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Column

We’ll still be together

We did it. We’ve canceled our Thanksgiving gathering. Stupid COVID-19.

We’re maskers and have been since the beginning. Let me explain.

My work ethic can sometimes be a detriment.

I was brought up to avoid absences at work or school. If you were really sick, you went to bed to sleep it off and then got back to it. None of this laying around the house for days whining about it. Period. Bob Barker and Gene Rayburn made rare appearances in our home back in the 1970s.

My mom stayed at home and took care of her family while we were growing up. The only time I think I ever saw her stop during the daylight hours was when she took to her bed with a migraine. If you’ve ever had one, you know that will drop you in your tracks.

Last winter/spring, we were short-staffed at work with our editor out enjoying time with her new baby. We were still a daily paper, plus putting out our two weekly editions. We kept a crazy schedule.

I’m the first to admit, even when I’m really sick — like I was last winter with several rounds of what we thought was the flu, lasting several months — I go to work. I’ve always felt too responsible to leave my duties to fall on someone else’s shoulders. Last winter, I’d sit alone at my desk in my office area, wear a mask as to keep others from catching my cooties and went home in the evenings and straight to bed. I’ve never felt so sick in my life.

Then March 5, I went to work and simply had to sit and rest before I even made it to my desk. I assumed all the coughing and fevers had just worn me down that much. As I continued my morning duties working at my computer, suddenly I lost vision in my right eye. Weird, I know, but I just kept working. About 3 hours later, I left work and drove myself roughly 20 miles home.

The remainder of that afternoon included a trip to urgent care, then the emergency room, then to an eye specialist, then back to the emergency room followed by a nearly week-long stay in the hospital. It was determined from the multitude of tests, I’d had a bit of a stroke causing the loss of vision, but even more shocking was learning I’d had a heart attack.

I’m not dumb enough to think that because I came through all that with only a few repercussions, I’m now invincible. Quite the contrary, I’m even more scared of the coronavirus. I have a number of health issues putting me in the higher risk category.

Thank you, genetics.

Although my daughter, Avery, works in a factory, they are mandated to wear masks. Fortunately, with everyone taking precautions at her work, not all are as diligent about masking up in their free time and she has mentioned people “dropping like flies” from the schedule. But as long as those who remain are masked up and safely distancing themselves properly while on the job, she has, to date, felt at ease. She also avoids going out in public and never without her mask.

Both of my boys, Josh and Carson, are in the public much more often than the rest of us due to their professions and especially since the derecho. I know they wear their masks, but I’m also aware there are those few times it’s simply not always possible, even if just briefly.

So anyway ...

We were planning to all dine together for Thanksgiving at my daughter’s house with everyone assigned certain foods to bring. Avery, however, initiated a group call Tuesday wanting to revisit the idea of the safety of a family dinner and together we all made the decision forgo the in-person gathering.

Instead, I’ll be making the entire meal, just like the days when the kids were small, and Mick and I will deliver the meals to all their households.

Then, we’ll just Zoom our way through Thanksgiving dinner, still together.

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