In no particular order here’s a shortlist of what I’m grateful this year for Thanksgiving:
1. Medical and public health professionals across the globe who work tirelessly in this devastating pandemic, including my cousin in Michigan who works with some of the most disadvantaged individuals at a state hospital and my bestie Shana, here in Kalispell, who puts her own health, and the health of her family at risk tending to high-risk patients.
2. Speaking of doctors, thanks to the doctors who can still provide treatment and a much-needed laugh after multiple trips to the ER this year (file under: wild preschooler and sometimes clumsy husband).
3. Stamps, pens, notebooks, stationary and postcards: letters sent, mail received with love. Staying in touch has never been so important.
4. Traditions and prayers that don’t change like Friday night Shabbat dinners and observances celebrated via Zoom like Passover and Rosh Hashanah.
5. Socially distant neighborhood happy hour. It began in those cold days of spring, when we bleached our groceries and kept our mail in quarantine and continues, week after week, no matter the weather. We still keep at least six feet apart, yet continue to stay connected during this crisis.
6. Bibliotherapy. Yes, this is a real thing and if you need a reading prescription to get you through 2020, go online and check out the Novel Cure. You won’t be sorry. My “to-be-read” list is even longer but I’ve got a script for some great reads to help me plow through these long, dark days.
7. A brother, who, after two decades, lives in the same city as me. Added bonus, his lovely wife is here too.
8. Two beautiful, healthy children who still don’t sleep through the night but love to play outside for hours, imaginations running wild as rivers, and continue to teach me the joyful ache of parenting. (See also: Socially distant neighborhood happy hours, also required for parenting wee ones during a pandemic).
9. Seasons in Montana. From the blush of spring blossoms to the sun kissed waters of summer, and now the first snowflakes of the season – nature provides a much-needed balm, pandemic or not.
10. The kindness of strangers. Masking up, helping others, showing thoughtfulness, courage and creativity during these challenging times. Whether it’s the friendly hello on the sidewalk or the concert online, I’m grateful that humans connect despite being apart.
From my family to yours, have a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving.
Maggie Doherty is the owner of Kalispell Brewing Company on Main Street.
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