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Thanksgiving: Technology Continues to Inspire our Gatherings

Thanksgiving 2020 is here. Thoughts and feelings about choosing a traditional family gathering versus a prospective virtual gathering continue to be prevalent in our minds. We wisk out to the stores (now with our masks), with our long lists of foods and ingredients in anticipation of a rich and rewarding holiday with friends and loved ones. We even plan our times of virtual visits with loved ones from afar, or even those unable to attend because of work or sickness. Whatever setting we choose for our preparation and planning for Thanksgiving remains the same, right? It is no different now that we are facing a pandemic. The Thanksgiving feast, and all holidays for that matter, has and will always consist of somehow including loved ones who are unable to attend.

Rotary Dial Phones to Face-Time – What a Transition!

In my memories of growing up as 1st generation daughter of Italian/French immigrants, I can still see my parents, my sisters, or me, dialing that beige, clunky rotary phone, over and over again, to connect with loved ones overseas. Dialing that long, 12-digit phone number with consisted of the international 001 code, 2-digit county code, and 6-digit phone number – imagine that on a rotary dial phone! My dad was usually the first to dial, and I can still remember him announcing, ''ok – I'm gonna call Italy.'' We all knew that this was going to be a day-long event. The look on dads face said it all, while saying multiple times throughout the day, '' seems like the international lines are still busy – I can't get through.'' Sometimes we would have to repeatedly dial for hours to get through to family overseas – but we just kept trying. We would take turns dialing, preparing the meal, eating and even watch the person dialing the phone hoping that this time the line would go through. Then we would finally hear: ''Its ringing!! Its ringing!!'' Our giggles would turn to hushes and envy as the person who finally got through would be the 1st to talk to the family overseas. Our faces would light up with joy and excitement when it was our turn to talk to our beloved family – even if for a few brief minutes. We would continue to eat and talk quietly amongst ourselves, but wishing deeply in our empty hearts that we could all be together.

So much has changed in just a few short decades, hasn't it? With the touch of a button or quick voice command, we can see our loved ones from across the globe on that bright, shiny screen – no more waiting for clogged telephone lines, tedious finger dialing, or just hearing a voice across the waves. We can see one another! Although the pandemic continues to impact our lives in ways never anticipated, one thing still hasn't changed – we still continue to communicate with our friends and family and continue to find innovative strategies to be together. From face-timing while completing the holiday shopping list to having virtual visits and dinners with loved ones in the military, the advances in technology have and will continue to help us navigate through these times of uncertainty.

We have a lot to be thankful for every day, but particularly the opportunity to connect with those we love through communications technology. Whatever way you choose to spend your Thanksgiving, traditional or virtually, I wish you the warmest and happiest of thoughts for you and your family.



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