In December, we asked people to share personal stories of their experience in 2020. Here’s what they had to say:
A Note of Gratitude
By Margarete Tober
2020 started as a strange year for me, well before COVID-19 appeared on the scene in its full force. At the end of January, after spending a wonderful 2019 holiday season with my brother and family in Texas, I had a car accident. The car was totaled. I decided to take stock and try to minimize my life. I opted not to replace my car and instead find other modes of transportation.
Of course, we all learned about six weeks later of the enormous dangers with COVID. So in the middle of March, after having learned how to use GEMS, Uber and public transportation, I then became adept at sitting in my easy chair and ordering groceries, liquor and a plethora of items from Amazon online. I’ve also become an expert on occasionally ordering delivery food online. While I felt sorry for myself at first, and I’m still struggling with the fact that I don’t get out to see friends as much as I would like to, I was more concerned for my nieces, my baby brother and others who are still in the workforce. As it turns out, all worked out well for the nieces, and my brother announced his retirement at his 60th birthday party on Zoom. I made a decision not to travel for that, which I didn’t like, but I know it was the right decision. Who ever thought we’d attend various events – including weddings and funerals – via Zoom?
During this time that we’ve endured COVID, we’ve seen the good and the bad. We have had a presidential election, watched our local newspaper, The Gabber, die and then come back to life, and weathered Hurricane Eta. I prefer to dwell on the good that we have seen, and continue to hope that the negative will subside.
So many, including healthcare workers, government officials and the everyday man and woman, have tried so hard to make the best of and help our situation. Some people, sadly, lost their livelihoods, and others their lives.
Here in Gulfport, I’m touched by the many residents that have reached out to help other people – be it donating food to one of the pantries, helping others with storm clean-up, supporting our businesses, and the businesses that have endured the ups and downs. I’m especially thankful that the vast majority of businesses have also been so cautious with their protocals during this time.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also highlight the efforts of our local government. They have done a magnificent job, through long and hard hours. The city’s communication efforts have been stellar, despite the same not being so good on a state level. Mayor Henderson has become a local YouTube celebrity with his many informative PSAs. The police department, library and senior center have also offered virtual programming. The City of Gulfport was also one of the first municipalities, and I believe only small local city, to offer financial aid to its residents and businesses in need.
Long story short, I’ve been blessed to still be healthy and COVID-free, and I’ve not suffered financially. While this isn’t the way I wanted to spend my 68th trip around the sun, I am very thankful this holiday season for having been able to do so.