What a difference a year makes, eh?
A year ago I proudly put the finishing touches on this annual post a day day early, and then promptly spent all of Thanksgiving day wearing elastic sweat bottoms, stuffing myself with food, and watching monochrome only content on TV. Except for indigestion in my near term, I had absolutely no inkling of the doom lurking around the corner a few months later.
What I’d give to have such “innocence” again. I would much rather be reading about sport statistics now than ones which focus on sickness and death.
But in spite of dark hazards that remain, there are still bright spots allowing us to be optimistic and grateful. Chief among them are the handful of coronavirus vaccine candidates which are very much on the horizon.
There is also an approved treatment now for covid with the administering of the drug remdesivir. It has already been proven to reduce hospital stays.
So on that limited yet optimistic note, I once again …
… submit for your approval, all the things from A-Z for which I am grateful:
(A) Antiviral drugs such as remdesivir.
(B) Bravery displayed in so many ways, and from so many diverse public servants, who have been on the front lines protecting us. May we continue to bang on our pots and pans to salute them long after this pandemic is over.
(C) Carryout food. We didn’t bring in as much of it in our home as we probably should have this year, but supporting local restaurants continues to be vital everywhere. We noticed only a few weeks ago that our favorite Greek haunt is thankfully still open. We plan on picking up dinner from them in time for our upcoming anniversary. Order carryout!
(D) I have siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, and close friends whom I haven’t hugged in close to year. It’s also been strange greeting people and not shaking their hands. But social distancing saves lives. I am even grudgingly grateful to those who eschew masks but at least acknowledge the need to physically distance.
(E) Elections, because they always matter. Democracy took a huge hit this year because of public officials who pushed bogus claims of voting irregularities. But for every spineless sycophant, there are thankfully heroes such as Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and former DHS official Chris Krebs, both of whom stood up for truth and honest accountability. Hats off to both of them.
(F) Can there possibly BE any other choice here? I don’t think so. Thank you, Dr. Anthony Fauci, for never wavering from the discipline of science. He did his job while weathering an unrelenting storm of often vicious and personal vilification. I am grateful to him for his steadying hand.
(G) The letter G can only mean my wife, Gorgeous. In addition to being an unwitting foil to my sophomoric behavior here on the blog (well, okay, at most other times too) I am fortunately gifted by her grace, serenity, and beauty on a daily basis.
(H) Hand sanitizer. It’s everywhere now, isn’t it? This is largely a positive, though I think it isn’t an exaggeration to say that not all of it is necessarily up to snuff. Watch out for those dodgy ones put out at convenience stores, for instance. A favorite of mine is made by our local St. Augustine Distillery. It’s admittedly a little awkward going into their beautiful shop and coming out with sanitizer instead of the award-winning bourbon they also make. Strange times indeed.
(I) Holiday isolation. I don’t know about you, but the scenes on TV news over the last few days showing crowded airports gives me the willies. I’m grateful for our safe pod. I’ll see fam and friends post-vaccine, thanks very much.
(J) Junk food. If I’m going to criticize public officials for spreading falsehoods and avoiding the truth, I need to come clean: these stay-at-home advisories haven’t exactly resulted in my sticking to the most nourishing of foods. Let’s just say my college-age self would definitely feel at home on my couch lo these past months. My big favorite? Alexio onion rings. They go with anything, especially murder mysteries.
(K) Kamala Harris. We now have our first female vice president. That’s amazing.
(L) Long distance relationships. I know that I’ve emailed friends and family this year more than ever before. I recently participated in a Zoom bar mitzvah for the son of my oldest niece; my oldest sister and I are in touch at least 2-3 times a week; just a few days ago, I spoke to an old friend whom I haven’t had a phone conversation with in almost two years (hi, A); and early next week I’ll participate in a video call with former colleagues to celebrate some retirements. In a weird way, the pandemic has encouraged such contacts. That’s a good thing.
(M) Let’s give a much deserved shout-out to the hard working people who deliver and process the U.S. Mail. The Postal Service has been through an institutional ringer this year. It has been purposely made into a political pawn in spite of its workforce being both essential and frontline, placing themselves into harm’s way delivering our letters, packages, medicines, etc. They are all worthy of our support.
(N) The National Institutes of Health (NIH). Like its sister agencies, the CDC and the FDA, the NIH is yet another federal agency which found itself in political crosshairs this past year. I am grateful for the fact that they’ve (mostly) dodged all the bullets and focused on the science. When we eventually receive vaccines, it’ll be because of the assistance of hard-working medical professionals at these agencies.
(O) Our next president is by any measure quite ordinary, some might even say dull. This can’t be a bad thing. I for one am looking forward to far less charisma.
(P) The letter P is a tie this year: Let us applaud the professional work of poll workers for being a part of that frontline workforce in securing an orderly election.
In these economically challenging times, many families are struggling to put food on the table. Please consider giving to your local food pantry. If you’re not sure how, just click on this link to find a worthy one in your area.
(Q) I am grateful for those who self-quarantine after they’ve tested positive. Doing so helps stop the spread of the virus.
(R) Let us remember those who have died from the coronavirus (as of this writing they number 262,000 in the U.S. alone). While writing this post, I learned from cousins that I lost my 95 year old uncle to it. It is believed he caught it in the hospital while being treated from a recent fall. I’ll miss you, Uncle Bob.
(S) The earlier stimulus checks offered a lifeline to so many people in need. I hope that the lame duck Congress will get its act together and pass a second one before adjourning.
(T) I admit it: I’ve watched way, way more TV this year than I have in decades. My binging favorite? “Line of Duty” from the BBC. It is excellent.
(U). Medical terminology and concepts have never come easy for me. So during this crisis, I’ve found some of the medical experts on TV to be of great value to help me understand and connect the dots. My go-to guy in particular is Dr. Jon LaPook at CBS News.
(V) Vaccines! Soon, everyone, soon. Just keep wearing the masks.
[W] And speaking of masks, we’ve ordered all of ours from a woman in Louisiana who has a store on Etsy. If yours is starting to look a little ragged, I do recommend Wizard Creation Gifts. She does a great job at a reasonable price, and also ships them back to you fast.
(X) One thing this pandemic has done is really reined in the budget. There have been no extravagant purchases. Okay, okay, I cheated there. Sue me, “X” is a hard letter.
(Y) You and me. We can continue to make a difference here. It can’t be said enough: keep up those safety protocols because we’re almost there.
(Z) I look forward to the day when we’re finally at zero transmission rates.
From us to you, Happy Thanksgiving. Stay safe!