There’s still a lot to be worried about right now but some things are beginning to look better. A vaccine is coming and a cruelly uncaring president is going, neither soon enough to save lives or to satisfy the need for immediate change.
January 20 is already bringing with it a breath of fresh air in the character and skill of the incoming team. I know it’s been an awful year, truly awful, but here’s how we are giving thanks for what we have . . .
We are blessed to have each other and are thankful that each day brings new joys and laughter, isolation notwithstanding. Only a few of our friends contracted this virus and we lost Gene Shay, a longtime Philadelphia DJ and a beloved founder of the Philly Folk Festival. Gene was an early casualty, succumbing to complications from COVID, while other friends who’ve had it have recovered. Bob and I remain healthy here in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, inside a somewhat shaky bubble with New Brunswick. Both PEI and and Newfoundland have pulled up the portcullis unless we’re essential. Nova Scotia this morning had 87 active cases, 37 of them new since yesterday, mostly in the Halifax/Central area.
Bob and I will likely curtail our time in public or with friends until the transmission rate goes down. For now, we’ll do food shopping and other necessaries. I fear that if it shows up here, the hospitals will be overwhelmed. Shutting down the island is impossible – we are not a province (and that’s a whole other essay or two) and cannot do it on our own. The only way to protect us is to keep the virus away.
We’ve both had our flu shots and await the vaccine and we have meds to see us into the spring. Of course, we worry about our families and friends in the U.S. They are all sensible and make smart choices for themselves and their families and still we worry about them, just like they worry about us.
This simply isn’t the year for in-person celebrations. Thanksgiving is a gathering I will really miss. We spend holidays with Molly’s goddess-mother and her circle of friends. Each year the people grow more dear and we watch the young ones fledge, grow, and fly away, some to return. This is Molly’s birthday week as well, so I have to temper my missing seeing her in person with my full heart at having such a loving daughter, colleague and friend. Besides, a day when we don’t talk face to face online is rare, and we’ll do so tomorrow as well. We will also gather with the Brookline family tomorrow on Zoom.
Next year, when it’s safe to be in a room together again, we can do the regular holiday thing. This is the year, the awful year that is ending on a much higher note than it began, where we took a long hard look at ourselves and enough people decided (thank you mail-in voting!) to change the channel. That is our gift to each other. We hope the world can continue lurching toward justice. The gracefulness of that dance is not important but the work is. Bob and I can’t do much from here but we are contributing to both Georgia Democrats and to voter registration efforts there. That’s where your Christmas present went, if you’re wondering.
We will be just us two here tomorrow. We bought a local free-range chicken from Glenryan Farm just up the road and I’ll roast that with lemons, limes and garlic cloves. We’ve eaten the potatoes from The Farm in Terre Noire, so we’re having roasted butternut squash and salad. We also have our bread and butter and beet and onion pickles and of course, the applesauce.
Trying to craft a non-dairy dessert with no milk, cream, or butter, I’ve come up with an applesauce almond cake with an almond cinnamon glaze. I think it would work well with almond flour and fine cornmeal in place of the wheat flour but I haven’t tried it. The applesauce is made from our Scotia Gold apple harvest and it’s naturally sweet, so good that we still have a bucket of apples on the screen porch and grab one when we walk through. The recipe has very little oil or sugar in it. Applesauce takes the place of fats and provides sugars and ensures a nice crumb and a moist cake that lasts as long as you can ration yourself. It also freezes well. We made two loaves and froze one to give a friend. Then we ate it. I’ll have to make some more.
Bob and I wish all our friends and families a simple, thoughtful, and thankful holiday. Love you all!