Instead of looking forward to the new year, let’s reflect for a moment on 2021. What did you learn this past year? Here are several random lessons, learned by yours truly.
— You do not have to boil water to make Jell-O. Hot tap water is fine. How did I make it 60 years without knowing this? It does make me recall the days when we would use hot water to make Kool-Aid to dissolve the sugar.
— People die with Covid, vaccinated or not. As a person with a compromised immune system, I am thrice shot. Despite it, I believe I had a case of Covid in July that continued with a cough through November. Too many of my friends died from it. Some vaccinated, some not.
— The Woodstock concert was held outside of Bethel, New York, nowhere near Woodstock, New York. I also learned that one of my late friends, Steve Prince, one of those who died with Covid, had been to Woodstock. His death made me extra sad because I didn’t get to hear any first-hand stories about Woodstock.
— Chiropractors can help with foot pain. Dr. William Garl was able to fix my painful feet with some manipulation, ultra sound treatment, and with some advice on what kind of shoes to buy and where to get them.
—· Children swallowing magnets is bad, bad, bad. A young Amish friend of mine, Kate, has three pre-school aged sons. In early November, her two older sons were arguing over some tiny magnets, about the size of BBs.
The disagreement was a good thing because it made Kate count them and divide them between the boys: 28 each. About an hour later, she found her one-year-old son playing with them, with two in his mouth, and 50 in front of him. She knew immediately there had been 56 of them so four were missing. She instinctively knew he had swallowed them.
Kate called me and asked me to take her and her husband, and their son, to the hospital. After dropping them off, I took their other two sons to Mammi and Dawdy’s house (that’s Dutch for grandma and grandpa). There’s nothing scarier than answering the door after 9 p.m. at night, seeing a friend standing there with your grandsons.
An x-ray showed little Josiah had, indeed, swallowed four magnets so they were off, by ambulance, to Riley Hospital for Children. Mammi and I went to Indianapolis two days later to fetch them.
— Next lesson, learned by many people in Bremen, is that you cannot legally pass cars on the right, unless there is a dotted line separating the lanes, or a turn lane. In Bremen, if a car was at one of the two stoplights, everyone drove around them on the right. Everyone. Me, my neighbors, relatives, new drivers, old drivers…
Now that Bremen has put in bike lanes, and realigned all the lanes, we learned we were doing it wrong. Now, we have to wait patiently for left-turners. None of us like that lesson but I’ve noticed that almost everyone abides by it, now.
— Hot chocolate gunks up Keurig coffee pots. I learned this after throwing away two Keurigs, thinking they were just broken. If you make hot chocolate in a Keurig, clean it well before the next use.
— Deep-frying bacon is easier and tastier than frying individual slices side-by-side, in a skillet. This lesson was taught to me by Becky, the mother of my aforementioned friend, Kate. On a related matter, I learned it’s easy to be a vegetarian, as long as you accept the fact that bacon is a vegetable.
— The final lesson I will share from 2021 is this: Snakes will crawl into folded up tarps, laying on the ground behind your garage. And if you grab one of the said tarps and carry it across the yard, there’s a good possibility a snake, or three, will fall out and land at your feet.
My husband learned a lesson related to this, too: His wife will never again bring him a tarp.
Bring it on, 2022. I got this.