I use this title with deep apologies to the late, great James Baldwin. This post is not marginally in the same league as his masterpiece, The Fire Next Time. But given what we’ve adopted as our emblem for 2020 – see picture below – this opportunity was too good to pass up.
In case you’re puzzling over said picture, let me explain. It’s a Christmas tree ornament that’s shaped like a dumpster on fire and labeled “2020.” This post could probably end here and you’d still get the idea. But the coup de grace in this situation is that we ordered three of these little charmers in November (one for us and one for each of the households of our kids), and THEY NEVER ARRIVED. We did get an email last week saying that the ornaments had finally cleared Customs. I’ll believe it when I see it.
So you can see why this ridiculous bit of plastic has become our year’s emblem. Granted, we had a better year than millions of people across the globe. Many are hungry and afraid. Many are ill with COVID and other diseases, and, as of the date of this post, over 1,778,000 people worldwide have died from COVID alone. This number includes a friend of ours and several friends and relatives of our friends and relatives. Our country remains politically divided. And many millions are isolated and lonely.
We’ve had our share of disappointments, too, although they’re smaller than the ones listed above. The biggest is missing Christmas with our kids. We did mitigate our loss somewhat by watching “Elf” simultaneously while chatting about it in What’s App; we then had a lovely family Zoom. But it wasn’t like being together. Mark and I both had COVID, although we’re pretty much recovered now. We also missed visiting with people here in Texas this Fall and were locked down in Spain for most of the Spring. And our travel plans pretty much went to hell in a hand basket this year. Last year, we were in 20 countries; this year, we were in two. Places we missed included Israel, Petra (in Jordan), Florence, Milan, Lake Como, Bordeaux, Avignon, Morocco, and the Baltics. To top it all off, we missed at least five sets of visitors. In my book, that qualifies as a dumpster fire.
Hope accompanies us into 2021, though. Mark and I leave for Spain on Wednesday, God willing. There, we will renew our visas so that we can continue our Spanish adventures. Our first grandchild is due to arrive in March. Our younger daughter will graduate from law school, take the bar exam, and embark on her legal career. We plan to return to the USA in the Spring for these amazing events. And who knows? Maybe my skepticism will be proved to be unfounded, and our ornaments will be waiting for us when we are back in Texas. That truly would be the dumpster fire next time. But in the meantime, let me wish you a happy and safe new year, with much love from Mark and me.