January 20

On January 20, 2017, I watched the inauguration highlights on my laptop in my very small apartment on Main Street. I had just finished editing a business self-help book called Good People. In addition, a few days earlier, I had turned my apartment into a part-time Airbnb. I was single and an empty nester.

On January 20, 2018, at around 3 am, I clocked out of my sorting job at UPS, and on my way to Deb’s (my girlfriend’s) apartment picked up some White Castles. On the drive to Kirkwood, I listened to Rachel Maddow: the government shutdown . . . leaving the Paris Climate accords . . . a women’s march . . . Mueller.

On January 20, 2019, Deb and I signed up our daughter Joyce Elizabeth McConnell for occupational therapy. Joy was five weeks old. This was not the first Joyce McConnell in my life. My mom’s name was Joyce McConnell from 1960 until 1989 (except for a six-month period in 1978-79). (In early February 2019, I would quit my job at UPS.)

On January 20, 2020, the first confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States was diagnosed in Seattle. The patient was a man who had recently returned home after visiting family members in Wuhan, China. Coincidentally, I had a severe cold and was weak and miserable for weeks. Joy was starting to pull herself up to sit.

Today, January 20, 2021, I felt a tremendous sense of relief. Although 400,000 Americans have died of COVID over the past year, the vaccine is now available to some Americans. The pace of vaccinations is going to accelerate. At 8 am, I took Joy downstairs to breakfast. We watched some music videos after breakfast. We had occupational therapy at 11 am while Joe Biden was being sworn in. Later, I watched the highlights of the inauguration, with Joy on my lap and joy in my heart.

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