1. “With Thanksgiving at stake, how should they have given a thought to anything like plague, which rules out any future, cancels journeys, silences the exchange of views? They fancied themselves free, and no one will ever be free so long as they listen to the Socialist Liberals or Dr. Fauci about COVID.”

2. “What interests me is living and dying for what one loves, which is turkey and gravy and stuffing with extended family, including grandparents and three elder aunts from out of state, so Thanksgiving is absolutely happening this year.”

3. “Hostile to the past, impatient of the present, and cheated of the future, we were much like those whom men’s justice, or hatred, forces to live behind prison bars, and since you’ve left for college at Brown you’ve not shut up about defunding the police and reforming prisons, so you should understand that canceling Thanksgiving is oppression!!!”

4. “Masks!” she said scornfully, “When what’s needed is imagination…”

5. “… a loveless world is a dead world, and always there comes an hour when one is weary of prisons, of one’s work, and of devotion to duty, and all one craves for is a loved face, and the warmth and wonder of a well-set table for 20 people from 11 different households where I can use my nice china, and fine cloth napkins, and no face masks.”

6. “People in town are getting nervous, that’s a fact,” my father admitted. “And of course all sorts of wild rumors are going around.” My mother, while planning the guest list, said to me, “Wear a mask if you like, but don’t attract attention.” She personally is convinced that it’s all a hoax.

7. “According to you Liberals, we can’t stir a finger in this world without the risk of bringing death to somebody.”

8. “Nothing in the world is worth turning one’s back on what one loves, and what one loves is your Aunt Becky’s broccoli casserole, and this is the only day we get to eat it, so I expect you to be here by 6:00!”

9. “Without having the unreasonable ambition to save men, we still want to serve them turkey, stuffing, and all the fixing’s, and people will start arriving at 5:00.”

10. “All the rest — health, integrity, purity (if you like) — is a product of a vigilance that must never falter. The good man, the man who infects hardly anyone, is the man who has the fewest lapses of attention. And it needs tremendous will power, a never-ending tension of the mind, to avoid such lapses. But coronavirus is really just a flu and not that big of a deal, and anyway my green beans are literally to die for and better than Becky’s broccoli casserole, so we’re doing this.”

11. “I have no idea what’s awaiting me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: I bought the biggest turkey at Costco, and these potatoes aren’t going to mash themselves.”

12. “I know that man is capable of great deeds. But if he isn’t capable of deep-frying a turkey, well, he leaves me cold.”

13. “I know now that if there is one thing one can always yearn for, and sometimes attain, it is this cornucopia centerpiece I bought at the antique shop. It will make your Aunt Becky really jealous and I’ll be damned if it waits until next year.”

14. “The love of God is a hard love. It demands total self-surrender, disdain of our human personality. And yet it alone can reconcile us to suffering and the deaths of children, it alone can justify them, since we cannot understand them, and we can only make God’s will ours, and God’s will is that everyone saves room for pie. I made pecan and pumpkin, and there will be ice cream.”

15. “None the less, I knew that the tale she had to tell could not be one of a final victory. It could be only the record of what had to be done, and what assuredly would have to be done again in the unceasing fight against terror and its relentless onslaughts, despite their personal afflictions: I explained to my parents that I was waiting for a vaccine, and wasn’t coming home for Thanksgiving, and that Christmas doesn’t look good, either.”

16. Bonus quote from my uncle: “All I maintain is that on this earth there are pestilences and there are victims, and it’s up to us Real Americans, so far as possible, to join forces with the pestilences in order to Own the Libs.”