During this season of Thanksgiving, when so many are thinking of the love of family and friends, I continue my annual tradition of posting family photographs on More to Come. This practice began back in 2008* but has grown through the years so that the entire family now participates in the creation and curation of this particular entry.
Last year at this time we were in the middle of quarantine during a worldwide pandemic. Many were anxious and separated. Instead of our usual trip to the Shenandoah Valley for the Thanksgiving holiday, we had Andrew and his partner Mark Bailey — both in our quarantine bubble — over for a succulent meal at home.
While we decorated as if it were a normal year, Christmas 2020 was anything but. The tree was up and presents were scattered around, but we were missing Claire and unable to travel to see families far away. It was bittersweet.
As an essential worker teaching in a school, Claire was the first in the family to get the Covid vaccine in 2021. We all soon followed, so that by the time Andrew completed his shots early in April we felt a great sense of personal relief. With those jabs, traveling felt a bit safer and Claire came to visit over Easter, the first gathering of the four of us in quite some time.
May brought even more gatherings and celebrations. Andrew and David took Candice out for Mother’s Day, and approximately a week later we were at the National Cathedral to see the Les Colombes art installation. It was stunning and a piece of inspiration in tough times.
At the end of the month, we celebrated Candice’s significant birthday with a coast-to-coast Zoom party. Best wishes arrived via Boombox from friends and family around the world. Claire and Blair looked in from California, while Andrew and David did the local hosting honors. It was great fun as Candice read the notes and looked through the pictures people sent or that we had prepared. Several days later we were thrilled when our long-time friend Bizzy Lane stopped by for a visit and helped extend the celebration.
June brought Father’s Day, which Andrew joined us in celebrating in person this year.
In June, Andrew was honored to sing a solo at the Washington National Cathedral for the funeral of U.S. Senator John Warner, accompanied by the U.S. Marine Corps Chamber orchestra. It was sublime.
Into the summer and early fall we all began to feel more comfortable going out for drinks, meals with friends (usually outside), birthday celebrations, baseball games, weddings, and — in Claire’s case — road trips!
Candice traveled to Florida in September to join family in celebrating her mother’s 90th birthday. The rest of us joined in by Zoom on the special day.
When you live in Washington, you can bump into folks you don’t expect. Following an Evensong at the Cathedral, we were stopped by David’s cousin Brian Rose and his family for an impromptu visit. As we exited, we also saw our long-time friend Mariah, from our Franklin Knolls pool days, who was in the neighborhood. Washington is really a small town.
Because we were unable to all gather in May for Candice’s birthday, we pushed the full celebration back to October for a long weekend at Mohonk Mountain House, one of our favorite places on earth.
Two weeks later, Candice and David were in Asheville where David was serving as the educational expert for a National Trust Tour.
With the coming of fall, thoughts turned to ghosts and goblins. As was the case last year, our townhouse community hosted a backdoor parade so the children could trick-or-treat together safely and residents wouldn’t worry about opening their front doors to unmasked visitors.
Silver Spring is one of the most diverse cities in America, and when you attend the annual Thanksgiving parade — as we did last Saturday — all the beauty and joy of that diversity comes through. We are thankful to live in a community where we can learn from and celebrate so many different perspectives and cultures.
We remain grateful for each of you and the friendships we share. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
More to come…
Image at top: We gather over a fabulous dinner to celebrate Candice’s big day at Mohonk Mountain House in October.
Photos by Andrew Brown, Blair Kittle, Claire Brown, Candice Brown, DJB, and Mark Bailey.