2020 and why I am thankful

My 2020 began on a ship on a thirty-day cruise around South America which resulted in being quarantined in our stateroom for nearly three weeks because of the virus. After the fact I learned we were exposed for days by eating with and flying with a friend who ended up in the ICU. Boo Hoo me.

On the other hand, four people died, many more were sick and others were stranded for several days after we finally docked. My wife and I were fine and hey, were able to take such a cruise. I am thankful.

A highlight of my week is finding an eight pack of Bounty Towels.

Like other Americans our lives have changed; more isolated, more cautious, a bit depressing. We have been avoiding our family, especially grandchildren to protect us and them. Our few visits were outside, at a distance and limited. That hurts. But all our family has been healthy despite a few contact scares. I am truly thankful.

My wife and I spent Thanksgiving alone, the first time in our fifty-two years of marriage. We prepared and devoured the full traditional meal … and several days of leftovers, with plenty of homemade turkey noodle soup still in reserve. The day was a bit sad, but we had plenty to eat and we had each other. I am blessed beyond what I deserve.

Now it is Christmas Eve, the virus is with us even more than it was at the time of our ill-fated cruise, hundreds of thousands have died, many more families have been devastated and economic hardship has expanded.

Our home is decorated as usual despite my grouching about moving boxes to reach all the decorations. The one exception is my fathers 100 year-old electric trains. I didn’t have the heart to put them under the tree with no grandchildren coming to play with me, so I just put the engine there to maintain some tradition.

Just the two of us tonight, no traditional party at my sisters, church will be via YouTube and aren’t we all thankful for technology this year. Just my wife and I, some traditional snacks, but couldn’t find any Baccala salad. Our memories of past Christmas Eves (even the time one of our children caught us decorating the tree and believing became more difficult) and just being together will suffice in 2020 … and we are so thankful.

Christmas Day will find us roasting a prime rib with all the trimmings… for two. The highlight of the day will be Zooming with our family, all twenty-one of the kids and grandkids. I hope I’ve got this technology figured out.

2020 has been a hard year, but for us, it has been one of inconvenience and for that no degree of appreciation will suffice. Every moment I enjoy one of my blessings, even just sitting next to my wife watching TV, I think of those not so fortunate.

But I also think of those who mock the pandemic, who refuse to follow preventive guidelines, who can’t resist gatherings or getting together with “just a few” friends or relatives as if somehow those folks have been isolated for the last year. And, I pity those who find some distorted concept of liberty as more important than living in an organized society with respect for others.

There is always something to be thankful for. There are always those who pray for what we may take for granted or bemoan as inadequate.

Merry Christmas!

11 comments

  1. Thank you for the great article and Perspective – I read your posts everyday and thankful for your insight and perspective.

    Merry Christmas

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  2. I was feeling a little down this morning about our isolated Christmas this year, but your post reminded me of the bigger picture. Thank you. I wish everyone safe and healthy holidays and a better 2021.

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  3. Knowing a balance between liberty and caution is something i will allow my fellow citizens to take up for themselves, grateful that both are afforded to us. Merry Christmas!

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    1. With liberty comes responsibility. Unrestrained liberty can only be achieved if it has no impact on others. The “themselves” part is the problem in this case

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  4. Thanks for a thoughtful reflection on the year Richard. Lots of wisdom and perspective we need. I also appreciated all the great information your shared this year, but one piece of humor still sticks in my mind. You had been trapped on the cruise ship for quite awhile and I remember you said you turned to your wife and said, “So what would you like to do today?” Or something to that effect. Anyway, that was a LOL moment from your posts. Thanks for putting out such good content and a bit of curmudgeonly humor from time to time.

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  5. Well said and I can’t agree more. Yes it has been a difficult year but if you have food on the table and a roof over your head and the love of family than God has blessed you! Merry Christmas!!

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  6. Some of the many things I appreciated this year were reading Quinns daily commentary, spending more time at home and looking forward to 2021.

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  7. Merry Xmas to you! Thank you for all of your essays this year. This was a really nice one, reminding us to be thankful for what we can do and what we have during this difficult winter.

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    1. Merry Christmas Dick,
      I am a daily reader of Humble Dollar which is the path that I originally took to find your website. Like you, I am a older person who is grateful for the many things you touch on in your post. Thank you for your ongoing commentary and this post in particular, I could not agree more.
      Best,
      Bill

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