That’s the word of the week. It describes homecoming festivities at UND.

My dictionary says virtual is an adjective meaning being so in effect, but not in actual fact.

So there will be no parade down University Avenue this homecoming weekend. No big gatherings. No UND football game at the Alerus. No cheerleaders. No Hawk. No marching band.

Old grads aren’t gathering in Grand Forks – or anywhere. Instead, everyone is dealing with coronavirus. Wearing preventive masks.

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There is little comfort in knowing the plague spreads far and wide. Gatherings for Thanksgiving in Canada are being held to a minimum.

Thanksgiving traditionally is held there on the second Monday of October. And families in Winnipeg this year will be having dinners for only up to 10 people.

Friends in Winnipeg tell us Thanksgiving is not as important a celebration as it is in the United States.

“After all,” says Marilyn Alexander of Winnipeg, “the pilgrims did not land in Canada.”

As she was transmitting a message, she was sitting in her enclosed balcony – overlooking the flowing Red River. She was enjoying the hues of the leaves turning color.

“It’s hard to believe,” she said, “that among all the enchanting beauty there is coronavirus lurking in the air.”

Witches and goblins

While many events are being canceled or changed these days, it will be hard to harness Halloween. Perhaps impossible.

The home of Jack and Debbie Dekker at 608 18th Ave. S., is decorated to the hilt. Once again, they have set out an amazing array of scary and amazing Halloween sights. And most of the other homes in their block are full of the Halloween spirit.

Scary. Fun.

Other homes with outstanding characters lit up early for Halloween are in the 1300 block of S. 18th Street.

And there will be a limited celebration before Halloween near the Myra Museum. The board of directors of the Grand Forks Historical Society has voted in favor of a safe gathering for children before the scary day.

Yes, life goes on. A sign near Holy Family Catholic Church on 17th Avenue S. announces the date of the traditional Christmas tea. It’s Nov. 7.

Hal and Kathy

Cheerful people of the week: Kathy Gershman and Hal Gershman.

Reach Marilyn Hagerty at or by telephone at 701-772-1055.