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Hey readers,

It’s Sunday night, the 3rd of January, and I’ve been letting 2021 “sink in” for a few days. If you’re like me, you’ve seen your share of challenging times during 2020. I know I have!

The year began with some of our Chinese friends telling us about something suspicious coming out of Wuhan province. They were right, of course, and many Chinese journalists who spread the alarm have either mysteriously disappeared or been jailed.

My high school shut down on St. Patrick’s Day, 2020, and we went to distance learning, which was another challenge. One week alone, I made more than 420 calls to students and/or their guardians to remind them of work that was missing, in order to prod them to get all work done. Then, everything went into lock-down, a time of extreme isolation. Many of my students were extremely depressed over the lock-down, and a couple attempted suicide. Thank God, they both survived!

Here, we couldn’t find many basic items. Household items that were scarce included bleach and toilet paper. Food items included bread, flour, and yeast. I thought of my many neighbors who had small children (and aren’t they always hungry?), so I did an inventory of my pantry. After discovering I had about 37 pounds of flour, plus yeast and sugar, etc., I started baking (you can see a picture of one of my loaves on my Facebook page). I made dozens of loaves of bread for grateful neighbors–and, as usual when you do for others, you feel better, too.

Then came summer, and more businesses went under due to the extended lock-down. People became desperate for social interaction, and as the lock-down became longer, people in many American cities became militant, going against local rules. Some business owners went to jail for disobeying local laws–while hypocritical people in charge flaunted the very rules they set in place.

Here on the coast in Alabama, we suffered a severe hurricane (Sally), which was yet another challenge. But neighbor helped neighbor and, amazingly, no one died in the hurricane (two people did while cleaning up, in the aftermath).

Then there was the fraudulent election of November 3, and the final results of this remain to be seen. So now we’re into 2021, which could turn out to be another roller-coaster ride. Glimmers of hope are here: the vaccine will soon be available to nearly everyone, and then people can get back to work and to some semblance of normalcy.

Two positive things I accomplished in 2020 were related to my writing. After first coming out in 2000, I revised, updated and re-published my “tourable history” book, AMAZING TENNESSEE, which is now available on Amazon! Also, I FINALLY wrote a novella I’d had in mind for a couple of years. In November of 2020, A COASTAL ALABAMA CHRISTMAS CAROL: A SOUTHERN SPIN ON THE CHARLES DICKENS CLASSIC, came out and is available on and my publisher’s website:

I’d like to hear about your experiences of 2020, and what you learned from them! Let me know how you’re doing, and how you like my latest books. Happy New Year, everyone! And God bless you all!