by Elsa Maxey
In Fort Bend County as in many other places, gatherings during the holidays is a time to reconnect with family and friends. This week’s sacred American tradition, Thanksgiving, will have been non-traditional for many.
But we’ll still be connecting. Ever had a Zoom Thanksgiving? I’m not sure how we’ll handle passing the gravy or whether we will, but I will be in one of those, and the gathering will probably run over 40 minutes.
But not to fear, the 40-minute, free-meetings time limit on Zoom for Thanksgiving Day has been generously extended by the tech company as a thank you to its customers, like the many nonprofit and service organizations in Fort Bend availing themselves of the service that has helped keep them operational.
So, for those without a Zoom paid account, their loved ones – near and far not getting together this year – can celebrate as a group over the internet without their time being cut short. What’s even better is that the participant limit on the free Zoom account, typically used for meetings, is 100 guests. Why, this Thanksgiving may turn out to be one of the largest family and friends’ gatherings for a virtual and informal hangout!
Health experts told us: Expect festivities to look very different this year. They saw many traditional events along the lines of Sugar Land’s Red, White and Boom Fourth of July go virtual as did other national celebrations during the year. So, we’re prepared for “different” for what’s left of 2020, the mostly bad-news year.
One thing is for sure this Thanksgiving. In our own non-virtual settings, we will probably have fewer people gathering, especially inside homes because of the pandemic and its expected case rise in the making. Some will have probably taken their traditional dinners outdoors, like my friend, Mary, over at Lake Pointe Parkway in Sugar Land. She’s hosting family members outdoors overlooking a beautiful lake in her backyard in what otherwise could seem a repressive time. She even bought new patio furniture expansive enough to celebrate more safely because of its generous design.
Like so many of us, Mary is focusing on extra precautions in line with CDC guidelines, but her family’s Thanksgiving observance really can’t be described as a bummer, subdued or even low key. How can that be with turkey, sides, pie and even laughter? The occasion, however, changed from a traditional gathering to a different kind where she may not have seen all her loved ones at one time.
But what she did see as did the rest of us are indications of the many dedicated front-line workers, first responders, the essential workers still on the job, even as we paused for the holiday. They are the backbone of the community, an essential piece, working for all of us. And for this, we are grateful on Thanksgiving and every day.