Ken Pollitz: No canceling of Thanksgiving

By Ken Pollitz - Guest Column

Apparently, so I’ve surmised, somewhere in this vast country of ours resides a people group known as the “cancel culture.”

Given our ongoing and restrictive pandemic, I’ve accumulated quite a few unused travel reward points through our credit card. Even as that number grows monthly, I’ve no plans to ever visit such a locale. Not now and not ever!

Bombarded, as we continue to be, by the media, social and otherwise, word is out that Thanksgiving Day is essentially being canceled. Say it isn’t so! Who are these people?

There is no grit on my scalp, and you’ll be pleased to know I haven’t had my head buried in the sand for the past nine months. Rest assured I have been paying close attention to and have endeavored to abide by most every mandate, protocol, safety measure and COVID-19 mitigation order.

Yes, I fully comprehend that this particular holiday has historically been characterized by massive gatherings of innumerable kith and kin who pack themselves like sardines into grandma’s efficiency apartment to indulge in a gargantuan buffet of roast turkey plus all the trimmings. Relatives or not, it may be a bit challenging to socially distance in such a confined setting.

Under normal circumstances, a large segment of the population, after downing the tasty fowl drenched in gravy with a side of mashed potatoes, will jointly engage in a brief pilgrimage to a quaint den or family room for some porcine dessert, which is historically fashioned into the shape of an NFL football. Masks and shields are required for the combatants on the television but are unlikely to be adorned by three cousins and two uncles squeezed shoulder-to-shoulder in grandma’s flowery 1940’s loveseat.

If the intimacies of the gridiron are insufficient and unfulfilling, another opportunity remains. Even the early bird can miss the worm the following day as throngs are lured into a wall-to-wall shopping spree for Black Friday basement-bargains at local department stores and malls.

Understandably, given the meteoric rise of positive cases for the virus, the massive quarantining, and the health care workers and facilities pushed to the breaking point, in 2020 in appears history will not exactly be repeating itself come the Thanksgiving holidays next week.

Conversations in preparation for this cherished assemblage have turned attention away from who’s planning to bring the sweet potato casserole or pumpkin pie to who’s not coming and this is the reason why! Varying forms of a Thanksgiving are heating up in the virtual oven as we speak.

Discouraging news runs rampant, worry is daily distributed, and questions are continually compounding as they are confounding.

Undaunted by this fateful reality, I choose to herald that Thanksgiving must go on in spite of this pervasive pandemic.

Yes, for a variety of reasons, our turkey-day place settings have unfortunately been reduced to an intimate table for two, my wife and me. Nevertheless, I trust you’ll join me with your full participation and pursuit of an essential 2020 Thanksgiving, or shall I say, thanks giving.

Starting along the order of the mundane, I’m thankful to find bottles of hand sanitizer available in every room of our house, every vehicle we own, and in every carry-out restaurant we visit. Additionally, I am thoroughly appreciative that I have now garnered a broad array of face masks to match every dress shirt I have in my closet, every color of the varying seasons of the Church Year Calendar, and almost every local sports team, though I haven’t been to any game for months.

Who hasn’t come to appreciate the alternate forms of greeting created by this pandemic, namely the novel fist, elbow or forearm bumps?

More seriously, I am thankful, even though three of our children have contracted the virus, all are recovering. Should one of those most unwanted tests prove positive, who isn’t grateful to those many and varied front-line healthcare workers in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and urgent care centers that come to our aid.

Separated as many are from loved ones in long-term care facilities, we remain thankful to know those who labor inside, with measurable risks, do so with great compassion and genuine love.

Always urging an increasing proportion of our population to make the necessary sacrifices inherent in the mandates and guidelines to mitigate or maybe even eradicate this virus, and I continue to be extremely thankful for those leading the way.

And finally, who isn’t thankful for the exhaustive and determined efforts by scientists, epidemiologists, chemists, pharmacists and many others, that are racing toward the development of a viable vaccine.

Should that day ever arrive, we’ll truly have Thanksgiving Day anew!

By Ken Pollitz

Guest Column

Ken Pollitz moved to Ottawa in 1991 as mission-developer/pastor of New Creation Lutheran Church. His biweekly column provides insights and viewpoints from Putnam County. Contact him at

Ken Pollitz moved to Ottawa in 1991 as mission-developer/pastor of New Creation Lutheran Church. His biweekly column provides insights and viewpoints from Putnam County. Contact him at

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