Nobody got to pinch anyone on St. Patrick’s Day.
Way back in March, nobody had any idea about what was just beginning, but we all agreed it was better to stay six feet apart and avoid the usual festivities. If we had known what was coming, maybe that would have been a good time to collect four-leaf clovers or anything else that might have brought us some luck in bringing this pandemic situation to a speedy conclusion.
But instead, the days, weeks and months dragged on, with one holiday and special occasion after another falling by the proverbial wayside.
Easter egg hunts were cancelled, or at best, a few Cloroxed plastic eggs were scattered in the front yard for kids to find while grandparents, smiling but sad, watched and waved from behind their windows.
Grills that would have cooked burgers and hot dogs for the whole neighborhood stood cold and quiet on Memorial Day.
No ROMP, no Bar-B-Q Festival, no Concert on the Lawn, no Hydrofair, no Porchfest.
There were no Independence Day fireworks … well, except for the ones fired off by the guy next door …and the family a couple of streets down … and from the neighborhood behind that …
Because by now, we were all tired of staying at home, healthy or otherwise, and the conversation had grown steadily less positive and more political.
Back-to-school shopping included things we’d never really thought much about before, but now are in the forefront of our thoughts about all the time: Face masks and hand sanitizer and wipes and thermometers.
And now, for those who look ahead, Halloween is on the horizon – and it’s a different kind of “scary.” Who cares about witches and werewolves and vampires when you’ve got a virus potentially lurking on every hard surface and in every breath you take? Some people will want to proceed as usual. These are masks they willingly wear. They plan to stride down the sidewalk and from door to door with the same confidence as always, their greatest worry being which houses give out the “fun size” candy bars and which give out the dreaded candy corn … or worse yet, keep their lights off and the door closed and don’t give out anything at all, for fear of inadvertently distributing more than calories and cavities.
Well, every family will have to make its own choice, and we all need to respect even the decisions that are different from our own. Or maybe there will even be some kind of directive from elected leaders saying Halloween has been cancelled or postponed or reimagined into something like a community-wide costume parade through our neighborhood streets.
But here’s one thing we do know: We’ll never take these holidays for granted again. Or milestone events like graduations, birthdays, and all the other special occasions that we celebrate among our own families and friends throughout the year. Or even the little things, like hanging over the backyard fence to trade friendly gossip with the lady next door. Or gathering with the guys in the garage down the street to work on that hot rod that everyone secretly knows will never run again but it’s fun to hang out and pretend you know the difference between a manifold and a carburetor.
Or just watching kids run and wrestle and ride bikes and braid each other’s hair and play tag and huddle over a craft project and just be kids again.
When that day happens – O Happy Day – that will be a day we will each celebrate in our hearts. And regardless of where we are on the calendar at that time, it will be a true and heartfelt Thanksgiving Day.