And Then Again by Tamara Pettit

…..The Christmas tree is packed away and I have said farewell and good riddance to 2020. I welcomed the New Year in a subdued and tentative manner afraid that if I so much as acknowledged it had arrived, 2021 will be worse then it’s predecessor.
…..Last week we had 25 obituaries, the most we have printed in one issue in our six years of publication. Since we had taken Christmas week off, last week’s edition included two weeks of obituaries. This week’s edition, however, is only one week and includes 21 obituaries. Our sincere condolences to our friends and neighbors. Please wear your mask, social distance and refrain from gathering in groups. The vaccinations are near and those charged with the responsibility of getting them to you are working diligently to do so.
…..Shannon and I reflected on our thankfulness that Hometown News is still standing at the end of 2020. Actually, it was more like “I can’t believe we made it” as we welcomed the New Year. It’s been a tough year for us and for many of our colleagues in the print media. In the midst of it all we took a shot and launched our online edition proving that we are nothing but hopeful. The paper has been a two-person endeavor and its existence is totally contingent that both of us are able to do our respective tasks. I have often said that the paper could go on without my column, but without Shannon to put the editions together and send them off to the printer, the paper wouldn’t happen. Luckily we’ve stayed healthy and have limited our time out in the public.
…..Normally I care a lot about fashion, but I draw the line at matching my mask to my outfit. If we do that, we are admitting that these masks are part of our everyday lives and begs the question: does that mean we will live with them forever?
…..Is there any better time to have a pet than when home is the place you are spending most of your time? Due to his short snout, Max is a snorer. His snore has become the background music to my day as he dozes and cuddles.
……The changing of the guard in county government took place last week as Joe Barnabei, Sheriff Ralph Fletcher and Prosecutor Jim Davis concluded their respective terms. While Fletcher moves onto Magistrate, Barnabei and Davis leave office. I must have seemed like a Pollyanna when I approached Barnabei after his last Commission meeting to say “there is life after loss.” I was speaking from personal experience though and in no way meant to minimize the experience of an incumbent losing an election. But, I also know that had I not lost the House of Delegates election many years ago I would not have experienced the career opportunities that came after that loss.
…The announcement of the micro-wave grant, however, was a great announcement to make at Barnabei’s last Commission meeting. When I heard there was an announcement forthcoming at the Commissioner’s meeting, however, I had the far distant hope that maybe the WV Dept. of Highways was announcing a change of heart on the selection of Alt. 5A for the alternate route 2 through New Cumberland.
……While Gov. Justice has put winter sports on hold until March, the Greenbrier Resort held a large New Year’s Eve celebration in the Casino according to WV Metro News. Sen. Wm Ihlenfeld (D-1st) provided a video to Metro News of celebrants, some maskless, partying in the casino in strict violation of the Governor’s own order which forbids gatherings of more than 25 people. I watched the video and I was appalled at the revelers dressed in tuxedos standing in a crowded casino celebrating without masks. While Justice maintains his daughter Jill runs the Resort, his name is listed as CEO. I guess she wouldn’t be the first daughter to ignore her Dad’s rules, but the more important question is what now? The County Health Department could shut them down…..or the ABCC could revoke their liquor license…..or how about the State Lottery Commission pulling their gaming license? I doubt that any of the above will happen, but how do we explain to our young people that they can’t play sports, but it’s ok for the wealthy to party? Rules are rules and the politically connected need to abide by them as well.
….But, in his explanation, the Governor coined a new phrase as he said “Gosh dawg….” That may be combination of “Gosh darn” and “Hot dawg!”
…As many of you know (and some of you don’t) Bill Kiefer and I were married a few weeks ago. I tell you this because now that he is officially my husband that makes him fair game for mention in my column. He is a joy.