Coast residents still plan Thanksgiving celebration, but with precautions

Coast residents still plan Thanksgiving celebration, but with precautions

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - While COVID-19 rates are now the worst they have ever been in the state, the Thanksgiving traditions haven’t stopped cold turkey.

This trip to The Pecan House in Gulfport is part of Louisiana resident Dean Fife’s annual trek to find the finishing touches to his Thanksgiving Day feast.

“I buy pecan cakes, and pecans for all the family and set it out,” said Fife. “And that’s what we have for dessert: fruit cake, pecan pie.”

And despite COVID-19, the desserts, along with everything before it will be set once again.

“What we’re going to do is keep it to a minimum,” Fife said. “And, so, it’s got to go on. It has to.”

Linda Papania of Wiggins is doing what she has to do so that a 60-year tradition with family and long-time friends keeps going.

“We’re all going to wear masks,” said Papania. “We’re going to stay 6 feet apart. And, for the food, we will put it on our long table and we’ll have servers to serve it. We just hate to not do it. But, with COVID, we just have to take a lot more precautions.”

And for the Pecan House, business is going well for both the McHenry and the Gulfport locations.

“I think every year, people come into the store and they do things that they did with their grandmother and mother,” said Chelsey Caudill, whose family has owned and operated The Pecan House for years. “And they’re coming in and just trying to redo those things every year. Despite COVID, they still want to do it.”

Annie Purvis’ family has been hit hard by COVID-19.

“Yes. We have a lot of people in my family,” said Purvis. “At least five who are affected right now.”

But she’s still getting a big feast ready, even if it will be just her, her husband and her son. And, she said there is reason to celebrate. “Every day is a blessing,” she said simply. “And every day we are thankful.”

And so is Amy Bateson, with though her celebration also will be with just immediate family.

“You know, there’s so much to be thankful for. And that’s what we’re happy about,” said Bateson. “Everybody’s good. And, we’re just going to celebrate. We’re just going to celebrate in different places.”

Copyright 2020 WLOX. All rights reserved.