Like most of the world, we hyperventilated through 2020. We approached the start with optimism, excited we’d finally be able to participate in the activities we’d pushed aside, owing to our devastating motorcycle accident in May 2019.
In January, we journeyed to the Bellingham Art Museum, which had a fascinating exhibition on hats from around the world. A few weeks later, we went to the Seattle Garden Show, followed by dinner in Seattle’s Chinatown. Meanwhile, the first cases of COVID-19 on Whidbey Island surfaced at a retirement home a few miles from our home. I immediately took an inventory of our toilet paper, along with Wet Ones I’d been stockpiling for no apparent reason. After making several stylish—but not overly protective—masks, we hunkered down for the next few months, until it became time to start our vegetable garden.
We purchased an electric rototiller, which was easier for me to use than our broncing, gas-powered Craftsman. Even so, I did a mediocre job rototilling, hoping it was good-enough. For several months, nothing grew. And then everything grew.
Every week, Rich would gather up a dozen or more zucchini-pumpkin hybrids and discretely drop them off at the local food bank. We also had a large crop of beets, tomatoes (some X-rated), kale, red and white onions, lettuce, crock-neck and pattypan squash, pumpkins, corn, herbs, and a plethora of flowers, including wild poppies, peonies, dahlias, lavender, irises, hydrangea, wallflowers, sunflowers, and zinnias.
In-between working, Julie created ornate birdhouses, using buttons, gears, stencils, and paint. Too cute to hang outside, they ended up inside the greenhouse. She also painted several pieces of statuary that now decorate the garden.
During the warm months, we were regularly visited by wildlife, including a rare white deer. Other visitors were flocks of seagulls, covey of quail, flutters of hummingbirds, and swarms of doves, sparrows, chickadees, northern flickers, and occasional evil cooper’s hawks, peregrine falcons, and northern harriers. We also have lots of bald eagles, but they’re more interested in soaring than lunching on songbirds.
Having received a new prosthetic knee and lighter weight socket (attaches to his stump), Rich was able to walk on a rocky beach, using trekking poles, while I gathered rocks for my commemorative masterpiece, “Three dopey seals on a rock.” With improved masks and determination, we went on several small excursions, including hikes around Deception Pass.
In early September, we rush down to our Sherwood, Oregon house. A toilet had leaked in an upstairs bathroom, causing horrific damage. Now fixed, we look forward to selling the house in 2021 when the tenant moves.
While in Oregon, we enjoyed seeing Chris (Rich’s son) and his two children Coen, and Caitlyn, and visiting John Barleycorn where we’d had our formal wedding rehearsal dinner. On summer solstice, we visited Stacey (Rich’s daughter) and Shawn in Bremerton to see their amazing home remodel and don the same clothes we’d worn 18 years earlier for our civil wedding.
Throughout the year, Emilia and Everns, who live across the street, visited, sharing their exuberance, harvesting flower seeds, entertaining us as we gardened, and decorating our driveway with chalk drawings.
We also sharpened our cooking skills, making shu mai and sticky rice in lotus leaves, matzah (they was a shortage around Passover), breads, zucchini concoctions, and of course, our annual cookie and candy holiday extravaganza.
The outcome of our lawsuit, against the woman who caused our accident, was bittersweet. Our lawyer, a feisty woman, was relentless, and was able to prevent our health insurance companies from taking 100% of our settlement (look up “subrogation”). Ironically, the only assets the woman and her husband owned outright was a barely ridden 2017 Road Glide Ultra Harley Davidson and a nearly new toy hauler trailer, both of which are now in our driveway, waiting to be sold.
In May, Julie had a third surgery, adding a fourth plate to her tibia. She’s now fully healed. Rich is getting better-and-better with his prosthetic. All-in-all, we’re darn lucky, and looking forward to a more sane and satisfying 2021.