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It's A Round Robin Thanksgiving For One Family Trying To Stay Safe During Covid

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Marte Brengle of Burbank plans to deliver Thanksgiving dishes, round-robin style, to family instead of in-person dining. (Paul Townsend/Flickr Creative Commons)
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Marte Brengle of Burbank wishes she could spend Thanksgiving with her granddaughter, whom she hasn't seen since a mid-September outing to the L.A. Zoo.

The seven-year-old broke into a run at the sight of her grandmother.

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"Gie, Gie!" she cried -- the nickname she's used since she was a toddler and couldn't say grandma.

"I just told her I miss her so much, and I hugged her," Brengle said. "It was fantastic."

But as Los Angeles County sees a surge in covid cases, Brengle's family is avoiding any more gatherings in-person and, like others, is canceling meals outside their own household.

Thanksgiving is as much about enjoying a delicious spread as it is cooking for friends and family, and Brengle, an editor for a tech news site, was determined to come up with a safe workaround.

For some people, that means dining alone or only with immediate family. For others, it's led to finding an outdoor area to space out dinner attendees.

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But Brengle's backyard isn't large enough to offer a safe distance for the party of six she was anticipating. So she came up with another plan: Brengle and her husband will carve smoked turkey at their home, then take some to their daughter's home in Pasadena, and do a porch drop.

Then they'll pick up the sides her daughter and her wife are planning to cook and make the drive to their son's place in Koreatown. If he bakes something, his parents will deliver it to her daughter.

This scheme involves a lot of time in the car, but as Brengle rationalizes: "We haven't gotten out of the house for a while."

Everybody will eat their meals at home and afterward get on Zoom to hang out.

Call it a round robin Thanksgiving. The idea seems to be picking up currency across the country.

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Changing the way the family does Thanksgiving is a small adjustment in Brengle's eyes. She's turning 70 a few days after Thanksgiving and would have had a big birthday bash. But she is ready to skip that as well.

"That way I live to be 71," Brengle said with a laugh. "And we'll have a party next year."