I have all my food supplies ready to cook a Thanksgiving feast: the vegan stuffed turkey-ish roast with gravy, pumpkin pie ingredients, corn, green beans and canned cranberry sauce. For the first time after years of cooking at home, I have a bag of potatoes I will mash myself. I don’t know how I became an adult without ever mashing potatoes, but here we are.

This year, I am hosting a Thanksgiving feast just for myself. Or, as I like to say, a party of three: me, myself and I. It makes it sound less lonely, and I’m not stopping my corny jokes cold turkey in this pandemic.

I usually do Thanksgiving with members of my adopted family here in Pittsburgh: my best friend, Connie, her siblings and nephews, their spouses and their kids. We live in the same metropolitan area, and three of us, including both me and Connie, live alone.

Well, technically, I live with my cats and fish, but Anthony S. Fauci lives in my head (I know I’m not the only one), and if he’s not seeing his three adult daughters for Thanksgiving, I surely can stay home and Zoom like Fauci as the coronavirus case count explodes. In Pennsylvania, new case counts are near 7,000 some days, more than triple what they were in the spring.

So, while we’re on the subject of Fauci and there’s no one here to judge me, I have a big mask collection — lots of designs — and I color-coordinate my daily mask to my outfit. I have several with autumn and Thanksgiving designs. I might wear one on Thanksgiving just because it’s a cute accessory.

Do I feel sad this year? I do. But it’s not just about Thanksgiving. I will most certainly spend Christmas, New Year’s Eve and my January birthday by myself. That’s not going to stop me from celebrating. I will cook, and I’m setting up a fall table with leaf and gourd decorations and a sweet pecan pie candle. I will watch my all-time favorite Thanksgiving movies from childhood, including “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “Garfield’s Thanksgiving.” I’ll also watch the pared-down pandemic version of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Connie and I will text throughout the day and send each other photos of our food as it comes out of the oven. I’m definitely sending her a picture of my mashed potatoes. Her family and I will Zoom either before or after dinner. Then, Connie and I will have our own video chat where we’ll say “1 … 2 … 3 … go!” and we’ll eat pumpkin pie for dessert, virtually together. It’s not the same, but we’ll take it.

I also plan to call several other friends and family members in far-flung places, say “happy Thanksgiving” and tell them why I am thankful for them. I will spend a lot of time in quiet prayer and reflection, thanking God for the gift of life and the many good things in it, despite these awful, lonely circumstances.

Who knows, maybe there is something to this stripped-down approach to a gratitude-based holiday. We won’t be preoccupied with cooking or getting ready for guests. I think at the dinner table, people are more focused on the company than on the spirit. That won’t be a problem for me this year. It’s an all-spirit year.

Also on the bright side: Wow, do we have something to look forward to next year! I learned this concept three Christmases ago, when my mother died shortly before the holiday, and we forgot all about our usual fun Christmas rituals to deal with grief and plan a funeral. Missing my favorite things made them even sweeter and more special the following year.

I’m trying to look at this with a glass half-full of gravy. But as you can probably tell, it’s painful to be alone when you’re an extrovert. I’m thankful that I love a cozy evening at home on the couch this time of year, wearing fuzzy pajamas, watching TV and cuddling with my kitties. That really is a good thing, because I have lots of those evenings.

I love people and being around people, and for that very reason, I’m staying away from everyone this year.

I hope you’re doing the same. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I wish you the best, and see you next year. I’ll bring the mashed potatoes.

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