By the time you read this, Thanksgiving will have gone by and Christmas will be on its way.  While these and other traditional religious and cultural holidays happen every year, the 2020 holidays are likely to feel quite different. While retirement and relocation may have led to adjustments in family holiday get-togethers, the coronavirus adds a new complexity to the mix. With the virus at an all-time high level throughout the country and the death rate in- creasing over 9% as of this writing, I will stay here, and my family will stay up north for the holidays. It will make our next family gathering even more exciting to look forward to and enjoyable. This adjustment may be easier for my family because my whole adult life consisted of the military and public safety. In these careers, holidays, anniversaries, birthdays often had to be celebrated on a day different from the actual day. We all adjusted and made the best of it.

Still, this is the time of year when we should reflect on our blessings. And, at least for my family, we have many things to be thankful for. While our extended family has been affected by the virus, our immediate family has not. We have been careful and been following mask and distancing guidelines as much as possible and we are in rather good health. We hope that continues into 2021 and beyond. As I have said before – we have survived some terrible times in our history, and I am confident that we will survive this if we stay vigilant and listen to the experts.

As the weather changes from Fall into Winter, Carol and I are grateful that we live in The Villages. Having come from Maine, we appreciate needing only a light jacket during the “coldest” part of the Florida Winter.

We are also grateful that in moving to The Villages, we now have a whole new family made up of neighbors, friends from various social and/or lifestyle groups and from church.

In addition to everything we are thankful for, I am also proud and grateful for the Villagers who contribute to our community and the communities around us. These volunteers assist in so many ways and enrich the lives of so many people in The Villages and far beyond. While most of us are not wealthy, you certainly do not need to look far beyond our gates to find many who have so little. Groups who contribute to the spiritual, physical, and material needs of others add richness to so many lives and represent us Villagers so well.

If you are new to The Villages, you may be surprised at the colorful decorations in all the recreation centers and on individual homes. The Daily Sun usually publishes a map of neighborhoods with beautifully decorated homes. Some folks get a few golf carts together and do a “road trip” to see some of the sites. This is a great way to see some holiday decorations and get some fresh air while keeping social distances. It may also take your mind off stressful things and get you more into the spirit of the season.

Regardless of how you celebrate this holiday season, I wish for you what I wish for myself – a safe and healthy holiday season.