A promise to keep on keepin’ on

How does one best express gratitude?

That thought kept coming up as I sat down to write a column for this week’s paper. After the rush of a holiday season that was so different, I found myself in our quiet mountain house on an unseasonably warm and sunny day pondering the year to come with more than a little excitement. This is going to be another memorable year, and I can’t wait to push forward.

Nowhere to go but forward into 2021

This year has prompted a reckoning unlike any in memory, so we’re all looking to put a bow on 2020 and call it done, right? 

You only get to do this once

 “… one of the most significant facts about us may finally be that we all begin with the natural equipment to live a thousand kinds of life but end in the end having lived only one.” — The Interpretation of Cultures, by Clifford Geertz

How do we get from here to there, from youthful idealism, optimism and boundless energy where the whole world is your oyster to a rewarding life? Some people  know right from the start where they want to go and what they want to be, but for lot of others, me included, it was a process, a step forward and one backward, but always moving. Do you adventure or buckle down, go back to school or learn life lessons? Stay in a relationship or move on?

I like calling North Carolina home

When the Lyft driver asked where we were from, our answer was, “outside Asheville, in the mountains.”

His reply: “Wow, the mountains and the coast. You’re getting the best of both worlds.”

Shop local, be safe

I’m semi-quarantining in the week leading up to Thanksgiving due to a potential exposure to COVID. At this very moment I’m working at my stand-up desk enjoying a homemade hot mocha made with freshly roasted Colombian coffee beans from Steamline Coffee Company. It’s damn good coffee.

No time to let down our guard

If you’re feeling COVID fatigue, it’s no wonder. 

It seems this all started “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” We could be so lucky. In fact, it was one year ago, Nov. 17, 2019, that the first case of the novel coronavirus emerged was reported from a seafood market in Wuhan, China. At least that’s according to Chinese government data that was reported in the South China Morning Post.

Finding a way past the divide

Can we bridge the divide? That’s the most fundamental question facing us as Americans as we sort out the post-mortem of the 2020 election. Is there a way forward that will forge a common bond as Americans that will be more fundamental to our personal identity than political ideology?

It won’t happen easily. No, I feel certain that in the short term the landscape will be littered with the wreckage from retribution, pride, fear, ignorance, accusations, etc. A long election season is dragging on, and too many of the major players are too entrenched in their distrust of the other side. 

Is it OK to just be satisfied, even happy?

As the sun began its descent on Monday —  the eve of Election Day — I sat down to write this column and my thoughts turned to happiness and satisfaction.

I thought about being in a place, a state of mind, where one can look at one’s life, both into the past and into the future, and perhaps break into a small grin and say something like, “Somehow, surprisingly, I’ve managed to create a pretty good thing, a life and a family I never imagined for myself. I’m happy.” 

Separating news and facts from opinions

A message came back to me from an advertiser via one of our ad reps. He said we needed to quit running so many “liberal” articles.

This newspaper has been my life and a 21-year labor of love, so I always listen intently to criticisms and critiques. Especially in cases like this, where I’ve known the business owner for years and know he’s no dummy. I feel certain the criticism is of our opinion pages, where the overwhelming number of letters this election season has been in favor of Democratic candidates for Congress and the state legislature or from those against President Trump.

As school gets going, a lingering anxiety

Elementary schools will open their doors and welcome students back over the next few days, and middle and high schools are getting into the groove of remote and in-class learning. Planning by administrators and teachers has been underway for months. 

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