Amy Fenster Brown

Thank you. I’m thankful for you reading my essays month after month. What a coincidence that here I am, publicly thankful, and it happens to be Thanksgiving. We can each make a list, from the serious to the silly, as a reminder of positivity during a predominantly negative time. In the spirit of the season here is a list, in no particular order.

Family and friends: We can all agree, we have kept each other afloat these past months. It’s the first thing we all say we are thankful for when we’re passing the turkey and stuffing. The people in our inner circles, and even our outer circles, have held us up, and we can all rest easy knowing we’ve done the same for them. Keep that up, folks. Keep that up. 

First responders and essential workers: Bravo to you, from all of us. You’re keeping things running smoothly, stepping in during emergencies, caring for the sick, and providing necessary services. Our hats are off to you.

FaceTime: Why phone a friend when you can video chat and see their COVID hairstyle? It’s currently one of the few ways you can actually see someone face-to-face. Unfortunately, I’m usually lying down when I FaceTime my sister at night, so she gets treated to bad angles and all of my chins. 

Zoom: Sure it was cute and inventive at the start of quarantine, and now it has become the best way to attend meetings. You can mix good lighting and a cute top with pajama pants and the folks you’re meeting with don’t know or care if you’re even wearing a bra.

Social media: Oh how I love you, social media. Looking at other people’s photos on Facebook, following celebrities for a peek into their lives on Instagram and watching hilarious videos on TikTok are all entertaining. While we would all rather be out for dinner and drinks with friends and family, social media gives us a little laugh and connection.

Streaming services: There’s not a lot when it comes to new seasons of TV shows we’ve been watching over the years. Most of us aren’t going to movie theaters. All of these streaming services give us new movies and shows to watch at our own convenience. Find a series you’ve heard about and never got around to watching or pick a show you loved and haven’t seen in years. 

Delivery services: Pizza and Chinese food, you’re the pioneers and we are all grateful. Uber Eats and GrubHub, you’ve opened it up to practically every restaurant we could be craving a meal from. Add in Shipt and Instacart and you can get your whole grocery store list dropped off on your front doorstep. Don’t even get me started on Amazon.

Cuss words: That’s right. I said it. Look, sometimes you need to get something off your chest, really make a point, and that might mean spewing some choice words. It’s like emotional vomit, you feel better once it’s released, especially alone in my car if someone cut me off in traffic. 

Comedy: If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. I’ve done my unfair share of both in 2020, and I’m guessing you have, too. With so much to be upset and anxious about, finding ways to laugh is necessary and delightful.

Electoral College: I don’t need to go into detail on this one, do I?

Gossip: It’s not good. It’s not healthy. It’s not nice. But man, can it be fun.

Plastic shot glasses: And I don’t even drink! But on the occasions of having driveway and patio visits in 2020, they came in handy. Apple slices and honey for individual Rosh Hashanah treats. A dollop of ranch and a couple carrot sticks for a little personal crudité, COVID style. M&Ms at social-distanced Mah jongg. The value of a cute way to not all grab from the same bowl proved priceless this year. Though it seems I might be the stupid one, because 2020 would have been the perfect year for me to start pounding shots of tequila.

Loungewear: Also known as sweatpants, pajamas, shmatas, and in an odd twist of fate, activewear. So comfy for working from home. So cozy. And so easy to mask the pandemic pounds we might have put on from stress eating. 

New Jake from State Farm: Is this kid darling or what? He clearly hits the gym way more than Old Jake from State Farm. And he has a far longer list of celebrity friends. I just want to call New Jake from State Farm and invite him over for a nice roast chicken. Sweet kid.

Peanut butter: Oh you saucy little vixen, you always have me at “hello.” You’re so versatile…sandwiches, cookies, Thai-style dipping sauce. I can just scoop you onto a spoon and fall in love all over again. I’ll never quit you, peanut butter. It’s you and me ‘til the end.

Monthly columnist Amy Fenster Brown is married to Jeff and has two teenage sons, Davis and Leo. She volunteers for several Jewish not-for-profit groups. Fenster Brown is an Emmy Award-winning TV news writer and counts time with family and friends, talking and eating peanut butter among her hobbies. Email Amy at Amy@thejewishlight.com.