Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)

Life in the Pedestrian Lane: And the Winner Is …

I hope Joy is the one universal tradition we all maintained throughout this season, difficult though it may have been.

  • By Virginia Walters For the Peninsula Clarion
  • Saturday, December 26, 2020 11:25pm
  • Life

We are on the sprint to the finish. We are gaining daylight and five days from now, it will be 2021. I expect we are all happy about that. For sure, 2020 has been a year that will go down in history beside the Black Plague for creating a worldwide upset. Time will tell if it has spawned a new social movement.

Isaac Newton developed calculus while in self-isolation during the plague, they say — but for sure we read a whole lot more books, watched more TV, cooked more “real” food, may have indulged in more adult beverages and drank more coffee or tea. We attended meetings via teleconference or computer. Some of us worked from home. Kids went to school online, and generally we spent a whole lot of time reflecting on our past life.

We have learned more than we need to know about the election process in Georgia (and Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and Texas) and got a crash course in Supreme Court appointments, constitutional amendments, and the Electoral College procedure. We were a captive audience for a review class in high school civics, branching out into states’ rights, personal responsibility/liability and how to pronounce Kamala.

With so much background noise, Christmas almost seemed like an afterthought. The usual buildup after Thanksgiving wasn’t quite as frantically fun as usual. I heard someone comment that COVID had taken the Joy out of the season, and that may be true to some degree. The neighbor put up his lawn decorations but there were not many events or public gatherings. Didn’t even see one ugly Christmas sweater, but the general atmosphere was festive and happy when one ventured out to the grocery store or wherever. Christmas was in the air around town, if a little subdued.

My sisters and I indulged in a Zoom get together. We spent some time talking about our white hair. Our maternal grandfather’s family had glorious, fluffy white hair — like Santa Claus. Some of us were blessed with it and others not so much. It has been well over a year since we were together in person and hair color does change. And we talked about past Christmases. I’ve mentioned before that our parents collected “strays” so our Christmas Eve dinner table was full of family and friends. And lots of good memories. We lamented that we would all be having a quiet celebration this year.

In later days, our family spent Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with Hubby’s family. Essentially, TWO Christmases plus Santa Claus at home on Christmas morning. The kids were ecstatic. Lots of family and food and fun, not to mention presents. I always found it fortunate that we lived in the area where both families were present. It gave our kids precious interaction with both groups, and differing perspectives on the holiday. And it was always fun and happy.

So when we brought our young-teen kids to Alaska, we brought collective traditions, and then added a few the first Christmas here, and as the families grew and changed, a few more. The respective families would be surprised at how Christmas had grown to fit the circumstances.

I think that is what 2020 has done to the traditional holiday. Whether any of the new practices become tradition is still to be seen. But I hope Joy is the one universal tradition we all maintained throughout this season, difficult though it may have been.

The New Year brings us a vaccine for the virus, face-to-face school again soon and another economic stimulus check along with the hope we are on the road to an open spring. Happy New Year.

Virginia can be contacted at

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