A season of thanks giving

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Before November wraps up, most of us are looking forward to commemorating Thanksgiving. For the past two years, this month — personally — has had its share of ups and downs.

During 2019, three friends and I were ecstatic to have taken a safe, fun-filled trip to The Big Apple. Debbie, Gail, Beverly and I felt very fortunate to score tickets and reservations to some of the top billings in New York City.

Prior to the pandemic — when studios were opened — producers from the set of “Live! with Kelly and Ryan” actually seated us four on the front row — just feet away from the cohosts’ anchor table. Gail was shocked to have Kelly Ripa sit in her lap between commercial breaks; I had an opportunity to shake the hands of each guest as they made their way onto the stage; and Debbie had the chance to chat up Helen Mirren.

It was also in November, 2019, that we had a bird’s eye view on the “Good Morning America” set. We were thrilled to have our photos taken with its morning newscasters. In addition, Robin Roberts took the time to record a personal, inspirational message on Gail’s cellphone for her sister, Teresa, who — like Robin — is a cancer survivor.

The four of us had also secured tickets to the “Dr. Oz Show.” Audience members are always seated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Unfortunately, we had been temporarily detained at our hotel — arriving only minutes after the studio audience members were ushered inside. The entrance had been closed when network associates apologetically told us we’d arrived only a few minutes too late.

Feeling a tinge of disappointment, we huddled around — trying to decide what to do and to determine our next steps. Thankfully, one of the TV assistants saw how distraught we were, walked over, informed us they’d make an exception and allowed us entry into the taping.

During the pre-production warmups, Beverly even won a trivia contest before we were ushered, again, to the front row on the “Dr. Oz Show.” To our astonishment, the featured guest that day happened to be one of our teen heartthrobs, Leif Garrett.

It was during that November excursion that we were extremely grateful for admission to the coveted Blue Box Cafe inside of Tiffany’s. Debbie and I had attempted to obtain reservations to the cafe for two consecutive weeks to no avail. The moment time slots were made accessible online, they’d notoriously fill up within minutes of opening. Finally scoring reservations for this exclusive restaurant for breakfast at Tiffany’s was one of the highlights of that autumnal trip to New York City. What was even more special was celebrating all three of my friends’ November birthdays — ironically all taking place within one week of each other.

What we hadn’t planned in November was Gail and I returning home with COVID-like symptoms — even before the coronavirus outbreak had been announced in the nation. We were thankful for the time we shared and our arriving home safely, and even more grateful to finally recover from the lengthy, upper respiratory virus.

Fast forwarding one year to November, 2020, when three of our four immediate family members tested positive for COVID. Despite all the safeguarding, mask-wearing and sanitizing, we contracted the coronavirus from my husband’s coworker who’d reported to work presenting symptoms. Unlike him and my daughter who were both asymptomatic, I presented symptoms of fever, chills, extreme malaise, and loss of smell and taste.

Last year’s Thanksgiving met with a few challenges — the kids had admirably prepared a five-course, huge feast just after my having completed the dreaded, two-week quarantine. Despite all the scrumptious-looking food and all the fixings, I couldn’t taste or smell a thing — bummer.

This year is going to be different. As Thanksgiving is encroaching, we are truly grateful that we are all alive, well, COVID-free, and ready to partake in our annual Thanksgiving luncheon.

And, like Charles Dickens once implored, we plan to “reflect upon our present blessings — of which every [person] has many — and not on our past misfortunes.” As we celebrate Thanksgiving in two short days, may we all put aside any misfortunes — focusing on all of our God-given blessings during this bountiful season of thanks giving.

Kim Lambert is a former reporter with The Daily Record and former editor of The Angier Independent.

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