Yes, it’s an unusual time.  Have a great day, anyway.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Here is Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation of the first national day of Thanksgiving.  This includes a further history of the day as observed in the United States.  Fr. Jim Kent of the Franciscan Retreat Center, Prior Lake MN, reflected on “The Holiday Season” in the organizations Winter 2021-2022 newsletter: Holiday


Last week I was invited to a home gathering in a twin cities suburb.  Finally, because of weather and distance, I decided I couldn’t attend, and the next day the host sent this photo of the group:

Home gathering November, 2021

A pre-gathering communication from the host to all of us said: “If you feel more comfortable “Masking Up”, feel free to do so.”  I wasn’t there, so don’t know if the above photo was staged, or the final reality.  I had said to the host beforehand “I’ll very likely ‘mask up’ as I have a medical test…[coming up, and the hospital is] real sensitive about Covid-19 exposure“.  But then I told them I wouldn’t be there.  So…only they know (though the odds are everyone wore the masks.  Minnesota is a current hot spot in the nation for Covid-19.)

Whatever the case, the photo shows a very nice gesture of “Minnesota nice”….

This Thanksgiving, making is not mandatory, but the practice seems to have caught on.  At my coffee shop, I’d guess that most customers come in ‘masked up’.  Of course, sitting and drinking coffee means no mask, but we aren’t crowded in, and most are take-out anyway.

Last week Thursday, at the Minnesota Orchestra, it was basically a full house.  Masks are required, as is evidence of vaccination.  The Orchestra, even the Chorale, were masked.

At Mass at Basilica on Sunday, I didn’t see anyone not wearing masks…and I’m an usher.  The sign at the door strongly suggests masks.

Most people here are now fully vaccinated.  This doesn’t guarantee no infection, but the vast majority of hospitalized Covid-19 patients did not get vaccinated.

I note that social distancing has caught on.  Generally, people in lines give space, where before, it was less likely.

Behavior, by and large, is much more civil than early on in the Pandemic.

It seems we have mostly learned something positive from out of the stress and difficulty of the past months. This is not universal, of course, but it is noticeable to me.


I’ve spent some time just thinking about recent examples of Thanksgiving I’ve seen or experienced in my own life.  There are many positive incidences, most small, but all very significant.  I recommend this activity as part of your own day.  We are besieged by stories of problems; it is good to remember what is good, as well.


Finally, Molly sends along some poetry for 2021 Thanksgiving.  You can read it here: Thanksgiving 2021.

In addition, she sent “some quotes to go with the poetry“:

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.    –Albert Schweitzer

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  — Albert Einstein

 Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.  ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

‘Sometimes,’ said Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.’  ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

My thoughts shimmer with these shimmering leaves and my heart sings with the touch of this sunlight; my life is glad to be floating with all things into the blue of space, into the dark of time. – Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds, #150

COMMENTS (more at the end of post)

from Donna: Happy Thanksgiving Dick,  I loved your post this morning.  I am so thankful to be a member of the Basilica.  Rich and I are part of a Circle of Welcome team from the Basilica and just met the first of three families from Afghanistan.  The Basilica along with Lutheran Social Services are helping them get settled in this country.   America and Minnesota should be so very thankful for this family of 10.  The father of 8 worked with the American Government so they left in August.  He and his wife are so thankful to be here.  I hope to see you soon at church.

from Molly: Thanks, Dick, ours will include a small gathering with our son’s family

May your Thanksgiving be blessed as well.
from Jim: Aloha Dick I hope you are doing well and staying safe. Things are great here on Molokai as we are quite isolated here on the east end. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving
from Kathy: Happiest of Thanksgivings all around from my family in Oregon to yours
from Jermitt: Thanks for the great photo.
from Paul:  Your optimistic blog on masks is hopeful! It’d be amazing to put some of the contention behind us. Haiti’s a horrible mess and the US continues it’s historically consistent track record of disingenuous behavior to ensure Haiti’s down and out status, that’s a whole coffee discussion on it’s own.


7 replies
  1. Nancy Dunlavy
    Nancy Dunlavy says:

    Thanks, Dick. I especially appreciated the second quote from Einstein and both quotes from Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne).

    Lincoln’s “Proclamation of Thanksgiving” does not mention the typically told story of a Thanksgiving feast in 1621 (as stated in Fr. Jim Kent’s newsletter, “that first time the native peoples and pilgrims sat together and shared the bounty of the harvest…”).

    I encourage you and your readers to take a look at this short article: “What you learned about the first Thanksgiving isn’t true. Here’s the real story”

    The article mentions a book by historian David Silverman: This Land is Your Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving. Howard and I plan to watch a recording of Mr. Silverman’s lecture on this book today. It’s a bit over an hour long.

  2. norm hanson
    norm hanson says:

    Yes, people except for some very visible and prominent politicos who are now blaming Biden for not controlling the pandemic as well as some who are banning vaccine mandates in spite of the surges in cases and deaths especially amongst the unvaccinated, seem to have accepted that the virus is present and that becoming vaccinated, wearing masks and social distancing are the best strategies for keeping oneself and family and friend’s virus free. I noticed that the Republicans in the Minnesota state senate appear to have backed off from their intent to not approve the nomination of Malcolm as the commissioner of health, that is, not to shoot the messenger as planned. If they really are backing off from the killing of the messenger, that can only mean that they have been taken behind the barn by enough folks and entities to now understand that nullifying Malcolms appointment as the health commissioner would cost them in November 2022, nothing more and nothing less than that! And, I am thankful for that! Much more importantly, my wife and I will be spending the afternoon with our two young granddaughters!

  3. Jeff P
    Jeff P says:

    Happy Belated Thanksgiving. On the topic….on Thanksgiving morning prior to hosting 18 people for dinner (and the few weeks of prep hahaha) our 5 year old grandson did a home test in our house at 8am and was positive. This blew up our event, and of course made life difficult for parents of they 5 grandkids…quarantine time from school and daycare. Hoping the exposed kids and parents will all be ok, all adults were boostered so expected no problem. Kids will be tested next week allowing the 5+ day incubation period from exposure.

    • dickbernard
      dickbernard says:

      That’s the pits…for the youngster and everyone. The topic is never far out of mind, still, especially when you gather with others, as we did, too, for Thanksgiving. All best wishes.


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