Thank the gods it’s done!
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m more than happy to put 2020 behind me. But let’s recap it just for the record.
The year “dawned” just as any other year would. I moved back to Omaha in the last part of 2019 to reconcile with Laura. Those first few months were a bit stressful as we both walked on eggshells for a bit (I suspect me more so,) working our way through some of the (mostly mine) issues that had caused our split. This continued into 2020, but we were beginning to feel our way.
Then, in February, a new wrinkle in the world: COVID-19. First reports out of China talked about this new virus being highly contagious with symptoms that could only be described as “agile,” since they seemed to be different in different folks. Despite efforts to keep it from our shores, within the month, the first cases appeared in the US.
Initially, the federal government (in particular the President) downplayed the serious nature of the virus, allowing it to spread and infect exponentially. New York City was the first major hub of the infection, but did a credible job of containing and isolating those affected to the point that the mantle was passed to other regions. Despite the evidence, the fed still seemed to be clueless about its response, and COVID moved quickly into other areas. Finally, the responses in major cities and regions began to rise to the necessary level as more and more of us moved into self-imposed isolation. Here in Omaha, Laura and I continue to maintain this defensive posture.
In late April, my father fell ill (non-COVID) and his health declined fairly rapidly. After spending most of May in the hospital, he returned home to spend his final days with his wife (my stepmother,) my sisters and my youngest surviving brother. Concern about the pandemic and carrying it into the family prevented us from traveling to the East Coast to also share his final days. I was able to say goodbye to him on a video call, thanks to my sister. I don’t know if he heard me, but it did me well to be able to have a few last words with him. He left us on June 1. A celebration of his life has been postponed until such time as it can be done safely.
For the next few months, COVID shared the spotlight with the Presidential primaries and elections. It was interesting to see how the candidates handled the new reality: it seemed the Democrats took the health risks seriously (for the most part,) while the Republicans felt that the wearing of masks was some kind of political statement against the President. The primaries distilled the large field of Democratic candidates down to Joe Biden while Trump held onto the reins of power for the Republicans. November 3 should have been the end of the election season. Unfortunately, Trump was unable to reconcile himself to losing and spent the balance of the year in court challenges, enticing state legislatures, and putting pressure on election officials, all in an effort to overturn the results of the election. Fortunately, for the health of our country, these efforts were all in vain, and Joe Biden was declared the President-Elect.
Thanksgiving was decidedly different. Normally, Laura and I would make the trip back East to celebrate with my family (Christmas is spent with hers.) With COVID still our constant companion, we remained home and had dinner for just the two of us. Zoom calls allowed us to at least see everyone, but it’s a poor substitute to actually being able to share the day.
In December, we received word that my Uncle Mason, the last and youngest of my father’s brothers, was diagnosed with COVID. He spent time in and out of the hospital, but on December 20, he passed away. Always full of life and fun, he will be missed.
Like Thanksgiving, Christmas was a Zoom event. The biggest thing that was missed was the white elephant gift exchange with Laura’s kids and their father. In its place, we packaged up the gifts we had collected over the year and carried them to each family. Each of the grandkids was taken care of as well, albeit from a socially safe distance.
Other things of note:
My sister Mary continues to care for our other sister, Nell, who is in the latter stages of early onset Alzheimers. This is such a nasty ailment, robbing Nell of her memories, and all of us of our sister. I am grateful that Mary is such a great caretaker.
On January 6, 2021, the Congress met to certify the vote of the Electoral College. Trump made a final effort by inviting scores of his followers to DC, whipping them into a frenzy and sending them to attack the Capitol where they vandalized the temple of democracy and threatened the wellbeing of our elected representatives. Rather than trying to rein them in, Trump watched the destruction on TV while his Defense Dept appointees refused to send in the National Guard for hours. When he finally did speak, he told the insurgents that he loved them, but to go home. For this he is now facing his second impeachment.
That’s it for now. I’ll try to keep better track of this little blog of mine. Until next time.