Happy New Year!

Before we wade off into 2021 let’s all have a big collective sigh of relief. Now, let’s all say a big collective prayer that God will spread his mercy and grace on our cities, county, state, country and world as we try to turn the page on what has been a challenging year, to say the least.

It’s interesting to think back to the first of January 2020 and just how little we realized what was coming our way. I mean am I the only one who feels like January 2020 was five years ago?

So, I decided to go back to the PULASKI CITIZEN archives, all the way back to a simpler time, January 2020, to see what we were doing way back then.

We were celebrating achievement, celebrating baby new year, welcoming new doctors, mourning the tragic loss of lives, supporting and loving on our friends who were suffering, going to movie theaters to watch movies together, playing basketball in gyms packed with people, planning public events where lots of people would be standing within a few feet of each other.

We were buying stuff, selling stuff and celebrating the winners of the Fearless Forecasters Football Contest! The Titans even had a chance to go to the Super Bowl, playing in the AFC Championship game in a stadium packed with people!

We had devastating fires, there were meetings where people were all together in the same room, and we were planning to stand in line next to each other to vote in a presidential primary.

Teachers were in their rooms teaching. Students were at their desks learning. Businesses were open and businessing. Industries were actively being industrious. Workers were working... together... in the same areas!

Not a single photo in the January 2020 newspapers included a mask. We were just running around maskless and oblivious. Sure we had an inkling that something was amiss last January and February, but what it was and its impact on all of our lives wasn’t really clear at that time.

On Martin Luther King’s birthday we celebrated unity. The Chamber Bash was a blast! As January ended we started talking about Census 2020. As February started we had the Radio Auction for Community RFD and Highway 31 South was named in honor of MSG John Dorval Minatra.

Storms and tornadoes captured our attention as mid-February came along. In late February we celebrated Black History Month with a program at Martin Methodist College, which was still hosting a Smithsonian exhibit and planning to celebrate its 150th anniversary in July.

In March, Sundrop Fest was announced for June, but in the same March 11, 2020, PULASKI CITIZEN, the first signs of trouble emerged with a statement from county officials about growing concerns over Coronavirus.

By March 18, COVID-19 dominated the top half of the front page of the PULASKI CITIZEN.

We know what happened from there, basically we experienced the worst five years of our lives over the next nine months, and we aren’t completely out of the woods yet.

I’m not going to rehash everything that happened in 2020 after March, but it pretty much wasn’t what was happening in January and February. We became consumed with hand sanitizer, masks and, for some reason, toilet paper. We distanced ourselves, canceled events and even stopped attending church in person. People started getting sick, but Giles County was spared the worst of the disease until much later in the year. Businesses shut down, jobs went away and stores couldn’t get merchandise. The worst was when people started to get really sick and die.

Along with the pandemic came civil unrest across the country, protests, counter protests, marches and riots. Giles County and Pulaski entered into our own discussions concerning our relationships and our history. And, just to make things interesting, there was a highly contentious presidential election, the results lasting well into December.

It’s going to be interesting as we move through 2021 and beyond to see what effects will linger from 2020. To say we can go back to what we were a year ago would be naive at best.

Perhaps all that happened in 2020 was supposed to make us appreciate what we have, rather than complain about what we don’t have. That’s one possibility. I’m sure there are others. But I kind of like that one.

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

—Ephesians 4:31-32

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