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STEVEN DOYLE: Let's not lose the spirit of Thanksgiving
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STEVEN DOYLE: Let's not lose the spirit of Thanksgiving

The tendency is to snarl and spew and let you fill in the foul words that might be presented by a string of random characters.

Thanksgiving has been taken by the masked – or should I write “unmasked”? – bandit we call COVID, a feast of family bespoiled by separation and melancholy. That @&@!# virus has robbed us again.

I should complain about the resurgence of this virus in the past month that blew away the last hope of a seminormal gathering – if you count sitting outdoors in chilly weather or spread among rooms with plates in our laps as “seminormal” – and blew apart one more touch of family tradition for 2020.

I guess I could complain that my parents, both elderly and vulnerable, won’t be able to entertain their sprawling flock this year, that my wife and daughter won’t get to bond with my wife’s mother over stovetop and oven, that my son has been relegated to his house for more than week so he can be tested and quarantined and allowed back into his old bedroom for a couple of days.

I guess I could complain about people who have not done their share to make this virus die and fly, some who live in big white houses and little small cottages who haven’t felt the human empathy to protect each other with masks and distancing and who sometimes scorn those of us who do.

I guess I could complain that although we in Virginia have done a pretty good job of controlling the virus, our neighbors have not. And our neighbors cross our borders, and vice versa. And the virus restarts itself anew.

I guess I could complain about a lot of this mess that was born of carelessness, fostered by ignorance and enabled by the putridness of politics and moral malpractice.

But I won’t say any more, because this is a week of thanksgiving, and even if the holiday can’t be the same, the principle never should die, never should be infected, never should be put on life-support in our souls.

Never was thanksgiving – the spirit if not the declared holiday — more needed and more hard-earned than this year.

Because I type these words in good health, with the ability to do my job out of harm’s way, with the encouragement of self-protection and the empowerment of trail-blazing processes.

My wife, our children and grandchildren have avoided this plague, even if they mostly have kept under the required quarantine of virtual schools and telecommuting.

I give thanks because my parents are of good health – soundly knock on wood, please – and have been protected by the grace of God from a virus that took their neighbor and threatened many more.

Or that my wife’s parents have been able to do some things if not everything and found new mechanisms for self-improvement and expansion.

Or that no one in our extended family has been infected. Certainly we have friends and acquaintances who have fought with the coronavirus and have known some who have lost. Social media feeds are littered with announcements of positive tests, from the famous to the infamous to the innocent.

There is so much to know and understand about 2020. Its curveballs and knuckleballs and open-field tackles on human spirit are to be chronicled and reviewed probably for the rest of my life.

Like wars begun and ended or incredible accomplishment and powerful tragedy, 2020 has sliced its growth marks into the maturation of mankind. If ever there was a time when life would teach us something new every day, 2020 has been it.

There are another six weeks go in this learning. Before the miracle of mankind’s harnessing of science allows us to shank the shackles brought on by mankind’s ignorance, this also could get worse by orders of magnitude.

Yes, it’s easy to sit here and complain. But it’s more human and exemplary to be thankful.

So thank you to all of you who have sacrificed, to those who have used the science you’ve mastered, to those who have created systems, processes and techniques, to medical professionals who have risked their lives and to the lonely, unnamed individuals who have volunteered their blood to find a cure.

And in final thanks I return to day back in March, when I stood outside a home improvement store, waiting for my wife. I was maskless and not going in, and a man handed me a new mask and liner.

I still wear it religiously. And I still appreciate it.

For that moment, I am thankful.

Doyle is editor of the Register & Bee. Contact him at or 276-638-8801 ext. 245. Follow @StevenLDoyle.

Steven Doyle is Local Editor of the Register & Bee. Contact him at or 276-638-8801 ext. 245. Follow @StevenLDoyle.

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