A Zoom Thanksgiving: Do we still gobble gobble?

Corazon Reyes, RN. Photo by John Gaddi; Cecile Ochoa

By Cristina DC Pastor

As the dust of the November 3 election settles – whether the president is newly elected or reelected — Americans will soon dive into the  next most important debate: How to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has provided a preview of how some families will be celebrating the holidays: apart from each other. He, for one, is skipping the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with family gathered around a well stuffed turkey, concerned about his children traveling in a time of public health crisis. Their children are worried about his health as well. A decision was reached, according to reports:  Fauci’s daughters said, “We want you and mommy to have a nice, quiet dinner…Maybe have a neighbor next door that always comes over the house that you know that’s negative, and we’ll send our love via Zoom.”

Thanksgiving dinner via Zoom

L.A. County Program Manager Cecile Ochoa had her family’s Thanksgiving feast all figured out. Keeping health protocols in mind, the Ochoas plan to still gather their brood of three sons and two daughters-in-law in their North Hollywood home “socially distancing within the big room divided by dining, den and living rooms,” she said.

“The brothers may later bond at the porch of our 1947 home probably sharing a beer or two, maybe a ‘tagay’ of Jameson.”

The Ochoas of California plan to socially distance all across the family dining room, den, and living room. Photo by Maria Bunag Ochoa

Socializing may be limited to two to three hours, she continued.

“Some (family members) work outside the home and thus we’re ensuring no one is bringing possible contamination at home. Both Dante (Cecile’s husband) and I are of age with underlying medical conditions and so the kids are always extra careful. We always wear masks when seeing each other but of course at dinner time those masks are removed. That’s the plan so far.”

The plan is a work in progress as the Ochoas await inputs from the in-laws. “We haven’t heard from the wives’ families who of course would want to spend some time with my sons’ spouses. It could be staggered visits between our home and the in-laws’ places,” she said.

Cecile, the editor-publisher of The FilAm L.A.,  feels “weird” that she is not feeling especially festive at this time when the pandemic has claimed several thousands of lives. With vaccines still under development, there does not seem to be any reason for celebrating.  But the family tradition will go on.

“The boys are used to these get-togethers and I hate to dampen their spirit,” she said. “I’m seeing them more often during this pandemic and I guess it’s because either they want to be assured of our wellness or this isolation is getting to them.”

The Reyes family of New York, New Jersey, and California.

Retired corporate nurse Corazon “Corge” Reyes sees the family Thanksgiving will be scaled down and possibly celebrated apart from each other — the Fauci way. “What used to be a happy occasion is now curtailed due to COVID. We’ll now just go to Zoom from wherever my children are,” she said.

For the Reyeses of Manhattan, Thanksgiving used to be a “big” event with sons from New Jersey and a daughter from California – and their families — coming together for a weekend at their Upper West Side home, grandchildren sprawled out all over the house.

“My daughter usually cooks the turkey. I never learned how to do it,” she said.

Much of the food is catered but the most important thing for Corge was the entire family joined at the table saying grace and giving thanks for the year that just passed.

“Life has changed so much in this pandemic but I like it in a way,” she said as if in meditation. “Subdued, relaxed at home, a walk in the park with no make-up, there’s a time for everything and no need to hurry. Parang 1950s.”

(C) The FilAm 2020

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