Finding Thanks in a Thankless Year

by Willa Condy

2020 started as most years do. The Better Half and I started planning out our next great adventures. Every year we plan out what exciting trips we would like to do. Sometimes the timeline is during that year. Other times it is more of a two year plan.

My niece had moved to Newfoundland in the fall and we were planning on possibly going out to visit. I had always wanted to see the icebergs that float by St.John’s harbour. I had never been to the Maritimes and it sounded like a trip of a lifetime. We were talking about letting her get settled and then invading.

We also had booked a cruise for early 2021. We usually book in advance and then spend the time dreaming of the shore excursions and how nice it will be to be warm when the snow is falling. We booked a cruise down the Mexican Riviera for next February. We started discussing if we were going to stay a night in San Francisco or spend an extra night at Northern Quest before we flew out for the cruise.

We heard about the spread of the Coronavirus in China in January. That was the first large cloud in the year. Next we heard about the rapid spread of this virus as it crossed countries, then continents. The clouds seemed to be gathering and getting darker. Then it really started pouring.

In March Covid-19 started canceling meetings and gatherings. The world got smaller and I finally understood a new meaning of a bubble. Borders were closed, travel restricted and airlines canceled flights.

We stopped socializing with friends and started limiting what we did and who we saw. This was a brand new world that we were walking in.

As more information came out about Covid we started understanding more about this pandemic. The restrictions were going to be temporary, or so we hoped. It was a new normal and 2020 was shaping up to be a different year than any we had ever had. I pulled out my sewing machine and made masks. Hand sanitizer and liquid soap became part of the daily routine. As did the 20 seconds or longer hand washing ritual.

It is easy to dwell on the negative of 2020. But to be honest that would be a little short sighted.

Yes, even in a year with life turned sideways I am grateful.

We planted an extra row or two in our garden. I am grateful that we had enough of a garden to share with the local food bank and some of our neighbours who weren’t healthy enough to have a garden. My parents lived through the dirty thirties and our gardens were always important. With so many people’s lives impacted, being able to donate veggies is something I am really thankful for.

I admit I miss my family. We did manage to go out walking with my nieces and have a visit while staying separate this summer. I am thankful that we could have that visit. I have family members with health issues so staying separate isn’t fun but it is safer for them.

We may not have seen them much in person but I am thankful for the technology. This year with seeing relatives thousands of miles away made the distance vanish. We chatted with family, attended meetings and socialized via Zoom, FaceTime and Facebook Messenger.

At the start of this year I thought of Zoom as a noise children made while playing. Now my week revolves around my various Zoom meetings. I am very grateful for that.

I am very grateful for our dog Roxy. Getting her at the start of the pandemic has given me hours of laughter and enjoyment. The B.H. has stayed busy walking her every day and the time outside is good for him. To be honest I enjoy the hour he is out walking. It gives me a bit of a break as well.

I am grateful that my family has been relatively healthy this year. The B.H. has had some issues with his shoulder and we are far from spring chickens, so we have the standard aches and pains. That doctors (and vets) are able to do virtual appointments and stay safe. It is easier to sit by the phone waiting for my doctor than to sit in the doctor’s office. We have better internet at home.

I am grateful that I have a roof over my head and food in the freezer. Our last tomatoes from our garden have now been harvested. So have our squash and other veggies. I am grateful that our neighbours gave us some strawberry plants and I am already dreaming of picking berries next spring.

Currently Roxy is barking at the B.H. as she thinks it is time for lunch. He is fussing at her and she is fussing back at him over what time lunch is actually at.

In a year with so much upside down I am grateful for surviving 2020. I am part Irish and I admit I have relied on humour to help cope this year. I am grateful for parents who showed me how to laugh and joke even in hard times.

In a time when we usually stop and reflect on our blessings I am grateful for all of mine. I can honestly say I am blessed.

Willa Condy was born and raised in the West Kootenay. She is married, lives in Trail with her “better half” and their dog Roxy. Willa is part of the baby boom and loves photography, music, writing and having fun. Her email address is

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