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COVID-19 Throws A Wrench In Texas Family's Small Thanksgiving Plans

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This morning, we are bringing you the stories of families who are trying to make the most of this challenging Thanksgiving. Twenty-five-year-old Rosalie Gonzalez has been looking forward to celebrating this holiday with her family in San Antonio, Texas. Her family has stayed distant throughout this pandemic, and today was supposed to be their little reunion.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

But earlier this week, Rosalie got a text from her aunt, Monica Strickland (ph).

ROSALIE GONZALEZ: So she let us know on Monday, hey, I'm positive for COVID. We're not going to come down.

INSKEEP: Rosalie's aunt is now in quarantine at her home in Chandler, Texas, 4 1/2 hours away. She says the news has been hard on her grandparents.

GONZALEZ: And so my grandma was really, really, really sad. She canceled making pies with me and my mother, so she's kind of just cooking all on her own today. So I think she's kind of, like, processing her grief kind of, like, through cooking.

GREENE: Grief that their tightknit family is going to need to remain apart today.

GONZALEZ: We're very close with each other, you know? And I think we really, really didn't want to miss the opportunity to see each other for the holidays, and so we were careful throughout the entire year. And yet, alas, you know, like, right before Thanksgiving, it happened.

INSKEEP: So one of our MORNING EDITION colleagues was talking with Rosalie. And as that conversation went on, she received a text from her aunt. And Rosalie called to check in.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHONE RINGING)

MONICA STRICKLAND: Hello?

GONZALEZ: Oh, hey.

STRICKLAND: Hey, Rosa (ph). How are you doing, mama (ph)?

GONZALEZ: (Laughter) I'm good.

STRICKLAND: Good.

INSKEEP: Since her positive test, Monica has experienced mild symptoms, we're happy to say. But she tells Rosalie she's worried about infecting her husband and 6-year-old daughter, Erin (ph).

STRICKLAND: Oh, my gosh. We're so careful - so careful. And then it just walks in my home just like that.

GREENE: She's having a hard time being isolated from family right now, especially on Thanksgiving. She tells Rosalie she wants to hold her family close.

STRICKLAND: Even, like, I see it on my daughter - oh, I'm going to cry. I see it on my daughter's face - you know, like, why can't I hug Mom? Not while I'm sick. And it's - that's hard.

INSKEEP: Although she can at least follow Thanksgiving with pictures.

STRICKLAND: My mom just texted us pies. Like...

GONZALEZ: Oh, yes.

STRICKLAND: ...I had this whole thing in my head. Erin and I were supposed to be there baking, and her having an experience with grandma, you know, that time will tell (ph).

GONZALEZ: Yeah.

STRICKLAND: I mean, we'll be there next year, you know?

GONZALEZ: Yeah.

STRICKLAND: We'll be making pies next year.

GREENE: They will be there next year. On that call together, Rosalie and Monica made plans to FaceTime later today. She tells her she'll pass the phone around the Thanksgiving table so Aunt Monica won't feel so far from home.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEODORE SHAPIRO'S "MEET IMELDA") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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