NBC News has has been asking people to send in their “last photo before lockdown." This is mine.
On Jan. 31, 2020, the History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation had its monthly luncheon. This is where I catch up with local media folk, including some former coworkers from the 1970s, when I was a teenaged intern in the newsroom of what is now KBOI-TV.
Standing with me are Marty Holtman (C) and Norm Gunning (R). That day, we celebrated Marty's 90th birthday and it was a lively afternoon.
It was also the last time in more than a year that I've dined indoors in a restaurant.
I thumbed through my 2020 journal this week to see when I first mentioned the word "pandemic."
It was Feb. 28, and I wondered on paper if the coronavirus would affect my son's April wedding.
By Mar. 3, the Treasure Valley Orchid Society board voted to cancel our annual Orchid Show & Sale, the theme of which was to be "Orchid Fever." Oh, the irony.
"I didn't want to vote 'yes,'" I wrote, "but this coronavirus scare has gripped everyone...I hate all the uncertainty."
On Mar. 12, the day after the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, I reported buying "an insane amount of groceries," and commented, "There wasn't a roll of toilet paper or a container of disinfectant wipes to be had."
Last time I was in a movie theater? Mar. 17, 2020. Last "unmasked" coffee date? Mar. 23. And so on.
As compelling as it is to look back on the last year, it's sad and frustrating, too. I'm so thankful to be healthy, but shed more than a few tears as the death toll rose. And I wish I'd used some of my quarantine days differently. I didn't want to waste a minute and had a long list of priorities, but found my motivation lagging at times.
There also have been sweet, unexpected moments – helpful neighbors, a surprise phone call from an old friend, fun in the kitchen with lots of new recipes.
I don't know about you, but I've learned a lot about myself in the pandemic. And of course, about sanitizing things.
Hang in there.