Looking ahead to a better 2021

Jerry Apps
Despite the fear and chaos caused in 2020 by the pandemic, author Jerry Apps still found a way to live in the moment and take stock of the important things in life.

It’s over. We can turn the calendar from 2020 to 2021. What a year 2020 has been. I have not seen one like it, not even close, including the years of the polio epidemic when everyone’s schedules were interrupted and fear hung in the air like a dirty black cloud.

This past year has been one of disappointment, trashed dreams, and too often tragedy as loved ones and friends came down with the dreaded COVID virus

But even in the midst of all the chaos, I learned several things, as I am sure everyone else has as well. I’ve learned to keep going, to keep living a reasonably interesting life. I have had to adjust. I have learned how to work virtually—I don’t like it, but I can do it. I’ve not only become acquainted with Zoom, I have learned how to use it.

The pandemic has helped me appreciate the right now, today. Too often my mind has me a year ahead, more than that sometimes. There is a place for planning, but enjoying the moment is also important.

Oh, how important my farm has been during this COVID mess. The silence of a winter night, with stars winking and blinking everywhere. The call of a whip-poor-will on a spring evening. Fresh produce from my garden.

And most of all, oh how I appreciate my family, knowing that they will help Ruth and me with a simple phone call. How important this is for those of us in the autumn years of our lives.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: There is much to be learned when chaos and fear are everywhere.

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work, go to