One less place at the table

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This Thanksgiving will certainly be different from every turkey day I’ve ever experienced.

Although my late parents were both alive in 1918, the last time a pandemic gripped the nation, they hadn’t yet started dating as they were in diapers. So I have no one to explain to me how to embrace this revered holiday when the world is shut down.

I do know the bird we ordered for Thursday is about the size of a softball, and it won’t come with all the trimmings. Although there are four in our family, there will be just three of us at the table, as we felt it made more sense for our son to delay his visit from Santa Fe until Christmas.

As of Tuesday, Nevada was in the throes of a three-week pause. This is nothing overly dramatic as we are now in the ninth month of a pause. It has been no fun for any of us, but I guess I can be grateful because I haven’t had a real job since 1987, so I couldn’t be fired. Through this chaos I’ve been working pretty much six days a week, and I’ve enjoyed the jobs I’ve chosen to accept.

While I realize that most people don’t consider typing words on a page to be real work, what I do for a living does require a fair amount of concentration, and if what I compose totally sucks I don’t get paid a dime. So I’m also appreciative that I don’t have to perform manual labor, and that the dress code I’ve adopted is from the same fashion line as Sanford and Son.

My first few years in Las Vegas, my parents would fly down from Spokane on Thanksgiving weekend, and we’d attack one of the many buffets offered on the Strip. The Circus Circus had a gastronomically appealing buffet, and so did the Golden Nugget. As neither my parents nor I had strong gambling instincts, we could easily escape from the evening with less than a C-note removed from our kitty.

There used to be annual Turkey Trots this time of year. These were races from three to five miles through city streets, usually tied to raising money for a local charity. But I vividly recall a Turkey Trot of a distinctly different nature, when my roommate years ago undercooked a cheap bird he had bought after its for-sale date.

That was unquestionably my least favorite Thanksgiving, so whatever happens this week will be an improvement over that one.

Like most American males I know, a good part of the day will be spent watching football. I’ll try to avoid surfing off a game to a news channel because it’s a certainty the lead stories will be how we’ve broken COVID positive records and fatalities for the umpteenth time in the month. I’m convinced watching too much news these days causes as much sickness and depression as the virus itself.

The single rays of hope through all this madness are the reports that several effective vaccines are within weeks of being made available to the general public. I’m one of those currently undecided over whether I’ll take the vaccine. My reasoning is simple: the only time I ever got a violent case of the winter flu was just after getting vaccinated against it. I may change my mind on this, but I’m going to wait until my close circle of friends report back on whether the shot worked for them.

In the meantime, I’ll just sit back, stay indoors, and do as I’m told by Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Sanjay Gupta and wait out this brutal phase of our existence. And I’ll mutter a couple of prayers for those of our brothers and sisters who’ve passed on to the other side.

I have to remember there is always something to be thankful for. As the juvenile detention officer who led me to a cell for the vile offense of mooning all those years ago told me on the way, “Be thankful kid. You get your own cell. The other little monster in your block stabbed his grandfather.”

About the Author

Jack Sheehan

Vegas Vibe columnist Jack Sheehan has lived in Las Vegas since 1976 and writes about the city for Gaming Today. He is the author of 28 books, over 1,000 magazine articles, and has sold four screenplays.

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