By Tim E. Renzelmann
Thanksgiving has long been my favorite Holiday. Okay, maybe when I was a kid, the many gifts under the tree on Christmas got my attention... but in my adult life I have always loved Thanksgiving.
Over the years I have maintained two long-standing Thanksgiving traditions! First and foremost, I have always spent a part of the day with my Mom and Dad! Second, I have run the Sheboygan County YMCA Thanksgiving Day Run (formerly the Turkey Trot, the Gobbler Gallop, the Radio Run and now known as the Doug Opel Run for the Kids) every Thanksgiving morning since 1978.
As a result of this ongoing pandemic... both of those traditions will have to be revised.
I do hope to visit, if only briefly and while giving careful consideration to guidance by public health experts with my Mom and Dad. There will be no gathering around the table for a turkey dinner with all its trappings, no daylong celebration filled with casual conversation, no Holiday hugs or handshakes.
As for the Thanksgiving Day Run, the Sheboygan YMCA is offering a virtual “In Your Neighborhood Edition” of the event this year. I do plan on heading to Sheboygan’s Lakefront on Thanksgiving morning to run the same course of the past 42 years, but there will be no starting gun, no mass start, no competition, no participants in costume, no supportive or celebratory cheers, no crossing the finish line!
Neither tradition will be the same. It is disappointing!
But, let’s face it... it has been a disappointing year! We’ve had a pandemic. There is on-going social unrest in our country. There was a contentious election that dragged on longer than expected. Not to mention the “normal” challenges that life may offer, including cancer!
I’ll admit... I don’t feel much like celebrating! But that is NOT due to a lack of gratitude! In fact, the events of 2020 have reminded me of those really important things for which I am grateful, including many things I have taken for granted – like simply spending time, carefree time, in the presence of family and friends and loved ones! As a result, I find myself experiencing a deeper and more profound kind of gratitude! But the old ways of celebrating this day of thanks aren’t going to work this year. I need to find new ways, different ways, more appropriate ways to celebrate and express that gratitude!
Even though this Thanksgiving may have fewer traditions and less celebrations... there is no reason it cannot have even more gratitude and more love than ever before!
However you choose to spend this Thanksgiving Day... which may involve some old traditions (or revisions of them) along with some new celebrations (which I hope you find meaningful)... please stay safe!