

Happy holidays and enjoy it any way you like ... if you dare.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis’ own.

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