Dear diary,

I love Thanksgiving. Even though I don’t get any presents, it is my favoritest holiday of the whole year.

On Thanksgiving Day our family gets together at our house. My aunts and uncles and cousins and grandmas and grandpas. Sometimes even some awkward girlfriends and boyfriends who we never see again after that. We light a fire in the fireplace and fill up the house with noise and laughter while our mouths water at fragrant turkey and yummie dressing with cranberries and steaming buttery mashed potatoes and even that Campbell soup green bean stuff my Aunt Gina makes every year.

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This year because of the pandemic I watch reruns of the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. I am kind of disappointed, but to be honest, it doesn’t change much year to year. The only way I can tell it is a rerun is because the balloons aren’t wearing masks.

Later I help Mom set the table in the dining room. There aren’t as many place settings at the big table this year. Instead of plates there are a few laptop computers turned around so we can look at them while we eat.

When dinner is finally served Dad asks Grandpa to say grace. Grandpa bows his head, closes his eyes and begins speaking. Nobody can hear him. Dad waves his arms. “Grandpa,” he says, trying to get his attention, “you need to take yourself off mute.”

I feel sorry for him. Grandma died in April from Covid. Now he is all alone. He is eating turkey pot pie in a nursing home.

My other grandma and grandpa are on a computer across from me. They are actually sitting in a hotel room a few miles from our house even though they traveled all the way from Florida to be with us. My mom says they are in quarantine and can’t come over for fourteen days. “Why did they come now if they can’t be with us?” I ask. Mom says it is because they are coming for Christmas.

Sis is sitting next to me. She is home from college. I am really happy to see her. She says she doesn’t know if she will be going back. She has to study for something called finals even though she said she has already taken several tests and failed. She says If she had tested positive she would still be at college. It seems kind of funny to me that if you do well on a test they won’t let you come home. I don’t know if I want to go to college.

Sis wants more turkey. I try to pass it to her but I can’t get it around the plexiglass between us. Fortunately she has a long barbecue fork and spears it from her seat. “Wow this turkey is really moist!” she tells my mom. “What did you do to it?” Mom tells her she sprayed the turkey with lemon hand sanitizer before she served it.

Uncle Joe yells loudly that bleach works well too. My dad rolls his eyes because Joe is wearing a red baseball hat at the table. Uncle Joe says he can’t smell or taste the turkey. Everyone screams that he has Covid, but he is speaking from a golf course on an iPad. Of course he can’t smell the turkey.

My mom’s phone rings. It is Uncle Ben and Aunt Rita. They want seconds. Mom asks me if I will scoop up some more mashed potatoes into a bowl and bring it to them. “Wear a mask,” she says. They are sitting at a table outside on the patio. It is pretty cold and they ask me if I will reheat their plates in the microwave. They also want some mittens.

They are outside because we have reached the limit for indoor gatherings. My cousins are sitting in the living room at the kids table without me. Dad says we can’t all sit together because we are in different families, which is weird because I thought we were all family.

I am mad that I can’t sit with them, but for a while we yell back and forth until Mom and Dad tell us to shut up because they can’t hear Aunt Gina who is calling up from the basement.

Aunt Gina and her new boyfriend want to know when they can eat.

Mom puts her hand to her face in anguish. “Oh my gosh. Gina!” she exclaims.

I didn’t even know Aunt Gina was still here. I haven’t seen her since we took her temperature at the front door. No one knows her boyfriend so we told them to isolate in the basement with the dog.

I guess we forgot about her.

After dinner we all take turns going to the kitchen to serve ourselves warm pumpkin pie straight from the oven. After 20 minutes my dad finally calls my number. But by that time the ice cream has melted and the pie is cold.

Then everyone says goodbye through their masks and goes home to watch football because we only have one TV. Nobody even gives me a hug.

Well, that was my Thanksgiving. LIke I said, it is my favoritest holiday of the whole year.