WARNING: Wear your mask while reading this. Due to COVID-19 and for your protection while typing this edition of the Bergland Bugle, I am wearing a mask, a surgical gown and gloves, a plastic face shield, a Stetson cowboy hat (I found a Homberg in the closet but that looked tacky with the surgical gown), two sets of tightie-whities, one Depends (I usually wear two…it’s the coffee) and a 40-gallon Hefty bag although a tight fit and Marti shrinks my clothes in the wash. According to Marti I clearly need the 80-gallon capacity. I now understand why they call them Hefty bags.
Let’s just get to the Merry Christmas point, shall we? What a screwed-up year! It is fair to say 2020 has been a cataclysm of Biblical proportion. Going in I had high hopes for 2020, if only because 2020 is simply a positive-sounding, nice, even number, not to mention great visual acuity. Being a successful and highly accurate retrospective psychic and a charter member of the IARP (International Association of Retrospective Psychics whose members’ retrospective predictions are in retrospect 94% accurate), as of 11:59 P.M. on New Year’s Eve 2019, I retrospectively predicted 2019 was going to be a net positive year (I am also a charter member of Procrastinators International).
As the clock struck midnight and January 1, 2020 arrived, things began to look a bit less promising. By mid-day I developed a 128° degree fever (taken orally, thank you asking), and had to stay home shivering in bed while Marti joined friends for pre-theater dinner to see our grandson starring (and actually paid) as Friedrich in Sound of Music at the Fine Arts Center Theater. Getting paid makes him a card-carrying SAG professional actor who apparently has a vote in the Emmy Award process so I am hoping Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure still has a chance at Best Picture. But, I digress.
I couldn’t smell or taste a thing, not even scotch; after multiple taste-testing it tasted the same as gin…and vodka…and Coors Lite…and Jack Daniels...and Yukon Jack and tap water. Come to think of it, the loss of smell has its benefits in the bathroom and saves on air freshener.
Marti suspicions I had COVID back then, a month before those hordes of disease-ridden Chinese invaded Seattle and targeted that ground-zero nursing home. She thinks I am the “Typhoid Mary” of the 21st Century. However, for the preceding 30 days I consumed no tartare of bat meat, raw monkey brains or powdered rhino horn I vehemently dispute her suspicion. Prior to that I had bat meat only once, for breakfast on an English muffin with hollandaise sauce, and to be clear, I ran out of powdered rhino horn in August. Ask me for my Ozzie Osbourne’s Bat Meat Wellington recipe.
2020 was (as you may have noticed) an election year, and we have been assaulted by something far worse than any pesky, internationally fatal Chinese-initiated COVID-19 biological warfare virus…I’m talking politicians here. Their incessant TV ads made mandatory home quarantine pure torture. I’d rather have intractable shingles or lose body parts to leprosy than have these political TV ads assaulting me 24/7. And thanks to social media, and smart(ass) cell phone, I experienced an onslaught of politicians begging for my money. Only one ad is arguably more annoying than a political ad: that obnoxious kid singing “1-800-Kars for Kids” (Come on, sing along: “1-800-Kar of Kids, Donate your car today”.
Conclusion: Politicians are far more annoying and visually toxic than those unwashed, lice-infested begging panhandlers at every American stoplight, and equally insincere unless you actually believe those cardboard sign appeals. “Anything helps”. Yeah, right, “anything helps” the local liquor store. At least buy eggnog…I hear Jack Daniels has a nice eggnog holiday offering.
So, despite COVID-19 and politicians and panhandlers, a few positive things did happen. I bought a hot tub for myself and a chain saw for Marti. She has been insistent we create a firebreak around the house, and she started the project, but it was moving slowly. Curiously, my old back and knee injuries started acting up just after she announced this intent to build a fire line. To assuage her doubt, I did the next best thing…I bought her the chain saw. Merry Christmas, sweetheart. I did consider getting her a Caterpillar d10, a favorite of wildland firefighters and Parker Schnabel. Besides, FedEx does not deliver a d10 and the d10 is a favorite of porch pirates.
Our youngest and hairiest son, Quincy, continues to reside with us although he is now three human years old which, as you know, is 21 in dog years. In a sane world this means by now he should, like any self-respecting millennial, be in college or working at Wendy’s or Starbucks or a carwash. Like the millennials of urban legend, however, he won’t leave our house, and mooches food, water, treats, and health insurance. He refuses to make his own bed, never takes a bath, and lays around sleeping 18 hours a day. And he spurns yard work and refuses to help Marti build the fire break. Kids today! No respect.
All three of our kids (I think that’s correct, three, right Marti?) are doing very well. The Ellsworths, Kristin, Rob, and their three (I think that’s correct, three, right Marti?), Melissa, Michael and Ryan, are so busy we can’t keep up attending all the events which was why we moved back to Colorado Springs in the first place. From civic theater to competitive swimming to soccer their kids are home an average of 3 hours a week. Matt and Ashley are getting closer to marital liberty…two of their three (I think that’s correct, three, right Marti?) are gone and only one teenager, Mia, is now at home and still practicing socialism. Sean and Niccole are out on their own, so we rarely see them these days although seeing them was why we moved to Colorado Springs in the first place. Nathan and Meghyn and all four kids (I think that’s correct, four, right Marti?) Kailee, Gabriel, Joshua, Camden live in Castle Rock, 40 miles north so we rarely see them, although that’s why we moved to Colorado Springs in the first place. We do talk to all of them on cell phone and texting…which we did from Estes Park. Life is so confusing. It just occurred to me, our grandchildren span the same number of years between my birth and marriage. Now, that is scary.
Marti and I wish you and your family, friends and all such loved ones the happiest and safest Christmas season. Pray 2021 is a better year, one finally free of this pandemic scourge that has decimated humanity worldwide. Pray that peace prevails over the evil that seems to challenge decency. Pray that the love and mercy and graciousness of our Lord Jesus Christ becomes the worldwide “epidemic” of 2021. Stay healthy…we will overcome.
Love, Marti and Bert