People like it when I write about funny stuff. So do I. It usually means I've chuckled all the way through just remembering it. Just typing the headline took me back to Lilly Tomlin and a skit she did as a switchboard operator and if you know what I'm referencing, you're old!

Some of the controversial topics that I've written about have made my phone ring, and in a good way. I suppose for some of you, you either said, "whatever" and moved on. And for some, you might have growled. For others, well, they give me a call. Then I get to visit with complete strangers with people I've never met in real life. People want to share their stories with me, because, they too need to talk. They want to be heard. I'm not sure what it is, I suspect people might be online more this year, but I think I've made more acquaintances and friendships through this website this past year than I had in the previous 10.

Sometimes, just saying something makes people feel safe saying whatever it is that they aren't sure they can tell someone else. And I listen. And I still remember these conversations. But I can't write about those stories, because they aren't mine to share.

Some of them are heartbreaking and a direct result of what we're all going through and the fear everyone is living with. Some have resulted in incurable health conditions that should have never happened, pandemic or not. And these are the stories that I think have me a bit down tonight.

The phone sometimes rings with someone angry from the same article and has a completely different take on it. I think that means I did something right when you can get opposite reactions out of one article. Quite frankly if we can't talk without screaming at each other, it does no good to have the English language. It does give me a bit of whiplash when this happens back to back, as it did a couple of weeks ago. I went from being very sympathetic with one caller to grabbing the other hat off the shelf that said, "Okay, they didn't get the same thing out of that article as this person." And that's fine.

Face it. We're never going to agree on everything, and if we did, it would be a very dull world. In the past year, there hasn't been an awful lot of lighthearted anything happening. While the buildings are still standing around us, everything in life feels like it has been gutted. But as we always do, we get up, and figure it out. We change, we adapt and dig our heels in and keep going. We might be gritting our teeth, but we're still going.

Unfortunately, the last year has brought out the worst in some of us. That also makes me sad. I get some of that fallout too, and I don't even mind that. I figure, some of the rudest people just need a bit of extra TLC, and if they are taking it out on me, they're leaving someone else alone for a little while.

When I write, on this page, I feel like I'm writing o a bunch of friends," and I guess I feel like for the most part you are, or you wouldn't be here. I might be your crazy aunt, but I hope if nothing else I give you something to think about.

One of my college classes that I enjoyed the most was counseling. I thought about that the other day when I hung up the phone. Sometimes you just need to listen to people. Let them talk. Hear them out. Try to understand where they are coming from. It won't hurt, I promise. It will, however, keep you awake as you ponder their situations and yes, even say a little prayer for them after they've hung up.

I believe the Governor said March 8th of last year is when we had our first cases of COVID arrive in Iowa. It hasn't even been a full year yet. If you stop and think about it, we've gone through a lot of emotional things. Some of us have gone through some financial difficulties and some of us have lost loved ones. Some of us have gotten very ill, and some just slightly. Some of us have been scared to death, and some of us are unsure how scared we should be. Some of us have gotten our vaccine and some not yet. We've gone through an election, AND all the campaign ads leading up to it, WHILE in quarantine and some while teaching from home. Our kids missed out on some of those once-in-a-lifetime events and we tried to make it memorable anyway. We've figured out what a Zoom meeting is and how to participate. We've used our email more and conducted more business online than ever. We've sure put iVinton to good use this year.

In all of it, we're still loving our neighbor, lending a hand when we can and for the most part, we're doing alright. We might be a bit worn and weary, but we're still moving forward.

We don't agree on everything, but in 100 years, what's going to matter is what they read about us when some relative look us up. They'll find a little article called an obituary. In it it will list all of the good things that we were. The things that people remember about us. So let's try to make those last lines a good read.

Take time to listen to someone who needs an ear. Listen especially if they are tired and worn out from life in general. Listen if they are angry. Listen if they disagree with you.

In everything happening around us, or not happening, whichever the case may be, after we shut off all the noise, we're all just the same person. We're trying to figure out this thing called life. Some of us look like we've got it all together, the rest of us are dragging our knuckles and waiting to evolve. But we're all here together in different places in our journey. Grab your neighbor and help them get through it. You'll make it a better place.

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Comments (2)

Well written !!!! I told people in just two words this --- ENJOY LIFE.
By: Marlyn Duncan on February 26th 4:32pm
Thank you Ms Close for such perfect words for where we are today!
By: Teri Phillips on February 26th 10:07pm

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