A happy and safe Thanksgiving to all. My own festivities will remain small: seeing my step-sons and grandkids and great-granddaughter via Zoom or Skype.

As unusual as it sounds, Kathy and I both have Thanksgiving off. It’s a first in a number of years. Maybe a dinner at Cracker Barrel will do the trick for us.

I am thankful for my extended family: sister- and brothers-in-law, my step-kids, grandkids, great-granddaughter and future great-grandson.

I am thankful that as I approach the seventh decade, I am healthy, still able to work and keep up with the “kids” in the store. I plan to work as long as I am able. My dad retired at age 84 from his bicycle store in New York.

Late Sunday, I had a conversation with a young lady at work. We were talking about the country “returning to normal” after the pandemic is over. She asked what I thought about the recovery process after a vaccine is approved and distributed. It was a good conversation.

My position is simple — we are turning the corner to a “new reality,” much like we did after 9/11. She was only 3 when the attack on the United States occurred, so she remembers nothing about the day. I, on the other hand, remember where I was and what I did during most of that day.

I remember watching the World Trade Center being built in 1968. As a kid, living about 30 miles from Manhattan, my dad would make regular trips with me into or through the city to pick up bicycles and lawnmowers for his store.

I was going to work on that Tuesday morning in 2001, parking my car at the light-rail station to catch the train to the Community College of Denver, when I heard on the radio that a plane had hit one of the towers. I thought it was a Cessna that someone tried to fly between the towers and missed.

It was not until I got to the campus did I learn that we were under attack. I ran to my classroom and turned on the television so my class could experience what was happening. I was just in time to watch the second airliner hit the south tower.

I remember watching the two towers collapse and sitting stunned as the towers — my towers — went down. The rest of the day is pretty much a blur.

Since that fateful day, we live in a “new normal.” We have travel restrictions, new security, both public and secret. We started to see a resurgence of the radical-right attacking anyone, whether associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaida or not. A lot of people were hurt as a result.

We will be living under a new “norm” after the pandemic — one that we could not have imagined a year ago. Even today, we are living under new restrictions of travel, temperature checks at schools and businesses and requests to hold smaller family gatherings during the holiday season.

We see a similar thing happen as this pandemic winds its way down over the next year or so, except the discrimination will not be al-Qaida but those liberals who are “promulgating the lie of the novel coronavirus.” Today it is xenophobic attacks.

We have new travel restrictions and the closing of businesses to prevent the virus from spreading. With more than 10 million Americans infected, we may see a national mask mandate under the Biden administration.

We will have more people working remotely, and many companies are finding that these employees are more effective and efficient.

When travel returns, it will mean temperature-taking by the TSA or the individual airlines. Amtrak will restrict the number of passengers per car, and visiting your relatives or vacation spot will mean continued mask mandates.

As with 9/11, we will not return to a precoronavirus norm. We will live with the new restrictions and mandates. We will be more cautious about new viruses and other diseases cropping up all over the world. We will be asked to take our coronavirus vaccine along with our flu shot annually.

Many Americans will not like the “new norm.” In some cases, they will fight it tooth and nail. Yet after a couple of years, we, as a nation and citizens of the world, will come to live with this “new norm” and wait with bated breath for the next crisis and to come.

About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.

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