SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - COVID-19 rates are getting higher, and health professionals are asking families around the country to modify or even cancel their Thanksgiving Day plans.
They’re worried because family gatherings that usually spread cheer, could possibly spread the deadly virus, and at least two Coast families are heeding the warning.
Susan and Jerry Griggs of Ocean Springs are all about Thanksgiving.
""I love fall," Susan said. “And Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.”
And every year, they stuff the house as much as the turkey.
“Last year, in our little tiny house, we had 25 people,” said Susan.
But, while the decorations are up, the family won’t be back this year.
“My family’s a bunch of huggers, and I just couldn’t see any way for us to do a family gathering this year.” said Susan.
At least for now, it looks like it will be just the two of them.
“I guess it will be a good time for us just to kind of focus on what we need to be happy about," said Susan. "What we need to be thankful about and there’s a lot.”
But, the separation will likely last through the holidays.
“We will decorate and everything, you know,” Jerry said. “But as far as any kind of gathering, Christmas will probably be just like Thanksgiving.”
Susan added “You hate to waste a single day not being with people you love, and it’s hard not to be angry about it.”
Thanksgiving also has been a huge family union for the Veglia family since 1973, now three generations strong.
Their big deal is to rent cabins in parks, socialize day and night, then cook up a storm.
“It was very, very important for my father that we continue the tradition,” said Mary Veglia Mobley. “He’d go around to us over the years, and he’d say, 'You make sure you keep getting together after we’re gone. It was very, very important to him that we all stay together.”
Her mother also played a big role in the gatherings, particularly with the children.
“She’d get out the maps with the different hiking trails and she’d take the grandchildren on hikes,” Mobley said. “Going to the park, with the cabins, that’s where the next generation get to know each other.”
But not this year.
“It’s really, really sad,” said Mobley. “And it was a very hard decision. We’ve had a lot of phone calls back and forth. ‘Are you going?’ ‘I don’t know, we haven’t decided yet.’ As hard as that was and as hard as it is not to get together, it just didn’t make sense to do it.”
Both families say they will have some sort of celebration, although they are still trying to figure out the details.