Beverly Morton has usually had plenty to celebrate around Thanksgiving. Her twin sisters were born on the holiday, as was her son. She used to spend Thanksgiving at her mother’s place in Dodge Center. Her father would drive around and bring back anyone he found who didn’t have anywhere else to go.
"We never knew how many to expect, and it was always fun to see who he'd find," Morton said. "My sister and I would go up and stay all night at Mother's, and we'd get everything ready together."
Even in her later years, there have been a lot of people to see. Last year for Christmas, she had more than 20 people come visit her.
This Thanksgiving will be a little quieter than most for the 90-year-old. She lives in Madonna Towers in Rochester, part of the Benedictine Living Community. Due to precautions for the COVID-19 pandemic, her visitors will be limited. Her daughter Susan is allowed to visit, as is her son Craig. However, those will be at separate times in the day.
She’s keeping her head high, though.
“I can’t feel sorry for myself because there are a lot of people who are a lot worse off,” Morton said. “Losing loved ones is really sad. I think we should all cooperate and do everything we can even if we aren’t sure it’s going to help. Anything that might help, we should try.”
Even though her visitors are limited, she still has ways to stay in touch. She can have visitors stop by to talk through a glass window. She also has an Echo Show in her room, allowing her to videoconference with loved ones.
Her family still wanted to wish her a happy Thanksgiving in a unique way. They got out the craft supplies, traced their hands on paper, and started decorating the outlines into hand-shaped turkeys.
"I started out thinking, 'Oh, I should have the great-grandkids do turkey hands,'" said Susan Crawley, Morton's daughter. "And then I thought, 'Well, everyone should do them.' "
There were plenty of family members to respond to the call. Morton has three children, seven grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
She started tacking them up on the wall. She currently has about 25 turkey-hands, and she expects to get another eight or so in the mail.
Morton's family members wrote their names on their turkeys, and some added messages.
Among them is a note that reads, “Happy Thanksgiving Grandma! We love and miss you!” Signed by Chelsi, Aric and Mila June.
Being a thankful person herself, Morton decided to add something of her own to the growing collection.
"She was really just so delighted with the idea that she wanted to make one, too," Crawley said. "She put, 'I'm thankful for my family' on her turkey."