I’m relatively sure you will hear that a lot in the next few days and weeks….(it’s from the Who’s “Tommy” for those who need the reference). I smiled when I listened to it after someone else had posted the link yesterday. It, along with catching the tail end of a Rick Steves PBS special started me reflecting on the year a day or two earlier than I originally thought I would, but the lack of gathering, celebrating with friends, and simply sitting around, other than taking Abbey the dog out adds to that, so here goes.
It was middle February of 2020. Sue and I had just spent a fabulous week in Vero Beach, the weather was spectacular, I ran on the beach each morning, we had great dinners, actually caught up with a friend we’d not seen there for 7 or 8 years due to the timing of the various breaks. We noticed on the flight back that a few people were actually wearing masks on the (full) flight. Covid was news but not really NEWS at that point, and honestly we thought nothing of it.
Jump ahead one month: the infection was in full bloom, school closed for what was expected to be a few weeks [you know how that went], other than walking the dog and a weekly trip to the grocery store (since delivery was impossible at that point), we were stay at home folks. We did get in the habit of a weekly Zoom happy hour with our wine group but that was pretty much it for socializing.
Late April saw the return to outdoor dining (with trepidation) but it was a wonderful respite to being homebound. Late June saw us bring back our cleaning people for their biweekly visit (and what a relief THAT was, we were ok doing it but hated it). Summer brought us to outdoor, distanced gatherings with the same Zoom folks and a sigh of relief. Sue and I canceled out trip to Rhode Island [the first time in 60 of my 68 years that I did not set foot in the ocean] but did take a 5 day trip to a small, gorgeous cottage in Vermont which was a wonderful change of scenery and the site of the now laughable attempt to tube down the river (the story detailed in a prior blog).
School started up in person with again, much worry, Sue retired at the end of October, with a very few exceptions All Saints (where I teach) has been very successful at full time in person learning, Sue came aboard at All Saints in November and now we have a vaccine on the horizon.
Have we missed family gatherings; YES! Have we missed holiday parties; YES! Have we missed our weekly dinner out rotating around the excellent restaurants we have,;kinda yes…why kinda? Well, some have managed to keep the outdoor heated experience going so we have been able to get out a bit. Are we excited and hopeful that this is slowly coming to a conclusion; YES!!!
Some of the things that have taken place this past year are incredibly upsetting. The division in society is no real surprise, it has been there all my life. Race, religion, preference, all there, all the time, what is really upsetting is that it now seems to be ok to not only be PROUD of being a hate monger, but to actively promote the fact that “my way” is better than your way and to look for superiority over equality. That brings me to the point of the Rick Steves special. It was about how travel opens your eyes to other things and other people and how valuable it is (and yes, right now it’s limited but that is another thing that is coming, slowly, but inevitably, to an end). One of his closing lines was “traveling shows us that we are all on the same timeline” Chew on that…ALL on the same timeline….
With hope I’ll close with a reprise of the title and add a bit more of the lyrics to it
“I’ve got a feeling twenty-one
Is going to be a good year
Especially if you and me
See it in together
I had no reason
To be over optimistic
But somehow when you smiled
I can brave bad weather“
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Dr. Neil Floch’s gastric sleeve patient with over 180 lb. weight loss