From the Pastor: My Virtual Thanksgiving
Although last week I wrote a tongue in cheek “not much to be thankful for this year” article, you all know that I really have had too many blessings from God to count. One of the biggest blessings is family. Not the normal type of family. Not the Norman Rockwell type of family. Certainly, not the perfect family. But a crazy family keeps things from being boring. Or so my sister recently told me, not realizing that I would soon be quoting her! My crazy family Thanksgiving story is about to begin, so sit down for a spell. Remember, as always, that due to early bulletin publication printing deadlines during the holidays, I had to write this before our office closed for this feast day.
It has been a while since any of us had seen Aunt Irma, what with the covid panic and all. The only news she gets is from the Communist News Network and her online news”paper” subscription, so every day she hears and reads with growing terror about the daily “Record Cases” count and number of “deaths with covid associations.” In her mind, as planned by the great powers, of course, every “case” equates to a new, gory death. She is proud to proclaim her support for the censorship being done by NotYouTube, Tweeter, and Farcebook, which keeps her safe from hearing “conspiracy theorists” asking such things as “Where did the flu go?” and “Is the efficacy of increasing Vitamin D and decreasing excess weight being ignored because the powers that be cannot make millions of dollars selling a ‘miracle cure vaccine’ if something simple and cheap works?” or doctors quoting actual CDC studies about the futility of wearing masks, or even people simply quoting from the WHO website about how contact tracing doesn’t help stop the spread of viruses after the first few weeks that they are unleashed and lockdowns do nothing except prolong the course of the infection and destroy lives beyond what the virus does. She is, of course, terrified of breathing, speaking, singing, and touching. So it was a shock when she accepted my sister’s invitation to come and spend Thanksgiving with the rest of the family!
She wasn’t very forthcoming but she simply stated that she had heard of a new technology that would allow her to remain safe. We were all taking bets about what kind of protective devices she was going to show up with. I bet that she would show up with a hazmat suit and N100 mask. My brother figured that she would be decked out with a deep-sea diver’s full getup including a long oxygen hose which would, pumped full from a clean source of air outside (maybe on the roof so that nobody would be able to stand next to it and breathe), be dragged throughout the house, snaking after her wherever she went. Mom guessed, feeling a little cheeky just then, that Aunt Irma would wear one of the old “stork masks” that people wore during the Black Death plague, insinuating that she may just be old enough to have saved hers! As you can imagine, our guesses just got silly from there. But we were all wrong. Further wrong than backward, if that is possible.
Aunt Irma hadn’t yet arrived on Thanksgiving Day when the festivities got underway. We were doing a wine tasting with various appetizers that had been set out. We had a bourbon barrel aged pinot grigio paired with ghost pepper poppers, a white cabernet sauvignon accompanying pumpkin spiced stone crab claws, and a 1934 Dom Perignon mutually benefitting some exquisite Ketchup flavored Doritos from Canada. My brother-in-law was just about to put the spiral ham into the deep fryer and his turkrabbeapig (like a turducken but this turkey was stuffed with a rabbit which was stuffed with a guinea pig) was nearing perfection in the smoker. We had just about given up on Aunt Irma when in she burst. She wore no mask, no gloves, no protective gown, no goggles. Just regular old-lady-imitating-a-teenager clothes. She was struggling with a rather awkward box and asked everyone to hold their breath and come quickly to help her distribute the goodies inside. It was full of small electronic tablets, one for everyone. They weren’t early Christmas gifts, she explained, but rather safety devices to protect her from us and us from her and from each other so that none of us could catch the covid. She couldn’t exactly explain it, she said, but we had to trust her and follow her directions. We each powered on our tablet and then signed in to Zuum. “This,” she nearly squealed, “is the greatest medical miracle thing. Public service announcement ads keep telling us that we can have a fun and safe Thanksgiving if we just Zuum with each other. They say businesses are doing it all the time now to keep their employees safe and we can do it as a family, too!”
So this is how we spent the rest of the day. We each held our tablet and, whenever we wanted to speak with or listen to Aunt Irma we had to look at her image on our tablet to safely converse, even if she were sitting right next to us. She was convinced that somehow this electronic Zuum thingy zapped the virus and kept us all safe. Maybe it was just the wine, but we haven’t laughed as much since covid was created as we did Zuuming the rest of the day. And now we know we will see Aunt Irma for Christmas, too!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka