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Sudie Crouch: Will this year’s Thanksgiving leave us missing traditions?

“I wonder if there will be a Thanksgiving parade this year,” I questioned aloud the other day. 

“I doubt it,” Lamar replied. “Not sure how they’d manage that.”

I felt my heart sink. 

Sudie Crouch
This has been a year of contrast, where the things we expected have been turned upside down and we’ve learned to adapt and roll with the changes. 

Some of us have struggled with this more than others. 

For me, life hasn’t changed much during the era of Covid. 

I had been using grocery pickup before it was cool, and earnestly hope the 6-foot space restriction stays once this is all over. 

But the one thing that I always looked forward to was the Thanksgiving parade. 

Normally, I am not a big fan of going to a parade in person. 

Maybe it’s because it was always cold and I couldn’t see. Even as a kid, I disliked crowds, so that was another negative. 

Watching them on TV was another story. 

On Thanksgiving morning, I would wake to a savory aroma of all of Granny’s magic making in the kitchen wafting through the house.

Her turkey had been baking overnight and was juicy and golden. 

She had it resting on top of the stove, as she shredded some pieces to go in her dressing. 

As soon as I walked in the kitchen, she greeted me and asked me if I wanted a turkey sandwich. 

On this sacred day of eating, Granny was downright pleasant, knowing she would be fully appreciated for her skills and talents. 

I would hungrily agree and scurry off the den while she made it. 

She’d tuck a quilt over my feet as she handed me the sandwich, the still warm turkey layered between the slices of white bread with mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. 

I was waiting for two things on Thanksgiving morning — Granny’s dinner to be ready and the Macy’s parade. 

I can’t recall what I’d watch before the parade came on, but once it was time, Granny turned the channel for me. 

For however long it lasted, I sat in rapt adoration of the floats and balloons as they made their way towards Herald Square.

Most Thanksgiving mornings, Pop would join me, enjoying his own sandwich of contraband turkey.

“Bob, did you get in my turkey?” Granny would call from the kitchen. 

He’d cast me a glance and put his finger to his lips, telling me to stay quiet. 

I’d never snitch. I didn’t have to. I knew any time Granny asked a question, she already knew the answer. 

“Don’t you get any more of my turkey, you hear me?”

“You’ve got a bird big enough to feed the whole county, Helen,” he’d respond from his recliner. 

“I’m expecting company.”

“Who?” Pop would ask.

“Whoever wants to come eat, that’s who. Stay out of my turkey.”

She did have enough for everyone, but it was part of our normal Thanksgiving activities — Pop would steal a sandwich and she’d let him know to stay out of her kitchen.

“Which balloon you waiting on?” my uncle would ask. 

It changed from year to year, but Garfield was always a favorite. 

“When the ball game comes on, we’re turning it,” he’d tell me. 

“What? I want to watch the parade!” I’d cry. 

He’d laugh, knowing the game would come on long after the parade was over, but I didn’t know that. 

After working the night before, Mama would wake up sometime around the time the parade was over, with just enough time to eat before she had to get ready to go back in to work. 

It was a tradition for decades, and the parade seemed to be what tied it all together for me. 

Even as I got older, I still wanted to watch the parade. 

“Do we have to watch this?” Lamar would ask. 

I’d give him a sideways glance and shove the remote deep into the cushions where he couldn’t find it. 

“You know there’s a ball game on somewhere,” he’d say. 

I know better now. 

The parade was what would make this year feel a bit normal, to provide that tradition I was craving, more than any dressing or sweet potato pie. 

Not having the parade to watch was a disheartening thought. 

I had to Google and was happy to see that indeed they were having a parade, but with some necessary modifications. 

Of course, everything has a Covid spin on it.

There wouldn’t be any marching bands and the balloons would not be escorted by people but by specially rigged cars, but there was still going to be a parade. 

It may not be much, but somehow that knowledge gave my weary soul a bit of oomph for this holiday season.

Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom.