The dust had settled on Cherry Street after the influx of tourists for the Thanksgiving weekend. All that was left was a heap of turkey carcasses, bins of empty wine bottles, and the memory of overeating and falling asleep in front of Netflix. The residents of 44 Cherry Street had intended to self-isolate to protect themselves against the Corona Virus, but something unexpected had happened to brighten their Thanksgiving Day. 

Sturdy mountain tote with lining and interior pockets $36

Now that Lorraine was back from her big adventure in Mexico, she was working hard to make Frederick forget that she had run away. She was being extra sweet to him because she wanted to avoid any questions he might ask about what she had done in the year she had been gone. Lorraine had indeed sown her wild oats in her year as consort to El Chapo in the jungle hideout where she had been taken. Chappie’s men had accidentally mistaken Lorraine for a drug mule and kidnapped her when she landed at the airport in Mexico City. Lorraine didn’t believe in accidents, though. She knew that she and Chappie were soulmates and that he must be pining for her since she left him. 

2021 Nikki McClure wall calendar $20

To make Frederick happy, Lorraine prepared the foods that he liked for Thanksgiving Dinner. She normally looked down her nose at the foods he was accustomed to, considering them too country. She had gone to AB Tech’s culinary school and loved to prepare exotic dishes, but this year she stuck to dishes Frederick had grown up with. She made a traditional Turkey, but for the sides she made Frederick’s favorites: packaged stuffing mix, red Jello with fruit cocktail and tiny marshmallows, candied yams with big marshmallows on top, canned green beans with cream of mushroom soup, and Mrs. Smith’s Pumpkin Pie. She made herself a tangy kale and Brussel sprout salad, but knew Frederick would not even taste it. In spite of the store-bought ingredients, the apartment smelled tantalizing, and the smells drifted out into the hallway of 44 Cherry Street.

Across the hall, Ellie prepared a casserole she thought would be enough to eat for the rest of the weekend: chicken, canned peas, Campbells’s Soup, and torn up Wonder Bread. She decided to treat herself to some sweet wine in honor of Thanksgiving and cracked open a bottle of Mogen David. Since Lorraine had returned, Ellie no longer had Frederick as a companion. She had brought him dinner every night and they had bonded over her casseroles. She had hoped they would move on to dessert, but Frederick had been loyal to his missing wife. Now Ellie was alone again. She sighed as she opened the can of soup for her casserole.

Annotated and illustrated date book $18

Downstairs, Neetu who was vegan, gluten free, sugar free, and dairy free, felt sorry for herself too. She didn’t like being alone for the holidays and the smells wafting through the air in the building made her crave something other than the raw foods compote and gluten free rice crackers she had planned for her dinner. Dr. Fauci warned people to stay away from others, and she knew that if she did get sick, there would be no one to care for her. She had to stay safe.

All Elrod had brought home from Ingles for his Thanksgiving dinner were a bag of Doritos and a suitcase of Budweiser. By mid afternoon he had already had a few beers and tossed the empties in the direction of his garbage can. He heard his stomach growl as the smells of turkey and sweet potatoes leaked under his door and into his living room, overpowering the stink of stale tobacco and dirty laundry. He popped open another Bud and took a drink. All those women he had met on could rot in hell as far as he was concerned. They had taken his money and not shown up at the airport when he had gone to fetch them. Still, even though he swore he was done with women, he didn’t like sitting alone in his apartment. The television set was playing football games, but Elrod couldn’t pay attention.

Better hide this from Elrod!!

Upstairs Lorraine looked at the amount of food she had prepared and shook her head. She just didn’t know how to cook for just two people. There was enough food in her kitchen for an army. “Frederick!” she called. “What are we going to do with all this food?”

“I have an idea,” he replied. “Dr. Fauci says we should get together only with people we live with. Let’s get together with our neighbors. We do all live under the same roof.”

Handmade paper poppies $8/stem

A few minutes later at Frederick’s urging all the residents of 44 Cherry Street came out into the hall and set up tv tables in front of their doors on which they placed the food they had prepared for Thanksgiving. Everyone grabbed a plate and circulated from table to table in the hallway filling their plates with everything from turkey and stuffing to Budweiser and Doritos, and from soupy casserole to vegan compote. They dragged chairs into the hall and shouted merrily to each other as the enjoyed each other’s company. They maintained their social distance but bridged the emotional gap and had a Thanksgiving to remember. 

Sweet Olive, Abby’s puppy