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By Always On Watch
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2020 Christmas Letter

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Dear Blogosphere Friends, 

2020 – the Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic. I never thought I’d see the day that Americans were running around in masks! Some are even masked while driving alone in their cars – pure hysteria, in my view. Taking precautions is one thing, hysteria another. One of our precautions has been to postpone our planned moved to Indiana. Both Mr. AOW and I are quite high-risk for this virus. So, here we still sit in Northern Virginia and paying these outrageous real-estate taxes. Thanks, China. **heavy sarcasm** 

 This has been a sorrowful year for us. Our dear friend Patricia (aka blogger “The Merry Widow”), who helped us so much when I had kidney and other health troubles in 2016-2017 and who was also helping us with The Big Clean Out for our anticipated move to Indiana, died suddenly in Florida on March 29. What a terrible loss! Each of us an only child, Patricia and I considered ourselves sisters. She was planning to move with us to Indiana, too. We miss Patricia so much and on so many levels. 

This year, Mr. AOW and I have been having some health troubles – not a surprise for our age group (71 and 68, respectively). As of this writing, he is in Stage 4 Kidney Failure, and the doctors believe that the cause is long-standing diabetes and hypertension. My kidneys have been “acting up,” too; the treatment plan, if any, has not yet been determined. We’re doing our best to slog on. What other choice is do we have? Not much! 

Our other big personal news of 2020 is that we got a dog on September 3! Callie is an unruly three-year-old hound and Lab (and whatever else) mutt with poor training on nearly every imaginable scale – and nearly-total deafness, which her owner didn’t recognize before this mutt came to live with us. Her bloodlines and issues aside, Callie is adorable and has brought a lot of joy into our shut-in lives! I’m sure that our kitties Amber and Minxy don’t feel the same, though; they have had to cede to this canine brat quite a bit of in-house territory. 

The happiest time for us in 2020, annus horribilis, Governor Northam’s COVID measures permitting, will be another visit from our dear friend and this blog’s webmaster Warren. He plans to spend the holidays with us. A wonderful time it will be – even if doing the tourist thing is well nigh impossible with regard to the usual Washington attractions: the Smithsonian and other D.C. and Virginia tourist sites are either closed or have impossibly limited hours during this pandermic. Nevertheless, the Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia, is still, as of this writing, offering their usual dazzling displays; Warren and I hope to take in that beautiful sight. CHECK OUT THESE PHOTOS!  GLORIOUS! During the rest of Warren’s visit, all of us will be enjoying each other’s company. A wonderful gift in and of itself, especially during this time of lockdowns and isolated existence! 

Celebrating this Blessed Season and Merry Christmas to all who stop by here, 

Always On Watch 

Please enjoy my favorite choral Christmas song (composed by Richard Wayne Dirksen, 1921-2003, organist and choirmaster at Washington National Cathedral, and an important force in choral music here in the Washington, D.C. area):

The words for the above:

Welcome all wonders in one sight! 
Eternity shut in a span. 
Summer in winter, day in night, heaven in earth, and God in man, 
That He, the old Eternal Word, should be a Child and weep. 
Each of us his lamb will bring, each his pair of silver doves, 
Till burnt at last in fire of thy fair eyes, ourselves become our own best sacrifice. 
Welcome all wonders in one sight!


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