A moving tribute

The year 2020. Don’t cringe and turn away, but 2020. What a year this has been. I’ve been around the sun almost sixty times, and I can honestly say that I have never seen a year like this one. I can also declare without reservation that I hope I never do again.

My parents, God rest their souls, would probably laugh at that statement. They survived the Great Depression. They survived several major wars, including two World Wars. My father was born during the Spanish Flu pandemic. My mother excelled in the corporate world when the glass ceiling was, in fact, thick, reinforced concrete.

Leukemia killed my mother much too early in life, and my father lived on nearly another forty years without her. Yes, l feel sure they’d probably laugh at my list of complaints about 2020.

Surprisingly, COVID-19 and this harrowing campaign year and election are not what I’m writing about this evening. No, as memorable as both occurrences were (and are), they are not the reasons this year will live on in infamy in the Townsend household.

Why? Well, we moved. Yes, in the year of the COVID pandemic, in the year that marked the crescendo of hatred, upheaval, and turmoil in the United States, we sold our beloved home of twenty-two years and moved to an area in which we’ve never lived. I’m so glad I don’t have a crystal ball, that I didn’t have the ability to gaze into the future and see what was up ahead. If I’d had that crystal ball, we’d have never moved, and that would have been a mistake. The thought of just how crazy things would get in 2020 would have paralyzed me into inaction.

For starters, home prices hit record highs where we live, with nine buyers for every home on the market. Our home sold for a price we’d have never dreamed asking, and it did so in a lightning-fast 36 hours. That was both the good news and the bad news, as we had to find a home quickly and beat out the other eight buyers who were sure to want the same house.

Still, the speed of the sale and the necessity to pack quickly were blessings, as I am embarrassingly sentimental. On Day One of packing, I lovingly examined every piece I touched, whether an heirloom trinket or a dirty sock with holes in it. By Day Two, I was shoveling said heirlooms and socks into contractor-size garbage bags without so much as taking a second look. We’ve been in our new home for 5 months now, and I’m still looking for things.

I’m not a mover. In my entire lifetime, excluding my college years, I’ve moved five times (including this latest time). My husband, on the other hand, changed addresses many times as a child. For that reason, he’s not a mover, either. This 2020 relocation was tough for both of us, to say the least. But we did it, and every time I think of that, I smile. We did it.

We’re a month away from escorting the year 2020 out the door – headfirst and without pomp and circumstance. It was a rough one for most of us, I think it’s safe to say. My heart feels grief and sadness for every life that this crafty virus stole. Families have been changed forever because of it.

My heart is pained when I hear and see the way the people of this country have conducted themselves over an election. Was it important? Of course it was. Was it important enough to burn the bridges that used to lead to friendships and respect, when someone had the audacity to disagree with us? Of course not. But burn them we did. I sincerely hope we have the strength and materials to rebuild them.

We’ll ring in 2021 in a new house, in a new city. “Change is good,” I keep telling myself.

It’s been a remarkable year. Painful, surprising, shocking, difficult. But as is true of every other situation in life that’s fraught with adversity, I believe that I am stronger and wiser for it. I believe good can come from it.

What do you believe?


Carole Townsend is an author, journalist, and columnist living in metropolitan Atlanta. She and her husband have been married for nearly 20 years, and during that time, they have raised their children and now delight in doting on their granddaughter. Through those 20 years, they have brought 6 dogs into their home and family, and they have loved every one of them well and thoroughly. When she’s not writing, gardening, cooking, or training Theo, Carole travels throughout the southeastern United States, talking to women’s and civic groups about being a woman, loving a family, and writing. Visit her at www.caroletownsend.com, Carole Townsend – Author (Facebook), @caroletownsend (Twitter), and @carole.w.riter (Instagram).