- The Washington Times
Monday, November 23, 2020


My mom, the matriarch of five generations, hasn’t prepared Thanksgiving dinner for several years.

That doesn’t mean, though, the show doesn’t go on.

She, her mother and her grandmothers taught us, and we related to the young under our watch and command the pertinent undertakings.

Faith, family, village, food and football — all stirred with loving and giving hands — and never, ever argue when preparing and cooking food.

In other words, ignore the acid and criticism on reality TV and social media, temptations that can lead to “acidic” food, which, in turn, can bring on acute indigestion.

Stick to the basics.

Faith: Be thankful, be grateful, quietly and out loud, that God and the ancestors granted you another day.

You needn’t wait until chow time or for everyone to be seated around the same table. God and your guardian angels never leave your side.

Family: There’s the Oxford’s definition of family (i.e., one or more parents and their children living together as a unit) and there’s 2020 real life, which, generations and centuries ago often included in-laws, cousins and “extended” members who were between jobs and moving to another part of the country. (Think, Great Migration.)

Village: This one is simple. Who do you depend on and who depends on you?

Food: Again, 2020, amid of COVID-19, is a year for change and readjustments. While we still should gather to ask the Lord’s and the ancestors’ blessings, the logistics are a bit different.

For example, some members of my generation said we’d cook a few dishes and our children’s generation would cook a few, and then we’d do a swap. No single huge Tom Turkey. No Nervous Nellies or Neds. But all the usual traditions of Thanksgiving.

There’s no need to even argue whether it’s stuffing or dressing. No turkey, no stuffing. Ha!

And that, of course, leads to the next tradition in the lineup. Football. NFL football.

Texas is honored with two matchups. The first is Houston against no other than the Detroit Lions, a Thanksgiving staple since 1937.

The third game of the day is Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh (and a rival match between a coworker and me). A native of the Iron City, the Steelers are the only AFC team I really and truly root for.

In between, there’s another rivalry: Washington vs. Dallas. I could say more, such as it’s a natural rivalry, it’s always a hard-won rivalry and it’s an NFC East rivalry. But, hey, since all four teams have only won three games, there’s not much else to say. Except: Beat Dallas!

So, in closing I repeat myself. Faith, family, village, food and football.

Be thankful, be grateful, through the struggles, the hopes, the fears, the triumphs small and large.

And give thanks that while Thanksgiving 2020 might be, eh, nontraditional, it’ll be Thanksgiving nonetheless.

Be thankful for your blessings.

Have a healthy, great getting up and happy Thanksgiving!

⦁ Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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