The Good Press — Issue #38: A New Chapter
What a difference a year makes! This week, an exciting new chapter in my life:
Hello and welcome to another edition of The Good Press, a newsletter of observations about life, sports, and/or anything else that comes to mind.
Thanks for reading. I hope you find this issue to be worth your time.
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A New Chapter
Six days into 2021, allow me to be among the last to wish you, happy new year.
I do sincerely wish you a happy year, even if my Wednesday schedule has me a bit belated, and I wish you a safe, healthy, secure, and prosperous year, too.
I’m excited to talk about what I’ve been up to so far early this year, but before I do, I’d like to flashback to one year ago this week, back to January 2, 2020.
January 2, 2020, did not start out as an inauspicious winter Thursday, but there were a lot of weird things that day that felt like bad vibes, in retrospect.
My partner and I had planned on waking up earlier than we normally do in order to put on our ski boots and hit the slopes before it got too crowded. I remember getting geared up to drive the few miles to the ski slopes from her parents’ Poconos cabin. We joke there are more deer than people out here, but I remember being unnerved that day when we saw a group of about five or six deer huddled together like a football huddle on our way to the slopes.
We drove by slowly because it was truly an odd sight. Five or six deer, heads together, appearing to be sharing a secret plot that they didn’t want us to hear. They perked up and looked at us cautiously as our car slowly rolled by them on the side of the road, and they huddled again once we passed them.
I have no earthly idea what stumbling past a group of conniving deer means as an omen, but I’d be hard-pressed to believe it means anything good after what came next. We got to the slopes, got our boots on, and I quickly realized that the ski boots I was wearing were not nearly as well-fitting as they had been when I’d tried them on in the house and walked around in them some.
My feet were cramping before I could even get my feet locked into my skis. It was incredibly painful and frustrating, and I ended up enduring our time on our slopes that day more than I enjoyed it. I had plenty of other fun ski days that winter, but on January 2, 2020, it was clear that it just wasn’t our day.
My partner and I had the house to ourselves that day, and after we had dinner with a family friend that night, we had the whole evening to ourselves, too. I lit a fire in the fireplace, a near-nightly occurrence in the house here. The chimney flue was open and we had burned a creosote sweeping log recently, which is to say, we did not anticipate any problems that night.
That’s why we were so surprised when the room started getting so smoky.
We still don’t know what caused the chimney side of the wall to catch fire.
The insurance adjusters said that they thought that animals had built a nest inside the chimney somehow, clogging it enough for the chimney to get so hot that it set the wall on fire, leaving us no choice but to make a 911 call.
The firefighters said that they truly could not believe that more of the house did not catch fire. The damage was substantial, requiring extensive repairs, but the fire captain in charge of successfully saving the house from going up in flames would not take credit for keeping the damage so relatively isolated. He just said that it was astonishingly lucky that the fire hadn’t spread more.
In Other Words
January 2, 2020, may have been the worst day of my life. Unfortunately, it ended up being a harbinger of the trauma to come in the cursed year of 2020.
I’ll never forget how scary it was. I’ll never forget the look on her face and the sound of her voice when my partner called her parents to tearfully tell them that the cozy home away from home was in jeopardy of being lost forever.
I vowed to myself that night to make sure that she is never put in a position like that ever again. It doesn’t matter how or why the fire happened. It’s my job as a partner to ensure her health, happiness, safety, and security, and on January 2, 2020, I was unable to do that. I hated how that felt. It shook me.
The perspective I’ve tried to keep since that night and throughout the disastrous year that was 2020 is that things could’ve been so much worse.
We are the fortunate ones at a time when so, so many have suffered worse.
2020 was not the final chapter of our lives and January 2, 2020, was not the final January 2 of our lives, either. It’s 2021, and it’s time for a new chapter.
That, my friends, is why I wanted to make January 2, 2021, something special.
She is my whole world and that’s why I am so delighted to announce that my partner is now officially my fiancée, as of this past Saturday, January 2, 2021:
Shortly after midnight, when the Friday of New Year’s Day 2021 gave way to the earliest minutes of Saturday, January 2, 2021, I hugged her and sat her down before we went to bed and reflected with her on the anniversary of that fateful day of the second day of that awful year. We talked about the emotions of that day, how we’ve grown since then, what a year it had been.
I expressed how my motivation to make her the happiest lady in the world has gotten ever stronger through the turbulence we’ve endured, and about how I wanted to ensure that January 2 would be something more, something worth smiling about. That’s when I popped the question (she said, “YES!”).
January 2 is no longer a somber anniversary. From this year and evermore, January 2 will always be the day that we became engaged to be married. You can call it our “phoenix rising from the ashes” moment if you’d like, but to me, it will always be a reminder of the promise I made to protect the love of my life, a promise that I’m proud to have kept throughout this awful pandemic so far.
That battle isn’t over, of course. The pandemic is still threatening us, still keeping us hunkered inside through our winter hibernation, still wreaking havoc all over the country and the entire world, even with the vaccine here.
As I wrote last week, I’m confident that with vaccinations, masking up, and keeping a safe distance, we can collectively end the pandemic this year. COVID-19 may never fully go away, but 2021 should be the year that history remembers as America’s collective “phoenix rising from the ashes” moment.
Let’s hope so. It’d be nice if our joyous January 2 can set the tone for 2021, just as the previous January 2 set the tone for such turbulence in 2020.
I hope exciting new chapters of your life are in store for you this year, too.
By now, we’re starting to see the first wave of Americans who are getting their second vaccination dose, giving them 95% inoculation from COVID-19. Doctors, nurses, scientists, medical researchers, et al. have worked so hard to get us to this point. It’s so wonderful to see the fruits of that labor paying off.
Stay safe out there, folks. I know I say it nearly every week, but when you see what’s happening in places like Los Angeles right now, it’s so, so crucial to do everything you can to avoid being a grim statistic. There is daylight breaking over the horizon, a new day dawning after a year of darkness. Keep holding the fort a few months longer, and together we can all make 2021 “our year.”
Remember that each day is what you make it, no matter what a rogue group of deer may be scheming up behind your back. Things might not always go as planned, but we should cherish the gift of being able to get up, dust ourselves off, and get back at it. We will all face adversity this year and beyond, and how we respond to adversity is everything. We are the authors of our stories. Whatever chapters are to come, I hope you write something meaningful.
So here’s to 2021 being a year that we can reflect upon fondly someday.
2020 is so last year, anyway. Onward and upward.
Till next time,
Previously in The Good Press
The Good Press — Issue #37: Resolve
Resolving to make resolutions more meaningful this new year
December 30, 2020
The Good Press — Issue #36: Opportunities
Some sports thoughts, the Jets being the Jets, Dan Le Batard moving forward from ESPN, and creating opportunities
December 23, 2020
The Good Press — Issue #35: Natural
This year has felt anything but natural, but it feels a little less unnatural every day
December 16, 2020