The great poet Alfred Lord Tennyson once wrote, “Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering ‘it will be happier’...”
If this most perceptive of all writers meant things can only get better, and we have something good to look forward to, it is appropriate for 2021. Things have to get better next year. We can’t go through another year of death, suffering, health guidelines and shutdowns that we experienced in 2020.
First, though, a salute to some notables we lost: Raymond Allen, Tony Allen, “Sweet Pea” Atkinson, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Orson Bean, Leslie West, Honor Blackman, Sean Connery, Mark Blum, Chadwick Boseman, Wilford Brimley, John Thompson, McCoy Tyner, Johnny Mandel, Diego Maradona, Kobe Bryant, Neil Peart, Terry Jones, Kirk Douglas, James Lipton, Kenny Rogers, Max Von Sydow, Bill Withers, Brian Dennehy, Shirley Knight, Irffan Khan, Florian Schneider-Esleben, Roy Horn, Little Richard, Jerry Stiller, Fred Willard, Ken Osmond, Bonnie Pointer, Ian Holm, Joel Schumacher, Carl Reiner, Nick Cordero, Charlie Daniels, Kelly Preston.
All will be mourned and missed by a generation of history lovers, sports fans, readers, TV watchers and moviegoers.
It was a year of political turmoil generated by the coronavirus as voting dates were postponed, canceled or moved from one time to another. The Black Lives Matter movement broke out, the climate change movement took over the space the -MeToo Movement withdrew from. Aggressive global trade policies that caused rifts between the United States and its allies.
Locally, the biggest story was how COVID-19 ravaged the Twin Counties for almost a year. Democrat Antonio Delgado had to fight to hold on to victory over Republican Kyle Van De Water of Millbrook for the 19th District congressional seat. Jobless rates soared in Greene and Columbia counties due to the pandemic. Waterfront development in Catskill ground to a halt just as other major developments fell.
A significant exception was the new Greene County Jail, which rose as the number of inmates in state prisons plummeted. Films and TV series continued to be shot in Greene and Columbia counties. The opioid epidemic, largely forgotten amid the coronavirus, showed no signs of weakening.
Streaming replaced moviegoing in 2020. Warner Bros. will release 21 films on cinema screens and TV screens. And “Kajillionaire” and “The King of Staten Island” are getting Oscar buzz.
For what it’s worth, Happy New Year! And, as Tennyson wished, let’s hope for a better 2019.