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Reflecting on a most difficult year

Reflecting on a most difficult year Reflecting on a most difficult year

As I sit here writing this column on a Tuesday night, it occurs to me that it is nearly the end of the year. In just three more weeks, 2020 will be coming to an end. I think I speak for everyone when I say, thank goodness.

It’s been years since the entire nation, let alone the entire world, went through a year as hard and as traumatic as 2020. It seems everyone also has a 2020 story — a tale to tell of more woe and sorrow. Friends of mine have lost mothers, grandmothers and friends or businesses this year. I myself lost my good friend Jo, and two friends of mine just lost kin.

As 2021 looms ever closer, I am reminded of those we have lost — actors like Sean Connery and Max Von Sydow, entertainers like Alex Trebek and singers like Bill Withers.

So many others passed away in silence, grieved by few, as COVID-19 made for small and subdued weddings and funerals.

A hard year indeed.

But time moves forward, and ever onward, and like all travelers, we are carried on its waves to far shores that a year ago might have been foreign and alien. And here we all are, on the opposite end of a year.

2021 looms big and large and bright as a new penny. It welcomes us and offers tantalizing new opportunities. We as a nation, as a species have weathered the worst health crisis in over 100 years. A vaccine is on the way for COVID-19, though we need to be vigilant.

It’s going to be a dark winter, darker still if we don’t take sensible precautions. Just as my Thanksgiving was a quiet occasion, so too will my Christmas celebrations. I intend to stay home, cook a meal, and then FaceTime with my family and friends who are spread throughout the world.

I’ll find happiness in my own way, just as I did over the weekend. If you happened to be in Abbotsford on Saturday, you might have wondered what was going on with the traffic. For hours on end, visitors — old and new — descended upon Abbotsford to see the annual Christmas parade. Not even the coronavirus could overcome the will of Kris O’Leary, and as the saying goes, “The show must go on.”

I stood outside for several hours and waved to passersby as this year’s Christmas parade was a drive thru event. Most waved back and thanked me and the other volunteers for allowing them to see the familiar floats and characters associated with the parade.

I was cold and afterwards I stayed behind to push the floats back in their year-long resting place. I helped take down decorations, and when it was nearly done I marvelled at what had just happened.

Events, like years and days and months, come and go. They remind us that time moves on and that there is always joy to be had, if you know where to look.

I don’t know what 2021 has in store for us, but after this year, I am certainly looking forward to it.