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Writer-s-Bloc

One year later, reasons to be grateful — but got your card?

Gratitude in a time of Covid

She stopped me at the door: “Vaccine card, please.”

I paused. “Are you sure that’s necessary?”

She smiled blandly, but didn’t move aside. “I think it is.”

Defeated, I showed her my phone — though I couldn’t help pointing out the obvious: “You know this is our house, right?”

“Yes,” she replied.

“And you remember that you and I are married?” I asked.

“Of course,” she said. “Now, do you have any photo ID?”

“Phot….?”

“Cough? Headache? Fever? Have you or anyone in your household travelled outside ­Canada in the past two weeks?”

“You are my household,” I said. “And you just sent me to the store for cranberry sauce.”

“Thanks for that,” she said. “Put it in the kitchen. Just follow the arrows.”

I peered over her shoulder. “Arrows?”

“Six feet!” she barked, so I dutifully scuttled back.

Jeez, I thought, Thanksgiving dinner is going to be different this year. All this awkwardness about who is allowed in whose home, whether it’s polite to ask about vaccine status and should the rapid test kit go to the left of the salad fork or beside the napkin.

What we forget is that last Thanksgiving there was no turkey dinner at all, or at least nobody was buying a 20-pounder. “Small bubbles only,” we were told. “Stick to your safe six.” (Remember that?)

In lieu of communal feasts, some creative Victorians swapped dishes. They’d leave them on one another’s porches, then ring the doorbell and flee as though what they had just dropped off was a flaming bag of dog crap, not a steaming bowl of brussels sprouts. As much as we might moan about today’s COVID restrictions, we’re living in a veritable mosh pit relative to last year’s isolation.

Another thing we forget about at Thanksgiving? Giving thanks.

Frequent readers might recognize this is something I like to do each year at this time: step back, take stock, count my blessings — then jealously compare them with those of others. This Thanksgiving, I was appalled to find I had seven fewer blessings than Joe Perkins. Ticked me right off. I mean, my car doesn’t even have a back-up camera. What am I, Amish?

Never mind. Mustn’t grumble. Better to take the high road and express gratitude for the good things that have happened in the past year. Here goes:

• I am thankful that scientists found a way to lessen the chance of contracting COVID. Added bonus: I am worm-free.

• I am thankful that Justin Trudeau bought me a three-inch pencil. For $610 million. (Just kidding: we paid for it ourselves.)

• I am grateful for the self-pity of those who protest outside hospitals, for otherwise they might feel ­overwhelmed by guilt.

• I am grateful that I haven’t felt compelled to mention Donald You-Know-Who since January.

• I would be super-thankful, though, if the no-shirt, painted-face, horned-fur-hat Capitol Hill insurrection guy became this year’s go-to Halloween costume.

• I am grateful that, for the second year in a row, Canada has topped the annual Quality of Life ranking of 78 countries. And thank heaven that those who find it too burdensome to live here still have the freedom to move to 78th-place Iraq.

• I am grateful for stumbling across this line in a book this week: When Herman Mankiewicz, the screenwriter of Citizen Kane, died on the same day as Joseph Stalin, one of his sons said to another: “Well, we split a doubleheader.”

• I am grateful for the goodness of Ted Lasso, central character of the eponymous, charming, too-raunchy-for-the-networks TV show. If you have yet to see Ted, think of a cross between Dr. Bonnie and Ned Flanders. We need Ted.

• Last year’s column (“Dear God, it’s the worst Thankgiving ever”) was framed as a tongue-in-cheek letter to the Almighty. I am grateful for the woman who responded by sending me a Bible — the most well-intentioned, kindest bit of criticism I have ever received. Total Ted Lasso move.

• I am grateful for the chance to see that while things are not that great, nor are they — for most of us — that bad. To quote Kentucky poet Kat Savage: “Life is simply a mix of mayhem and magnolias, so embrace this gentle riot and gather flowers along the way.”

Jack Knox is a columnist for the Times Colonist newspaper in Victoria.



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