Christmas Epistle

Newfoundland Barrett 2020 Christmas Epistle

Amy at Longwood Gardens 2019

Unprecedented, unpredictable, uncertain, unhappy: sure, 2020 was all of that. But here we are, looking forward to vaccines [ and convalescent antibodies ] which are expected to combat the viral pandemic, return more people to work, and free up society over time – to immunize the herd as it were.

2020 for everyone was a year to remember, to get beyond, to teach us something. For us, seniors living part of the year in a community generically known as a “Nursing Home”, this year saw significant restrictions to all aspects of life: dining, socializing, exercise, travel, even walking the halls. And there were some perks: packages and mail delivered to the apartment, en suite dining, mailed prescriptions, Face Time software enabling calls to family and friends, and Bergheim, our 42 acre place in the Pocono Mountains. This year taught us the importance of family, the relationships that we treasure most, those that must not be taken for granted .

Our last whole family birthday celebration dinner was at Go Fish in February; the next family birthday celebration at Judy’s On Cherry was November 14. After about a month in quarantine in Wyomissing, we left on April 1 to spend the next 7 months in the fresh air, completing several projects and a landscape refresh. As you might expect, without travel and limited dining possibilities, the pictures this year are mostly on landscape changes at Bergheim, and only a few of the family.

Still, in all of this we have felt blessed to be a part of an amazing supportive family. Pete and Helga work full- time, Calvin has spent the first semester on site but learning virtually, Tessa has been at home in virtual classes.

Paul is back to on site full time work with a limited workforce, Tracie is full-time on site, and Mason spends time divided between on site and virtual learning. Antje is full-time in her studio doing monogramming, laser engraving, and heat press applications; Laz is full-time on site and their three kids’ time is divided between on site and virtual learning. As far as I can tell, that briefly describes life for them: little to no parties, dining out. There have been some athletic practices, I hear.

On November 14 we all gathered in a “family only” room at Judy’s On Cherry to celebrate Amy’s, Pete’s, and Mason’s birthdays. We all were masked until time to eat. None of us, thankfully,  has had any illness since.

So, a year of great uncertainty and risk but one, now, mostly behind us as we begin the Advent discipline of watching and waiting to celebrate the birth of such a small gift who has had such a profound effect upon the world.

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