What’s there to be grateful for in a pandemic year? A lot, Bostonians say

What’s there to be grateful for in a pandemic year? A lot, Bostonians say

BOSTON — On this gray day before Thanksgiving, it wasn’t hard to find Bostonians who saw a silver lining to this pandemic year -- even if they suffered a loss.

“I am especially thankful for family and friends,” said Gina Hennessey, as she tended her pushcart selling Irish-themed goods in a nearly deserted Faneuil Hall Marketplace. “Although this has been the worst year ever for small business, restaurants, etcetera, I think the thing we have to do most is try and stay as positive as we can.”

Hennessey said although this has been a very sad year, she’s been lifted by the support of those close to her. “You appreciate things more, you know what I mean?”

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College student Jackie Jonavicius of Chicago definitely gets that. Three of her family members, so far, have contracted Covid. Fortunately, all recovered.

“My brother-in-law feels like he got hit by a train,” she said. “My sister-in-law, who is also pregnant, just had a small case of it, so she kind of shrugged it off. We obviously know it’s not the same for everyone.”

Jonavicius said she is grateful for the little things that, for some, are mighty big things during these times: “Thankful for health, you know. And a warm place to sleep.”

Outside Faneuil Hall, Salvation Army bellringer Gilbert Taylor is grateful for human ingenuity. “They’re finding vaccines for the pandemic,” he said.

Until they distribute those vaccines many, like Barbara Thames, are grateful for the absolute basics: “I’m grateful to be alive and I’m grateful I’m still working,” she said.

Having time to spend with family seemed a recurring theme of thanks for many.

What’s there to be grateful for in a pandemic year? A lot, Bostonians say

“I keep saying family but that is the important part this year,” said Chris Patterson, visiting Faneuil Hall with her young son and extended family. “We’re grateful that our family’s all still healthy and our friends are great and we have the time to spend with our family.”

Chris Zavala is away from his family this Thanksgiving. But the sales representative for Lovepop greeting cards has his loved ones on his mind -- even as he is still getting situated in a new city. “I actually moved to Boston two or three months ago with my company and it’s really cool to be here,” he said.

Covid killed many people this year. It also killed many dreams and hopes and sources of income.

But it obviously didn’t kill Zavala’s excitement, Hennessey’s determination or Gilbert Taylor’s optimism that the pandemic can be brought under control.

It also didn’t kill wisdom.

“I think Covid made everybody really slow down, you know, and take what they have not so much for granted anymore,” said Juvicius. “I think it’s made everybody realize what’s important in life.”

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