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‘Thanksgiving Grandma’ keeps an annual tradition alive despite losing her husband

Wanda Dench, better known as Thanksgiving Grandma on the internet, kept alive the tradition of having Jamal Hinton over for a meal. They first met after she accidentally invited him in 2016, and it's been a tradition since then.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 28, 2020 6:42:27 pm
thanksgiving, teen meets thanksgiving grandma, jamal Hinton wanda dench, thanksgiving grandma meeting after husband loss, viral news, indian expressPeople were glad they continued their annual tradition.

Since their first meeting on Thanksgiving thanks to an accidental invitation, grandmother Wanda Dench and student Jamal Hinton have been meeting for five years now, each documented with pictures on social media. But their latest meeting prompted messages of support from people after they realised that the woman’s husband died earlier this year due to Covid-19.

Hinton posted photos from this year’s meeting and from their previous celebrations saying,”5 years strong! Happy Thanksgiving everyone”. In the photo from this year’s meeting they held a picture of Lonnie, Dench’s husband, who who passed away in April due to Covid-19.

Hinton posted another photo of them and thanked Dench for another amazing Thanksgiving experience.

“Thank you @wandadench for such an amazing celebration! You are such a blessing to this world. We miss you Lonnie,” he wrote.

The internet first learnt of Dench and Hinton when she accidentally invited him to Thanksgiving celebrations instead of her grandson in 2016. Once the two Arizona residents realised the mistake, Hinton, who was then a 17-year-old high school student, asked if he could “still get a plate.”.

Dench replied, “Of course you can. That’s what grandmas do…feed everyone.”

Their Thanksgiving meetings have been an annual event since then. Dench and Hinton decided to mantain the tradition this year despite her husband’s death to honour her husband of 43 years.

“I wasn’t looking forward to it at first because Lonnie wasn’t going to be there. The past seven months have been so difficult, but this was really important to me,” she told CNN.

“I can’t even explain how much joy I had, having good food with my favorite company. We laughed, we had a great time, we reminisced about the past. It was so good for all of us,” she said.

Due to the pandemic, their gathering was smaller and more intimate this year.

“I didn’t want to miss Thanksgiving with Jamal,” Dench told KPHO. “This year is definitely different than all the years in the past.”

To honour her husband, they kept an empty seat at the table and a lit candle was placed at the head of the table.

“I always remember Lonnie looking at the bright side of things,” Hinton told The New York Times. “He would want us to celebrate his life instead of hating COVID and hating everything.”

Many on social media praised the duo for continuing their annual tradition.

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