Los Angeles County public health officials recorded 3,780 new cases of COVID-19 this past Saturday, the single highest one-day total since the first wave of the virus peaked in July. New curfews may be in place by the time the Topanga New Times goes to press and everyone is being asked to stay home as much as possible; rethink holiday plans and cancel travel; and avoid gatherings, unless the participants are housemates. 

While COVID-19 numbers are up, blood donations are down. Topangans can help this season by participating in the Topanga Community Center’s upcoming blood drive, December 10. Learn more on TCC’s Facebook page: @TopangaCommunityCenter

We marked the second anniversary of the Woolsey Fire in our last issue, but another wildfire anniversary went unremembered: the 27th anniversary of the Old Topanga Fire, a devastating disaster that burned 18,000 acres from November 2-11,1993. The fire burned from the top of Old Topanga Canyon to the sea in Malibu at La Costa Beach, destroying 359 homes and leaving three people dead.

We are looking forward to a time this winter when wildfire hazard is reduced, but with no rain in the immediate forecast we aren’t there yet. Fire risk is expected to remain high through the end of the month, when changing weather patterns may finally bring rain to the local mountains. Now would be a good time to check emergency supplies and make an evacuation plan, just in case. 

Thanksgiving is going to be different this year. All California residents are being advised to stay home, and celebrate the holiday only with members of their household. Unnecessary travel is verboten, gatherings everywhere will be limited, and traditions put on hold, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to be thankful for, or that there aren’t many ways to still celebrate this beloved American holiday.

TNT’s theme for this issue is “Nourish.” As we prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, we’re sharing family recipes with our readers, and looking back at memories of Thanksgiving in Topanga, 1917, preserved on film by a 17-year-old photographer. 

Our columnists will be reflecting on love and loss and loved ones who will not be with us this year, talking about sharing our feelings as well as our recipes, and encouraging us to think about how to cope with the stress of life in this uncharted holiday season.

We also visit the studio of abstract artist Nicole Buffet, who combines art with philanthropy, and sit down for a visit with Helen and Simon Yoon, whose Topanga General Store is a lifeline to the community, and essential during the holiday season for so many local families. 

We may be celebrating the holidays on our own this year, but we are still a community and we will get through this challenge together.

Stay safe, be well!