On the eve of Thanksgiving 2020 families have been forced to make difficult decisions about how and if they will gather, with public health officials encouraging virtual get-togethers, or, if multiple family units must mix, outdoor gatherings.

Many people have concluded that there is simply no perfectly safe way to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. And some have created new traditions. At right, poet and Princeton resident Vida Chu reflects on not being able to see her grandkids this Thanksgiving while still finding pleasure in the natural wonders that can be found in Princeton, sans social interaction. The Dawn Redwood in Marquand Park, pictured at right, is just one of her discoveries.

Meanwhile, Chu carries on a U.S. 1 tradition: the publication of poetry and short stories, particularly with themes that are relevant to the region. Fiction submissions are being accepted year-round by email to fiction@princetoninfo.com. Don’t forget to include a short biography.

The staff at U.S. 1 wishes everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving, however you choose to celebrate. Our physical and virtual offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 26 and 27, but as always we’re reachable by e-mail — hastings@princetoninfo.com for news; events@princetoninfo.com for calendar listings; and tfritts@communitynews.org for advertising.

Missing the Grandkids

The Dawn Redwood at Marquand Park in Princeton.

The hope of seeing our grandchildren for Thanksgiving is diminishing
as the raging pandemic keeps spreading with no end in sight.
My husband and I spend our weekends at the arboretum
wandering among trees and communicating with plants.

Awestruck by the over a hundred feet tall giants, in oval, conical,
and pyramidal shapes, and leaves in different hue and silhouette,
we return week after week spellbound and intrigued
by their appearances and their histories.

Who would have guessed the Dawn Redwood existed at the time
of the dinosaurs. Both believed to be extinct, but the tree was
rediscovered, during the Second World War in Hubei, China.
The collected seeds planted in 1946 in American arboretums.

We are dazzled by the different maples originated from Japan and China,
the peeling branches of the Paperbark in shades of cinnamon colors,
the leaves of the Full Moon, with eleven scarlet, toothed lobes
and the red glow of leaf-bare branches of the Coral Bark in winter.

We order from local nursery a Dawn Redwood, twenty-five feet tall,
and two Paperbark, ten, and fifteen feet high. They arrive in a convoy
of four trucks and get planted in our front and back yards. We name them
Andrew, Colin and Camille, after each of our grandchildren.

Still locked down in New Jersey, we talk to the trees daily,
telling them how much we miss the California family.
Now ardently optimistic about the coronavirus vaccine,
we look forward to meeting the grandkids face to face, in 2021.

Vida Chu writes: “I grew up in Hong Kong, came to America for college, and stayed. I have lived in Princeton for fifty-five years. My poems have been published in US 1, Newspaper, Kelsey Review, US 1 Worksheets, Paterson Review, and others. Since the pandemic, I have been hiking and visiting botanical gardens.”

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