SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Column - Commentary

Ho, Ho, 2020 Ho.


December 23, 2020
Wednesday AM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
This is a different holiday season.

Masks, social distancing. People insisting that everything is normal and then having to get a footlong Q-tip shoved up their nose.

jpg  Dave Kiffer

Didn't see this coming last holiday season, for sure.

The other day, I was trying to think what was on my mind 12 months ago and it was hard to erase The Hallmark Channel's "A Covidian Christmas" from my thoughts.

I'm sure I wasn't pondering having to stay six feet from everyone else and washing my hands obsessively with sanitizer.

If I had, I would have converted my apple shares into toilet paper and paper towel futures.

Didn't know I had apple "shares" 'did you? 

Well, many, many, many years ago, I "invested" in Ketchikan's first "apple" orchard out the road. One of my school chums insisted that (really!) Ketchikan is a good apple growing climate and that we'd make a killing once his trees got up and blooming. Well, they didn't. And we didn't.

But I digress.

I do know that 12 months ago. I was looking forward to getting off the island and going to see my son play some baseball down south. Turned out that watching that baseball in early March in Spokane was the last bit of "normal" for 2020. There was this growing concern over something that folks were calling the "beer virus." It had already popped up in Seattle, but over in Spokane there was little concern, no social distancing and no masks.

By the time we returned to Ketchikan, it was already time to start getting up close and personal with those super-swabbing Public Health nurses.

Speaking of the "beer" virus, you have to wonder how the makers of Corona beer managed to get us all so quickly on the same page to start calling it COVID 19. They were looking at a brand name Armageddon and some how we all shifted away from Corona Virus to COVID 19, which was the real name anyway (was Dos Equis the first to call it Corona Virus?).

Sorry, I digress again.

Of course, national and state and local elections were approaching on the horizon like an enraged water buffalo (didn't like getting the Q-tips stuck up his nose either). We were just starting to be bombarded with the soon to be incessant TV and radio political ads and the first telephone surveyors. You could tell they were early surveys because once they found I was an old white guy from Alaska, they thanked me for my time and hung up.

Talk about being typecast!

Yes, I am an angry, old white guy. But not because of politics. I am angry because every time I want to do something on a computer, I have to certify I am "not a robot." To a computer!!!

I also remember looking forward to 2020 being a normal weather year.

Remember we had actually, just that fall, come out of a "drought." As much as any place with 100 inches of rain could be considered "droughtish." Still, it was a drought and the lake levels were low and we were cornering the market on diesel generators to make up for it and everybody was clamoring for "renewable" energy even though it would cost tens of millions of dollars to establish those energy saving options in Our Fair Salmon City.

Then, 2020 being 2020, we had our wettest summer ever.  Which itself is a marvelous atmospheric joke. We could have the wettest October-November ever and no one would blink a waterlogged eye. You're supposed to be drowning in those months. But only if you have a decent summer to make up for it. Now twice in the last few years we have had record summer rainfall.  Fiddlesticks!

But at least it was a good fishing season, right?

Doesn't everyone say that the fishing is better when it rains because the salmon are closer to the surface? Not this year. And since the few salmon that returned had trouble getting up the creeks, well so much for the next few years.

Natch, you would think that all that summer precip dried out the clouds.

And you would be wrong.

in the last week or so, we just had the wettest eight-day stretch (22 inches) in Ketchikan since 1920.

Why? Because 2020. That's why.

Which leads me back to "A Covidian Christmas."

In this story, a stressed-out career woman from Seattle comes to Ketchikan to de-stress. She meets a hunky, plaid wearing Ketchikan fisherman (who actually has a PHD in molecular biology but prefers to fish). He teaches her the true meaning of Christmas and they live happily ever after.

Actually, when they meet, he is delivering her a meal from a local restaurant (because he needs the money after the horrible fishing season), they are both wearing masks and hazmat suits.

Neither falls madly in love with the other because, well, they can't see each other and - anyway - it is pouring down rain and there is no time for "meet cute" small talk.

At any rate, she is in traveler's quarantine for the next two weeks anyway.

Ho, ho, ho.




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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.

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