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Cindy Lange-Kubick: When this is all over … columnist reflects on 2020
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Cindy Lange-Kubick: When this is all over … columnist reflects on 2020

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New Year's Eve, 12.31

Clara Ann Kirkendall (right) throws 2020 balloons into the air on Dec. 31, 2019, during a Make-Believe Midnight at the Lincoln Children's Museum. After a year marked by a pandemic, many were ready to kick 2020 out the door.

Columnist

Cindy Lange-Kubick has loved writing columns about life in her hometown since 1994. She had hoped to become a people person by now, nonetheless she would love to hear your tales of fascinating neighbors and interesting places.

At the beginning of the pandemic, when gas was $1.78 a gallon and we kept our tanks full because who knew — who knew? — if the apocalypse was nigh and we’d need fuel to get across town to the home of the relative who’d stockpiled toilet paper and canned goods — a poem started circulating on social media, the way things circulate for good or bad, for right or wrong.

It went something like this: When this is all over may we never again take for granted a handshake with a stranger...

A crowded theater...

Coffee with a friend …

The words Laura Kelly Fanucci wrote made your throat close. The thought of what we had and then didn’t — so suddenly — have anymore.

We thought about that more — and then less — as time passed. The two weeks or six weeks or eight weeks of getting this crazy Wuhan (Chinese-COVID-19-SARS-Cov-2-Rona) virus under control, so we could go back to the way it was before.

We waited. We pivoted, donated, isolated, hunkered, quarantined. Zoomed, read, exercised, meditated, ordered comfort food, comforted each other.

We did spring, summer, fall.

No one we knew got sick. Someone we knew got sick. More people we knew. They got very sick, they died, their noses ran, it was awful, horrendous, terrible. It was nothing.

We put off graduations, funerals, weddings, baptisms, baby showers, dental appointments, massages, vacations.

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We delayed Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas. We ended preschool, play dates, we shut down Chuck E. Cheese.

We went remote.

We remembered the hacking cough we had last February, the two days we couldn’t smell or taste.

We called Anthony Fauci a wise man, we called him a scoundrel, a liar.

We gave blood and marched through Target without our masks. We called grocery store clerks heroes and rule-followers sheeple.

We sewed face masks for strangers and derided them as useless. Lifesavers. Tools of oppression.

It all got tiresome.

We got tired.

We fought like siblings in the backseat of the car on a very long vacation.

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We loved each other — deep down — and we hated each other, deep down.

We hated the media, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, the commissioner of the Big Ten. We loved cooking, takeout, Netflix, bike trails, sunsets, songs of people all singing the same thing in their empty living rooms.

People kept dying, mothers, fathers, grandparents. They were old, we said. They would have died of something anyway, we said. They didn’t really die of COVID, we said. We said, we said, we said.

A hundred people died, 1,000, 10,000, 100,000, 200,000, 300,000. More.

We said that was my grandfather. My mom. My brother, my daughter, my teacher, my doctor, my neighbor, my minister.

The billionaires got richer, the corner stores closed, the diners shuttered.

We watched church on a laptop, we watched football on a flat-screen, the cheers piped in, the fans cardboard.

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We made the best of it.

We argued about the truth. We believed our public health leaders, we sent them flowers, we sent them death threats, drove them to resign.

We got quieter, deeper, angrier. We were content, transformed, at peace, confused.

We looked up at the Christmas star. We were enthralled. We were disappointed.

We forgot what our desks looked like. Whose face that was under the mask.

We parsed data to prove our point. We swallowed Vitamin C and Vitamin D, we took zinc, we measured our blood oxygen, took our temperatures. We prayed. We mocked.

We became more partisan than even we thought possible.

We voted.

We did not give each other the benefit of the doubt.

Although we still could. Although we still can.

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We kicked 2020 out the door with hope and hoopla.

We longed for the vaccine, we refused to take it.

And we waited for the day — the day so far from here — when we could say: When this is all over…

And have it be so.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7218 or clangekubick@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @TheRealCLK

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Columnist

Cindy Lange-Kubick has loved writing columns about life in her hometown since 1994. She had hoped to become a people person by now, nonetheless she would love to hear your tales of fascinating neighbors and interesting places.

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