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Welcome to a fresh decade

2020 is finished. By the time this pops up in the Sunday edition, we’ll have charged over the invisible threshold. We can throw our arms around a new year and a new decade. I’m eager to shake the dust of a burdensome year from my sneakers, reaching for the hope that life will return to former times — maybe better.

Some Southern Oregon county cousins, including Coos, Douglas and Lake, have lowered their virus status for practicing safety and improving numbers. Jackson and Josephine will remain in the extreme category for at least a couple more weeks. We sense the dawning of the age of no virus. Fire victims are being helped. I say blindly, happy New Year at last. So, now, a subdued yet deeply meaningful celebration.

To illustrate, I just set out butter to soften for chocolate chip cookies. My number one NY resolution is to pack on as much weight as possible before I can no longer blame COVID. The clothes in my closet may fear I’m not joking and mourn their uselessness. As with the fall Medicare commercial barrage, I will mute Marie Osmond, who annually moves nearer a paper cutout of her former self.

The good Old Farmer’s Almanac is a favorite resource for passing along interesting facts when the well runs low and adventures are rare. Many favorite NY traditions involve food. Don’t all great traditions?

In the Netherlands, consuming any ring-shaped treat is considered good luck, especially if it’s a donut. The reference is having come full circle. Any excuse to eat donuts rates highly. Those zany Swiss apparently drop blobs of whipped cream onto the floor, leaving it there to symbolize the richness of the year ahead. They must have dogs and/or small children.

Since this is Southern Oregon Journal, and I’m not above a good stretch, eating the Southern dish Hoppin’ John guarantees a prosperous year ahead. Hoppin’ John was said to have originated with African slaves in Georgia and the Carolinas. The main ingredients are black-eyed peas (some Southerners swear by field peas), thick bacon or ham hocks, onions, rice and seasoning. I’ll toss in collard greens if I can find them in the yard. Served with hunks of steamy cornbread, it sounds like a fairly painless way to pave the road ahead with richness.

If the ball dropped in New York’s Times Square, but there was nobody to hear it, did it make a sound? Apparently so, as this year’s descent was celebrated before a spare audience of frontline workers with their families. The first drop happened in 1907, the same year the world’s first air force was established in the U.S., along with UPS delivery. The iconic celebration has occurred every year since with the exceptions of 1942 and ’43 because of WWII dim-outs. The ball itself has evolved into an amazing mass of artistry, weighing nearly six tons and measuring 12 feet in diameter. Decked out with 2,700 Waterford Crystal triangles, it boots out the old and embraces the new in high style.

Predictably, the 2020 Dover celebration will have been the scene of toasts, classic movies, popcorn and prayer. I may stare at the moon contemplating the magnitude of this one year and the toll it has taken, while the neighborhood goes manic with fireworks. Then again, I may break out the spoon and Revere Ware — a joyful cacophony to possibilities.

Let’s run to greet 2021 with energy equaling our expectations. A year is only as redeeming as we allow — good or bad. With one foot in each decade as I write, I’m dreaming of live music venues opening to appreciative concert-goers, packed theater houses and restaurants, and churches full with grateful worshipers.

When it happens, though it may be a slow healing, we’ll be thankful for a time, having been reminded of blessings and the brevity of life. We must be in the home stretch.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer with a stuffed opossum. Reach them at pcdover@hotmail.com.