Sometimes writing is cathartic.
Sometimes I write to get my thoughts out, to see them, to order them.
Sometimes I don’t know what I am thinking and by writing, it just sort of…comes out.
This column is one of the latter occasions.
The changes to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade have had a profound impact on me.
There will be a parade. There will be no spectators.
There will be balloons, but the groups of handlers will be replaced by trucks.
The musical stars will be there (most of them prerecorded), but the high school marching bands that have saved and practiced so long for a once in a lifetime event will not.
Santa will be there, but the children won’t.
This year has been a dumpster fire, I think we can all agree. We have lost so much — time, money, jobs, security, events, some of us have even lost loved ones.
We have become accustomed to it. The losses have stopped surprising us. At least, that’s what I thought.
But this one hurt and I don’t know why.
The Thanksgiving Day Parade was a staple at my house.
As a family, we would get up early on Thanksgiving.
My father would often go hunting and my mother would put the large bird, which had been in the sink or the fridge for at least a day, into a large electric roaster. She would go back to bed, but my sister and I were up. Because it was a long break, we usually stayed up late and often slept on the living room floor.
By the time the parade was on, my father was back, but tired again. My mother was up, but tired again. My sister and I were still up and still tired.
The whole family would sit down and watch the parade. Smells of turkey and pies filled the air. My dad would smell of “outside.” The warmth of the oven and the mid-morning sun coming into the room made it cozy. My father would make silly comments about the band uniforms or the dancers or the people escorting the balloons. My sister and I liked the floats and the singers.
My mom would be in and out and as she tended to food, but was always there to see Santa arrive on the parade’s final float.
Because it would be hours before we ate, there was no real rush.
And so, like no other time of the year, with the possible exception of A Charlie Brown Christmas, my family sit and relax and just be together.
Thanksgiving is a very sensory day, especially when paired with a parade, and all those senses locked in memories.
There will still be a Thanksgiving Day Parade this year, but it won’t be the same.
We will change and we will adapt. We will get used to our new normal. Our children won’t know any different and they will make their own memories around new experiences and new traditions.
There will still be a Thanksgiving Day Parade this year, but it won’t be the same. Maybe, nothing will.
-Mac Cordell is a reporter for the Journal-Tribune.
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