Jonathan Richie BW.tif

Thanksgiving is the best holiday. The whole weekend is a lovely snapshot of America.

We eat and drink all day, then fight with our families and on Friday, we practice the remarkable capitalistic trend of Black Friday shopping. Oh and the whole time we’re eating leftover turkey with that tryptophan, which allows us to take naps without issue.

But like everything in 2020 – it’s going to be different this year. Gov. Tony Evers and famous Doctor Anthony Fauci have advised the public not to have big gatherings this week due to COVID-19.

“You don’t want to be the Grinch that stole the holidays,” Fauci, who is director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“We’re going into a precarious situation,” Fauci said. “Cold weather is forcing people indoors, cases are going up in all age groups, and holidays are likely to bring people together in groups — a combination he called “a bad recipe for a tough time ahead.”

I’ll celebrate with my family, then facetime with my grandma and enjoy the extra long weekend with my friends. It will be different, but different doesn’t always mean worse.

Growing up, we would drive to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. We would usually have Wednesday off from school and leave Milwaukee sometime between 10 p.m. and midnight.

My mom hated going through Chicago with a lot of cars on the road. It would also allow her to drive through the night while my brothers and I slept in the minivan. Dad would be sitting up front navigating as we drove 14-17 hours (depending on bathroom stops) to Gouglersville, Pennsylvania.

Then we’d arrive, exhausted we’d pile out of the van, schlep our bags across the yard. As we approached the door my grandma, Betty Mae Schannauer, and grandpa Leroy, would greet us in the living room.

That’s when the preparations would officially start. Mom and grandma would start getting the food ready, putting together a list for Weavers Market in Adamstown.

Pop would be relaxing in the living room watching TV, asking us questions and chatting about his business, Leroy Schannauer Plumbing & Heating.

On Thanksgiving, the whole side of my mom’s family, the Schannauers, would show up to grandma and pop’s house. Once everybody got settled, it would turn into everybody joking around. My uncles led it and then everyone would join it.

I can’t imagine that being as much fun via Zoom meeting.

I don’t know what this Thanksgiving is going to look like, but I can tell you one thing – nothing will stop me from overeating and watching TV. That’s what Thanksgiving is all about.

Oh, and remember the Native Americans who helped keep the pilgrims from starving to death 400 years ago.