It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.
It was the age of wisdom; it was the age of foolishness.
These phrases, taken from the opening paragraph in Charles Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities came to mind this morning when I sat down to write my column.
Christmas 2020 is on our doorstep, waiting.
“Waiting for what?” the world asks. “It’s pretty grim out there. Doesn’t seem like Christmas somehow. Maybe if it would snow. That would help.”
Regardless of COVID-19, which has the world held tightly in a deadly grip, Dec. 25 will come and go, right on schedule.
It sure seems like bad timing, doesn’t it?
Doing a fast rewind of 2020, it is plain to see that the corona virus has touched each and every one of us in different ways. Many have lost their jobs. But, worse, far worse than the loss of income has been the serious illnesses and, in fact, loss of lives caused by the virus.
Yes, it is the worst of times.
But, even with all the sorrow and heartbreak, and fear and dissention that floats around and cannot be stopped by masks or social distancing or handwashing, lies the good and the wonderful and the unexplained, sudden surges of joy.
I’ve had a couple of those unexplained moments of joy drop into my world like a most unexpected but welcomed visitor lately.
The first one was when I heard my youngest grandson laugh over the phone. His laughter sounded like him, a little boy with the face of an angel (a somewhat grubby angel, but an angel nonetheless), who holds the wisdom of the world in his bright blue eyes.
And in that instance, I felt his little arms around my neck and his voice whispering in my ear. “I love you, grandma.” In my mind I saw his dear little face and I felt almost like he was there, in my kitchen stealing a cookie or sitting on the couch playing with my iPad.
Another unexpected moment of joy came from the oldest grandchild, who, at 18 is apparently an adult.
I asked for her help to pick out a present for her grandpa. And, in less than a heartbeat, she was there; dressed in pink net stockings, a short corduroy skirt and a jacket with the logo of some pony chuckwagon team on it that she had purchased from Value Village.
Her brown hair was in a ponytail and her smoky made-up eyes spoke of movie star status. She looked wonderful and when I saw her, I wanted to cast social distancing to the wind and wrap my arms around her dear, sweet self, but I just said, “thanks for coming, sweetheart.” And she said, “yeah, no problem, grandma.”
I have some other really good things that have happened, too.
And so, remember as the Good Book says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for everything under the sun. A time to laugh and a time to cry.”
My wish for each and everyone of you is to find your own special ‘time to laugh’ during this holiday season.
And kiss someone under the mistletoe if you can (same household, of course). And if you have no mistletoe kiss them anyway.
Merry Christmas, everyone and God bless.
Treena Mielke is a central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.