The year 2020 has been an “annus horribilis” but nonetheless, for me at least, it has flown by.
It seems like just yesterday I had never ordered Instacart. And now here I am with my front porch merrily decorated, not to welcome family and friends, but to share the season’s joy with delivery people. It also cheers me up as I return home from outings — walks, trips to the library, and curbside pickup.
My traditional front porch decoration is my grandma Christmas tree, a gift from my friend Melinda when my first grandchild was due nine years ago. The narrow floor to ceiling window next to the front door lets me enjoy Grandma Christmas from inside, too.
The window also allows my cat Pumpkin to watch as said delivery people leave packages on the porch. Why don’t they ring the doorbell? I will be sitting in the living room and be informed via email, complete with a photo, that a package is on my doorstep 15 feet away. Perhaps they don’t have time to engage with recipients? I would like to toss out a hearty “thank you” but perhaps others might want to exchange an actual sentence or two — and slow them down.
When my husband and I were renting a little house in Marysville while he was stationed at Beale Air Force Base in 1968, we knew to schedule an hour each month to deliver our rent check to the landlord. The older gentleman loved to talk and shared many times about being a soldier in France during World War I when suddenly people were running down the streets yelling, “La guerre est finie! La guerre est finie!”
Fast forward to today, when the enemy is the deadly coronavirus. Battles are being fought by patients and health workers in hospitals, and thousands still are dying each day. So even though it is Christmas, this is not the time to relax rules about celebrating in person with others.
I just read that one of the biggest obstacles to happiness this holiday season will be unmet expectations and the related emotions that bubble up. This is true in most aspects of life, isn’t it? Check those expectations and then every phone call, text or email received is a bonus, and every good thing that happens is a delight.
Christmas is also my half birthday, which meant more at age 8 than it does now. These days I can only be amazed that I am the same age as old people. I also read this piece of advice for older folks: If you can’t think of a word, say, “I forgot the English word for it.” Then people will think you are bilingual instead of slowing down.
I guess that is one good thing about sheltering in place — more time to read — but I think we are all tired of being part of a major historical event.
We end the year on a promising note as the vaccine is being distributed, although 2021 will undoubtedly present new, unimagined challenges. Regardless, it’s time to raise our glasses and toast: Farewell to 2020, the year I got a crush on an infectious disease specialist. (It peaked when I heard Dr. Fauci told children that he had personally gone to the North Pole and vaccinated Santa.) And here’s to when we finally are able to shout: “La guerre est finie!”
Editor’s note: Dolores Fox Ciardelli is Tri-Valley Life editor for the Pleasanton Weekly. Her column, “Valley Views,” appears in the paper on the second and fourth Fridays of the month.