Dwight and Barbara (back); Jim and Pat Edwards (front) on board a train in Alaska.
LORANE – In the summer of 2018, my sister and brother-in-law, Barbara (I call her B.J.) and Dwight Isborn, moved from their beautiful home above Cottage Grove Lake to an equally beautiful home in Redmond, Oregon, where they’ve always wanted to live — out of the rainy winters into the cold-but-sunny, snowy ones. The problem with that is, they left family behind in Lane County and none of us enjoy driving the snowy passes between here and there during the winters. As a consequence, we haven’t spent any of the winter holidays together since. With the arrival of the pandemic in 2020, we haven’t gotten together as a group for a year now and even though we are relatively close in distance, they might as well be living on the East Coast. B.J. did make it over the hill this summer for an outdoor, socially distanced, memorial service of an extended family member, but she drove home the same day, and one day during the early part of spring, before the mandates, she and Dwight came over to see their daughter and we all had lunch together in Cottage Grove, all properly masked.
This Christmas, I made B.J. promise me that she would rein in her gift buying for us. I promised to do the same, as I had decided that we would mainly just get gifts for our little ones in the family. She reluctantly agreed and a week before Christmas, a package arrived in the mail from them. I was late in sending theirs because I had been waiting for an online order. When it hadn’t come in time, I put together a couple of token gifts for them — a jigsaw puzzle for her and 3 pairs of socks for Dwight — as promised. When we opened their package on Christmas day, we had a good laugh. They sent me a jigsaw puzzle and Jim 3 pairs of socks. We thanked each other for the great gift selections and came to the conclusion that we could have saved a lot of postage if we had just kept the ones we bought.
I miss them.
Like so many others, I am anxious for the people of our nation to get enough vaccinations so that we can once again lower the restrictions that are keeping us from our loved ones, our jobs, our schools and our good friends and neighbors.
I want to get away from the television news shows with their reports of political divisiveness, the occasional days of wearing pajamas all day, taking naps in the afternoons, trying to focus on the various projects I have taken on, and eating way too much.
I want to get on with the pending sale of our store; to be able to travel while we’re still able; to once again be able to research and work on the book I put aside in 2020. Most importantly, in 2021, I want to freely hug our family and friends in greeting, take caravan vacations, and go to chick-flick and Disney movies with my daughters, granddaughters and great-grands. (We do invite any male family member along who wants to go, too.) I want my great-grandchildren to experience what “going to school” is really like — the excitement of walking into that pre-school or kindergarten classroom for the first time to take that first step of independence. I want to be able to eat out again.
I think that what I wish most for our country is for the huge, deep wound of division to begin to heal; that our leaders in all branches of government — executive, legislative, and judicial — reach out to us in kindness and concern, regardless of party, and to each other in order to not only heal that wound, but to make any remaining scars fade.
Happy New Year — 2021, and God Bless America!