Gratitude 2020 From A-Z: Special Covid Edition

Source: Footwear News

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!

Athena Restaurant, St. Augustine
Source: VisitStAugustine.com

(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.

Source: Marketwatch

(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.

Source: St. Augustine Distillery

(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.

T-Shirt worn by some Postal Service workers
Source: Washington Post

(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.

Source: YouTube

(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!

34 thoughts on “Gratitude 2020 From A-Z: Special Covid Edition

  1. Great job! I’m sorry for the loss of your Uncle Bob and wish with all my heart there would be no more loss of life but based upon those news shots of the airports and projected gatherings today, I’m guessing we’re in for an ugly couple of months. Thank you for some good reminders laced with a little humor and snark which is always good for a person’s mental health. Happy Thanksgiving to you both. 🦃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Judy. These annual letters never get easy, although this year I thought it actually might be. Nope! My Uncle Bob was the proverbial great uncle who everyone loved. He thankfully was in charge of his thoughts and mental acuity right to the end, which enabled me to have some wonderful phone conversations with him. Happy Thanksgiving right back at you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Many good ones here although I don’t consider the current prez charismatic. More like dramatic like a 6 year old. I’m looking forward to less drama, more kindness. Take-out yes indeed. We’ve had mixed results here as some of the restaurants that didn’t do it regularly had to figure it out. We had a couple bad meals but not all. We had the most fabulous Chinese food from our regular Chinese restaurant this week and as always, it seems to last forever! We haven’t seen anyone (except doctors and grocery store workers) in weeks and I’m missing that. Those pictures of airports terrify me but I always remind myself that the media shows the worst. Penn Station (trains) was almost completely empty but they didn’t get any coverage. Fingers crossed as we go into next year and I will never again be bored by the ordinary.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I struggled with “charisma” but decided to keep it, though I certainly do lean more towards your own definition. I hope that you’re right about press reports over-playing the travel. I’m just agog that people would want to take chances like that. You’re right — Chinese food does seem to last for days (not that I’m complaining)! I’m never sure quite why that is, but it’s an endless lunch party with leftovers.

      Yes, ORDINARY.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic! Now I don’t have to struggle with a ‘for Thanksgiving post’ that has yet to be written! HA! You said it all.
    And for the record, while not a medical reporter, one of my fav reporters during these times has been Lisa DesJardins of PBS newshour because I love-love-love watching her cat on the couch at the back of her in-home office area!
    😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, that’s one of the things about reporting that I’ve found intriguing: we get to see inside some of these people’s homes. Another CBS reporter, Jericka Duncan, lives in a NYC apartment and she said she used to put her iPad camera up on a ironing board to do live reports. 🙂 Thanks, Laura! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Marty, I can see how (A) is first and also a priority on your (our) list. The not hugging evoked a visceral reaction, yet distancing important. You are right about how I am in more contact with some great people via Zoom and virtually now. A beautiful photo of you and Gorgeous. (The “grace, serenity, beauty” sentence should win you some extra husband points….not that you need any, Marty😊). Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Believe me, I get desperate on these every year! I thought a covid-centric one would be easier, but nope. As a fellow music lover, I wanted to include a “G” mention of a Genesis reunion this year (my favorite band), but since they never actually performed for obvious reasons, I’ll wait till next year to mention them. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Very good, Marty. This is a terrific list and one that we can all relate to. Great reminder to give what we can to our local food pantries. They will get an extra -large check from me this year. And, yes! I am looking forward to having an ordinary president for four – hopefully eight – years. Since you are three hours ahead of us, you have probably already enjoyed your Thanksgiving meal and are now fully committed to lying around wishing you hadn’t eaten so much. We’ll be there in a few hours. Happy T-Day to you and Gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Three hours ahead, but I don’t think my stomach understands that phenomenon! Glad to know you’re going to give to a food bank also, Janis. I tried to alternate in giving to the local one here over the summer with every political donation I made (it seemed only fair). But I am planning an end-of-year one to help them along further. I hope you guys had a wonderful Thanksgiving today.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great list Marty! We completely agree with “M.” Hopefully they will get out of the ringer soon. Also, I see a gorgeous painting behind Gorgeous. It looks like her work!? Happy Thanksgiving and safe holidays to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great list! But the “isolation?” Must be happening down in Augustine, cause it sure isn’t happening here. I’m fine with it. I’ve been a hermit for years…but I had to venture out the other day to get something. Shucks…I can’t even remember what it was, nor do I remember if I made it home with it. Anyway, I was standing in line on the appropriately marked blue circle that says “STAND HERE” and some bitty…with no mask… was right on my back. Oh well, I was packing, so I told her to back off and get on her own circle. She said “oh,” and stepped back about a foot. Fools and idiots. Fools and idiots!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not literal isolation fortunately! I meant it more in a limited way, such as what you’re suggesting. 🙂 These people who are getting together with family members and just not caring about the ramifications, ugh. I fear an uptick in cases from all of this in a few weeks. Glad you pointed that out to the woman in the store!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. debscarey

    Marty, what a superb list. Being (relatively) new to your blog, I wasn’t aware you put yourself through this Challenge every year – bravo! With my Life Coach hat on, I’ve just finished a series of prompts for a 30 day Gratitude challenge. It didn’t attract much in the way of potential new clients, but I was delighted to see friends pile in and enjoy interacting with the prompts and with each other. Thanksgiving is something we Brits could learn from you Yanks! 😉 Happy Thanksgiving indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Deb. Wow, 30 days of gratitude. That puts my little effort here to shame! Good for you in taking something like that on, and congrats on getting what sounds like was really good interaction from others on it. Yeah, Thanksgiving is a good holiday over here. It hopefully represents the best in us, or so I hope. 🙂 Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. debscarey

    It was only a few prompts more than you did Marty. I decided I could manage one (short) month, whereas the general length of Gratitude challenges last for the full year. I think it’s a good practice and one I’ll use more & prescribe for coaching clients

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Christie Hawkes

    I love this Marty. Thanks for reminding me how much we have to be grateful for surrounding this crazy pandemic period. I second everything you said! I have a daughter who works for the post office and one who is a nurse. They are both amazing, so I’m happy to see they made the list. 😁 I too appreciate Drs. Fauci and LaPook. Here’s to a strong finish to 2020 and moving on with gratitude into 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks, Christie. Kudos to both of your daughters for literally being on the front lines. Truly an act of public service on both of their parts! I completely share your wish for a strong finish for this year, and let’s all get to those vaccines in one piece!

      Like

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