Was There an Upside to 2020?

To say the least, 2020 has been a rollercoaster that seems to be traveling in only one direction…down. It might be easy to simply wish this year away, and hope that on January 1, 2021, we all wake up from what we can collectively call, “a year that sucked.”

But as I walked through my neighborhood this past autumn, a family pedaled past me, and the young boy laughed at his sister who was proudly riding a bike just recently void of training wheels. As I passed a house, I pick up a tomato from a table set in the front yard. On the small stand, read a sign, Please take one. An elderly gentleman waved to me from his front porch as I continued my walk.

Good or bad, this year has changed us all. While I don’t pretend it hasn’t come without serious consequences, it also came with a positive wave that we cannot ignore. We’re strong, and we will rebound from a global event that has knocked us off our feet. As I set down my rose-colored glasses, I can still see the upside to 2020.

  • This is the year families rediscovered their local golf course, introducing their children to an outdoor activity that had been on the decline in recent years. 
  • This is the year neighbors reconnected, setting up chairs on the front porch and actually sitting in those chairs.
  • This is the year we elected our country’s first female Vice President.
  • This is the year many people found time to pick up a book again, and discovered the delightfully quirky Schitt’s Creek or enjoyed binge-watching all seven seasons of The West Wing on Netflix.  
  • This is the year many women found their roots—literally. And decided to celebrate their natural grey.

Perhaps, as we look back, we can say, “I lived through 2020 and I’m a better person for it.” Here’s to 2021. Let’s all hope it’s a little less… surprising.

Heidi McCrary is a writer and a regular contributor to Moxie Magazine. Her debut novel, Chasing North Star is now available at Kazoo Books, This is a Bookstore, and Schuler Books. And online wherever books are sold.

Follow Heidi at heidimccrary.net and facebook.com/HeidiMcCraryAuthor

To Walk in her Shoes …

“Maybe you can go over and talk to the mother and son ahead of us,” the golfer called out to me as I started to drive the golf cart away from the couple, who are regulars on the course and not used to waiting for others. “They’re playing really slow.”

woman putting“No problem,” I said. “I’ll ask them. I’m sure they’ll be OK with it.” As etiquette dictates on the golf course, slower players generally allow faster golfers to play through. This is going through my head as I pull up to the mother, and together, we watch her ball careen across the green, before bouncing onto the rough on the other side. I smile before asking her if she doesn’t mind letting the twosome behind them play through on the next hole.

“You know what?” the mother says, watching her son putt. “We were planning on letting them play through because they’re pushing us. My son and I were playing just fine until  this hole. But yes, we’ll let them play through.”

I thanked the mother for her graciousness, and went on my way. It wasn’t until an hour later, as I spotted the mother and son walking off the ninth green, that I thought about the favor I asked of them. “How’d you do,” I asked, expecting an answer falling somewhere in between We had a great round and I just couldn’t hit a ball straight today.

But this mother’s answer was quite different. She stopped and put her hand on her son’s shoulder. “You know,” she said. “This has been a pretty rough day for us.”

“Our dog died today,” the boy added, bowing his head.

“It’s just been a hard day for us,” the mother sighed, packing up their clubs.

“I’m so sorry,” I said. “As a pet owner, I know how heart-wrenching that is. Would you like to go another round … on us?”

“No, but thank you,” the mother said, with a slight smile I hadn’t seen until that moment.

As they walked off the course, I thought about the day they must have had and how we all contribute to making someone’s day worse or better. Let’s strive for better.

Heidi McCrary – Author

What day is it?

Standing behind the counter at a local golf course on a beautiful summer evening, I accepted the cart key from the golfer and wished them a pleasant evening just as the phone rang. Answering the call, expecting the usual questions regarding tee-times and leagues, I was suddenly caught off guard.

Old_Lady_golfer - Copy“Hello,” a voice, obviously an older woman, said on the other end of the phone. “I’m afraid I slept in. Please tell the other ladies on my foursome to start without me. I’ll be in as soon as I can.”

I paused, not sure how to answer this request since there wasn’t a league in progress, and I assumed she must be talking about the league scheduled for the following morning, and included older women golfers. But I was confused how her sleeping in this evening affected her playing the next morning. Before I could respond with something resembling, What?, she thanked me and hung up.

Setting the phone down, I chewed on this one-sided conversation for only a moment before another golfer walked in, diverting my attention back to getting people on the course.

It wasn’t until a half-hour later, an older woman walked into the pro-shop, and I greeted her with a smile.

“Did I miss league?” she asked.

“I’m sorry,” I said, recognizing her voice as the one on the phone from earlier. “I’m not sure what league you’re talking about? Which league are you on?”

“What day is it?” She asked, as I saw her smile diminish, replaced with a look of confusion.

And that’s when, together, we untangled the mystery. This lovely lady had taken a catnap, and upon waking and seeing the clock showing 7:45, thought she had slept through the night, not realizing that it was 7:45 in the evening, not the next morning.

Embarrassed, she thanked me for clearing up her confusion, and sheepishly explained that she was 90 years old. I smiled and told her that it was a mistake anyone could make, and the fact that she was still golfing at 90 was a testament to her strength.

Let’s lift everyone we encounter. A smile with a guiding hand goes a long way.

Heidi McCrary – Author