Looking back at the previous year and looking ahead to the new year is nothing new, but this year it’s taken on a whole new dimension.
The previous year has left a lot of us weary and ready to move on. When we asked some members of the community what they’ll look forward to most after the pandemic, we weren’t surprised that “hugs” was something that was on the tips of people’s tongues.
“What I miss most right now is hugs. Hugging people I haven’t seen in a while, when I am excited to see them or when I know they could really use one. It’s the simple social interactions for me,” India Rose said to our reporter Geoff Currier. “A hug can also make such a simple difference in someone’s life. You never know what other people are going through personally at any given moment, and sometimes a big hug and compassionate smile can do wonders for the soul. The pandemic has taken all of these wonderful and friendly hugs away from us.”
We also asked the question about the coming year in our daily newsletter, The Minute, where a new administration was the top vote getter among a list of other things, including hugs. (President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Guliani is currently challenging the results of that poll in court, and will be holding a press conference at The Ritz Café.) People are anxious for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to take over in Washington, D.C. We’d say eager, but given the lies spewing from President Trump about alleged voter fraud (debunked by court after court after court), it’s an anxious time in the U.S. In a call recorded Saturday, Trump repeatedly urges Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes that will put him ahead of Biden in the state. He even threatens Raffensperger. “You know what they did and you’re not reporting it,” according to a transcript. “That’s a criminal — that’s a criminal offense. And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. And that’s a big risk.” This time, unlike that “perfect” call to Ukraine’s president that got Trump impeached, there is a recording that we’ve all had the opportunity to hear.
Jan. 20 can’t come soon enough, but there’s a long way to go before the healing begins.
The vaccine has us hopeful for the new year, but there is concern about the slow rollout of the doses. Operation Warp Speed seems to have hit speed bumps in distributing the vaccines. We were encouraged to hear Gov. Charlie Baker report on Monday that there is a plan in place to begin giving the shots to first responders next week. The hospital has ordered 275 doses for police, fire, and EMS employees on the Island.
In our informal polling, it also seems that people can’t wait to get back together.
“I’m most looking forward to hosting a dinner party with new and old friends,” Nevette Previd told us. “Nothing brings me more joy than eating locally harvested, foraged, and found food around a shared table with the ones I love.”
In a separate piece in our Calendar section, Island artists and musicians told Gwyn McAllister they can’t wait to get back with the audiences.
“I miss the dynamism and connection both among my fellow musicians and between musicians and the audience,” musician Jeremy Berlin told us. “The absence of live music, as player and listener, has shown the critical glue and glow that music provides for us all. I surely won’t be taking gigs for granted, and I can’t wait to get together with the band and some happy dancers and get it all going.”
We don’t fully understand — and perhaps appreciate — the importance of those personal connections until they’re gone.
We have an opportunity to get them back by continuing to do the right thing in the days, weeks, and months ahead. We need to remain vigilant by wearing our masks, social distancing, having good personal hygiene, and getting the vaccination when it becomes available to us.
We can get back to those hugs. We can get back to those gatherings. Better days are within our grasp.