Hotard: Thanksgiving may look different, but some things never change

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Thanksgiving – it’s a time to give thanks, which naturally leads to reflection of the past year.

Last year I wrote of the challenges associated with being grateful for 2020 – a year that presented political unrest, economic instability and of course the coronavirus pandemic. This year, it turns out, would provide even more challenging and unpleasant situations.

As the pandemic wore on and the Delta variant waged war on our country, our very own beloved St. John the Baptist Parish was hit with Hurricane Ida. It’s hard to explain all of the ways that life has changed since then, but unfortunately no explanation is really necessary. You all get it. We went through it together, and unfortunately many of us are still in the thick of it.

This Thanksgiving will be different. Many people in St. John will spend it celebrating in still somewhat unfamiliar places as so many people were forced out of their homes. The food may be different, as finances may not allow for elaborate spreads this year. The gatherings may be smaller, as people are forced to celebrate in hotel rooms, campers or rental homes.

But let me assure you – some things will be the very same. Because Thanksgiving has a whole lot more to do about who you are than where you are or what you eat.

I’m counting on the people of St. John to make sure warm embraces are still shared between family and friends. I’m hoping laughter still fills rooms – no matter the size or location – and I really hope everyone can still enjoy whatever their favorite food or dessert is. Mine is sweet potatoes.

In yet another year of unique challenges, I’m hoping that all of our eyes can scan around the rooms we occupy this week and land on the faces of people we love – the people who have yet again stood by us and helped hold us up during another difficult year.

I’m hoping this year our list of blessings is long – even longer than the pesky list of contents our insurance companies made us fill out.

No matter how hard things have gotten – and no matter how hard they may get – I am proud of the residents and business owners of the parish for their tenacity and determination to not give up. The circumstances we face may never be what we would choose, but I am thankful for the strength you all have shown this year.