Thanksgiving — Celebrate What Made You Happy In 2021

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? This year we’ve been bombarded with so much news of mean things, scary things, alarming things. Thanksgiving is a day set aside to remember and celebrate the things that made us happy. What made you happy in 2021? What made you laugh? Let us celebrate happiness in 2021.

Conversations with Aunt Gloria

Having my ninety-something-year-old Aunt Gloria still with us makes me happy. Remembering these conversations with her makes me laugh. I’m thankful that she’s with us, still ornery, still funny, and still dancing.

October 7 — Happy Birthday?

*Phone ringing — brrrrrrring!*

Gloria: Hello.

Me: Hello, Aunt Gloria. Happy birthday!

Gloria, yelling: Who is this?!

Me, yelling: It’s Ruthi!

Gloria: Who?

Me, louder: Your niece, RUTHI!

Gloria: Who are you? What do you want?

Me: I called to say happy birthday.

Gloria: I don’t know you. I’m old. Why are you bothering me?


celebrate happiness in 2021

October 19 — A Visit with Aunt Gloria and Linda (Aunt Gloria’s daughter)

*Hugs are given all around.*

Gloria: Come in the kitchen. I made coffee cake.

Me: Aunt Gloria, you look beautiful. Is that a new dress?

Gloria: What?

Me: Your dress. Is it new?

Gloria: Linda picked it out. I don’t like it. It’s drab. I don’t know why she picks out dull colors for me. I like bright colors. She made me give away all my six-inch heels last year. Now she makes me dress in dull colors — like she’s getting ready to bury me.

Linda: You were right there in the store. You said you liked the dress. And you said you were afraid you’d fall in those heels.

Gloria: It’s alright. I put a scarf with it so people don’t think I’m dead and bury me.

happiness in 2021

Me, laughing: Aunt Gloria, nobody could mistake you for dead! You’re wonderful. I love you.

Gloria: Why don’t you ever call me if you love me so much? I guess you’re too busy.

Me: I do call you. I called you last Friday.

Gloria: Linda, why didn’t you tell me?

Me: You answered the phone. Linda wasn’t there. You couldn’t hear me.

Gloria: My hearing aids don’t work. I can’t hear a thing.

Me: I know. You said you didn’t know me and hung up.

Gloria: Well, call me anyway.

Linda: I’m taking her to get new hearing aids next week.

Me: That’s good news, Aunt Gloria. But you have to wear them so when I call you can hear me.

October 31 — Happy Halloween?

*Phone ringing — brrrrrrring!*

Gloria: Hello?

Me: Hi, Aunt Gloria. Happy Halloween.

Gloria: What? Who is this?

Me, shouting: Ruthi!

Gloria: Who?

Me: Your niece, Ruthi!

Gloria: I don’t know you. What do you want?

Me: To say I love you. May I talk to Linda?

Gloria: There’s no Randy here.

Me: No. Linda, your daughter.

Gloria: I don’t know any Randy. Stop bothering me!


celebrate 2021

November 8 — I Don’t Know Any Bruce!

*Phone ringing — brrrrrrring!*

Nurse: Hello.

Me: This is Gloria’s niece, Ruthi. Is she awake?

Gloria, yelling in the background: Who is it?!

Nurse: It’s Ruthi.

Gloria, yelling: Hang up! I don’t know any Bruce. It’s probably one of those people who call all the time. They want to buy my house and put me on the street. Tell them to put it in the mail.

Nurse, yelling: No. It’s your niece, Ruthi.

Gloria: Rita? Why’s she bothering me? I never liked her. She’s always got some new ailment. Tell her I’m dead.

Nurse to me: I think you should try again when Linda’s home.


November 25 — A Visit with Aunt Gloria on Thanksgiving Morning

*I walk into Gloria’s house and we hug.*

Gloria: You’re early. Dinner’s not till two.

Me: I wanted to see you for Thanksgiving but I can’t stay for dinner. I’m going to Florida.

Gloria: That’s good. It’s warm there. There’ll be too many people here anyway.

Me: I brought something for you. I found this Frank Sinatra record and I remembered you have a record player, so I got it for you.

Gloria: I have that one already, but it’s okay. Mine is scratched. Come in here. I’ll play it.

*Plays record at top volume.*

Gloria: Come on. Get up and dance with me.

*We dance. She leads.*

Me: Aunt Gloria, you’ve still got it!

Gloria: You bet I do.

Me: I have to get to the airport. I’ll call you – I wish you could hear me. When are you getting your new hearing aids?

Gloria: I got them. But I never wear them. They’re a nuisance.

Me: Please wear them. I like to talk with you. The last time I called, the nurse answered. She told you I was on the phone, but you thought she said it was Rita.

Gloria: Rita? Why would she call me?

Me: To talk? I saw her when I was in New York. She asked about you.

Gloria: I never liked her. She was sour.

Me: She’s one of the few people left from when you were a girl. You could talk about old times.

Gloria: I was popular. I had boyfriends and went out. She couldn’t get a date. She couldn’t even get a date to her prom. Her brother had to pay my brother to take her.

Me: Rita’s heart is not good. She’s been in the hospital.

Gloria: That’s Rita! Always something wrong with her. To hear her tell it she’s been at death’s door for the past 50 years. And, honestly, I never liked her. She never smiled. That’s why she couldn’t get a date.

Me: I have to go. I’ll call you, so wear your hearing aids!

Gloria: Tell me when you’re going to call, and I’ll put them in.

Me: Bye, Aunt Gloria. I love you lots.

Gloria, blowing kisses: I love you. Call me. And use hand sanitizer on the plane. Those things are full of germs.

November 29 — The Cycle Continues

*Phone ringing — brrrrrrring!*

Gloria: Hello. Who is this?

Me: It’s Ruthi, Aunt Gloria.

Gloria: Who? Talk louder. I can’t hear you.

Me, yelling: Ruthi!

Gloria: Who?

Me, louder: Ruthi, your niece.

Gloria: I can’t hear you. What do you want?

Me: Just to tell you I love you.

Gloria: I don’t know you. I’m old. Why are you bothering me?


I’m thankful for Thanksgiving, an annual reminder to stop, ignore the noise coming from the mean things, scary things, alarming things, and haters, and celebrate the happy events in our lives and the people who make our lives more secure, fun, and love-filled. Happy Thanksgiving.

By Ruthi Birch

November 16, 2021