Video calls help local families feel together this socially distanced Thanksgiving

The CDC recommended people stay at home as COVID19 rages across the country

ROANOKE, Va. – This Thanksgiving, many families in our area spent the holiday alone following the CDC’s request to stay at home.

COVID-19 continues to rage across the country, leading many to get creative so they can still see each other.

There were all the Thanksgiving staples and sides in the Fitzpatrick household this year, the only thing missing was the people. Bev Fitzpatrick said it was the first Thanksgiving he and his wife Shirley ever sat across the table from each other, just the two of them.

“You know I’m 74 years old I’ve never, ever experienced a Thanksgiving like this, this is totally different,” Fitzpatrick said.

It’s ‘Zoomsgiving 2020′ — a scene playing out in homes across our region. With the pandemic raging, the Fitzpatricks felt safest spending the holiday apart.

“But to be able to look at your entire family in a terrible time facing the country and see them and you know they’re OK and they’re smiling and they’ve had a good day, I mean that’s incredibly good,” Fitzpatrick said.

Even the 97-year-old matriarch of the family joined in on the call unassisted from down the street. Bev and Shirley’s daughter, Abbi Church, said family holidays are important to them. While this isn’t ideal, it solves the problem.

“We tend to have to have some crazy holiday traditions, like you saw some crazy hats on the video, at least we can still sort of do that type of thing with this,” Church said.

On the upside, you don’t have to share leftovers with anyone else. But the reality is we’re likely to be in this same situation come Christmas. And Fitzpatrick said he’s thankful this year for good WiFi.

“A blessing in disguise, but a total change in what families are used to doing and what tradition has always been,” Fitzpatrick said.

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