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What are you doing for Thanksgiving

To the Editor:
I’ll bet I’m not the only one wondering what their family is doing for Thanksgiving this year. 
What a wonderful time of the year. Seeing out-of-town relatives for the first time in a while. Sharing great food, drinks and stories. College kids coming home and catching up with high school friends. Everyone packed around the TV for parades and football games. How I’m looking forward to that. We’ve been through enough in 2020 with the pandemic. Don’t we deserve a break? A few weeks of normalcy?  
The answer is yes, we do, but at what cost? Minnesota had 8,700 new confirmed cases of COVID today. That’s 8,700 people trying to figure out who they’ve been in contact with and letting them know. How many families will have to quarantine for 14 days just from this one day. 
My grandsons went to an innocent birthday party last week. One of the youngsters tested positive afterward and all the families involved are now quarantined. No hockey, activities with friends, not to mention how sick they might get, or hospital costs.  
How many of the 8,700 families quarantined will be forced to use up their vacation days or shut down operations? How will businesses be affected by closing for two weeks?
Most of us feel if we get it, we get it and life goes on. Everyone’s heard from a friend who said they had the COVID and it wasn’t that bad.  I’m guessing I’d whine a lot (poor Karen), but come through it fine, so why worry.  Then I know of others my age who ended up in the ER COVID unit for a week and were scared to death. They wouldn’t wish that experience on their worst enemy. If it’s only us to worry about, we can go with our gut and make an emotional or possibly a financial decision on what the family should do or not do for Thanksgiving. That is pretty much where I was at this week until I heard from a few friends.
We have a relative who is an RN being required to work mandatory 12- to 14-hour shifts. Many of those hours are in COVID units, where patients are in life-and-death situations. One of the nurses on her staff quit yesterday. She told her that after her fourth trip to the morgue with dead bodies, she couldn’t take it anymore. With tears she said, “This isn’t what I signed up for.” I can’t imagine the stress of working 12-hour days and putting up with sick individuals/death, with no end in sight. 
Friends of ours have a sick child (non-COVID related) requiring top end care at The Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. This morning he shared that because the beds are full of COVID-related cases, their little guy is at risk of not being able to get the quality of care that he needs.  They’re scared. 
What do we do? We are just little old Rock County. 
Thanksgiving happenings here probably won’t affect The Children’s Hospital. Back in July when the experts set up the college schedule for the fall, they started in August and ended at Thanksgiving. Why? Because they knew that across the country things would start heating up around this time of the year in big cities and small. I think the planners were right. We are not even at Thanksgiving yet and we’re already breaking records for cases in the state. This is going to get much bigger. I’m told the worst is yet to come. 
When I talk to family, part of me feels like The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving. “What do you mean, cancel or curtail lifelong traditions?”
Should we roll the dice, stay with our traditions and hope everyone comes through OK? Is that fair to our essential workers already working 12-hour days or sick little ones who may not be able to get the medical care they need? What about the elderly in our community who worry that a positive test result at their age might result in death? 
It’s up to each of us to decide. This is hard. 
My hope is that we can keep our guard up and not give up. Something Winston Churchill said in a speech in 1942 applies for us today. “It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” We can only hope. 
Blessings to you and your family on a safe Thanksgiving holiday. 
Cary Radisewitz

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