I Bought Extra

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Full disclosure, I didn’t come up with the idea for this column on my own.

As she’s done through the 17 years we’ve been together, my wife Autumn inspired me. Though this time it was a little more overt than usual.

Coming from German stock, she grew up with the traditional New Year’s meal of pork and sauerkraut. Of course, her tradition eventually became our tradition. Though since we both have a bit of a sweet tooth, we add a little (OK, a lot) of brown sugar to the kraut.

For those not familiar, pork and sauerkraut are served at New Year’s as a way to bring good fortune for the year ahead. Those seated together wish as many blessings (or fortunes) as there are shreds of cabbage in the kraut. The pork is meant to represent rooting into the new year as a pig roots (for some, it means simply looking ahead since pigs can’t look behind them).

As I was getting ready to head to the store to purchase our pork roast and kraut (we always cook ours in the slow cooker), Autumn said to me, “Maybe you should buy some extra.”

She laughed, not sure if it was at her own joke or the perplexed look on my face, and said, “We could use a little extra luck this year.”

Ain’t that the truth.

I think we can all agree that 2020 pretty much sucked. In my 39 years, I can’t think of a full year that was top-to-bottom as abysmal as this one. Other years had bad moments, of course, 2001 immediately comes to mind. The crash in 2008, the first Gulf War in 1990-91, but those were flashpoints.

This was just . . . different.

There were some good points throughout the year. We chronicled many of them in our Year in Review series. Getting to start Your Daily Local was another high point, hopefully for our readers as well as for us. But those high points just didn’t seem as plentiful this year.

So of course, I bought some extra.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m certainly hoping for a better year in 2021. I hold no delusions that masks and quarantines and social distancing will suddenly vanish from our lives, but seeing them on the decline would be a great start. A year without shutdowns or school closures would be pretty nice too.

For that, I bought extra. In fact, I may go get some more.