Constable: Pandemic can't curb this cornucopia of thanks for family

  • Pandemic precautions weren't as stringent over the summer when Will, left, Ross, center, and Ben all made it home to celebrate their mom's birthday.

      Pandemic precautions weren't as stringent over the summer when Will, left, Ross, center, and Ben all made it home to celebrate their mom's birthday. Burt Constable | Staff Photographer

  • In the summer, when bike rides along the lake were permitted, Ben, left, Ross, center, and Will got some brother bonding time.

    In the summer, when bike rides along the lake were permitted, Ben, left, Ross, center, and Will got some brother bonding time. Courtesy of Cheryl terHorst

  • Beginning in March, the pandemic put restraints on the gathering of brothers Ross, left, Ben, center, and Will, but the "bros" found a way to be together in the online world of "Super Smash Bros Melee."

    Beginning in March, the pandemic put restraints on the gathering of brothers Ross, left, Ben, center, and Will, but the "bros" found a way to be together in the online world of "Super Smash Bros Melee." Courtesy of Cheryl terHorst

 
 
Posted11/26/2020 6:00 AM

This Thanksgiving -- with masks, physical distancing and plans to gather around an outside fire pit -- we are hosting the smallest gathering we've ever had for what is my favorite holiday. But while 2020 has canceled many of our plans and given us plenty of unexpected hardships, this Thanksgiving still serves up a cornucopia of thanks.

On Thanksgiving 25 years ago, my wife, Cheryl, gave birth to twin boys, setting in motion a parental pilgrimage that remains the greatest joy of our lives and now includes sons Ross, Ben and Will. As it has done on every Thanksgiving since, this column offers a full plate of reasons I need to give thanks. This year, I am thankful for:

 

• The safe practices, frequent testing and blind luck that have kept our immediate family safe from the coronavirus so far.

• The good fortune that has allowed filmmaker Ross to keep working gigs in Los Angeles, teacher Ben to deal with seventh-grade math classes online in Boston, and student Will to be nearing the end of his senior year at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.

• The fun we had eating as a family at our favorite Thai restaurant in March without the realization that it would be the last time we ate in a restaurant for the year.

• The way Ben transitioned from a new experience in a New Orleans school, where he moved without knowing anyone, to his new job in Boston, where he moved without knowing anyone.

• The way Will calmly reacted to the cancellation of his summer volunteer experience in India by finding an online mindfulness meditation teacher training course.

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• The way Ross got his brothers excited with news that he was editing music videos by Trippie Redd, which sent his parents on an online search to see who that was.

• The way Ross got our family excited with news that he was flying to Minneapolis to work on a music concert starring Omar Apollo at the Paisley Place venue that was once the home and studio of Prince, an artist already familiar to his parents.

• The way all three boys make time for socially distanced visits with Grandpa Paul when they are in town, and still bring up memories of fun times with Grandma Lois, Grandma Jean, Grandpa Willy and Uncle Bill.

• The unexpected enjoyment from family Zoom meetings that span four states and three time zones.

• The realization that with Will celebrating his 21st birthday unexpectedly at home, all our boys are fully recognized adults.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• The joy of having all three sons vote in three different states and cheering that moment over Zoom after the results rolled in.

• The way our disappointment at missing our annual time at Fountain Park Chautauqua because of the pandemic turned into a really fun family dance party at home celebrating the birthday of my beautiful wife, Cheryl, who can still bust a move.

• The way our lockdown has reminded me that Cheryl and I really like being together, whether we're taking daily walks, going on bicycle trips or just binge-watching from the couch.

• The way the boys' roughhousing that shattered the dining room light has morphed into a funny memory and a new light with more cloth and less glass.

• The maneuvering required for Will to make it to the 25th birthday celebration for Ross and Ben.

• The way Ben uses running, biking and playing the oboe to raise his spirits during this pandemic.

• The way Will not only has us eating a delicious vegan meal for Thanksgiving but also is doing the bulk of the cooking.

• The ways my wife and I fantasize about family trips we want to take when life finally allows such things.

As our family celebrates today, we hope you and yours can compose a similar list for which to give thanks.

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