Sitting Next to the Pickle: An Overview of a Year to End All Years

On the last day of 2020 I embarked on this post. Finding a pen that worked became a Herculean task. Everyone knows 2020 sucked worse than any other year in history. I am not sure I want to get into writing a Top Ten lousy year list at this point but in my lifetime this has to be number one. The good news, if you’re reading this, you’re still alive! That’s got to count for something. The real story is going to be answering the question what did you do during the pandemic? It’s hard to imagine how my answer, that is sure to include mention of the phrase “fetal position,” will be received. Oh yeah, 2021 is not bringing the virus to a halt. This isn’t over but there’s no reason to give up or to stop creating and doing the things necessary to work through the challenges of our times.

The Hits

This piece caught readership right after I posted it. I was able to elaborate on this story when some of the news stories I researched had skimped on details. I love learning where ideas come from and how inspiration, knowledge and experience crystallize at the moment a thought becomes fully formed. Scott Wayne Indiana was gracious to explain it. There’s more to the story of tiny horses tied to iron rings and I appreciated the concept evolving to the point of becoming a long standing series of cultural landmarks.

The Sleeper

I’m sure I’m not alone when I had that moment or two when I didn’t know what to do with myself during the stay at home order. Sure people get used to stuff, the confines of jail, an endless daily commute, but a sequestering was unknown territory. Luckily, I had a backlog of story ideas and old photos. These were for topics I may never written about and I didn’t have to leave the house to hunt for a story.

My Spring Cleaning series allowed me to get a better sense of who Stanley Grochowski was, learn what the phrase “chinga tu madre” means  and it had me thinking a whole bunch about a movie screening I went to ages ago.  These were stories I thought I’d never write. My “factionalized” account of the meeting of Bernie and Bonnie comes to mind. No details are worth being left unexplained or unmade up!

The Missing

The Turkey of Saint Johns is still missing. I feel like I’ll never find that bird. So, I mythologize. It’s a vision as rich as Dante’s encounter with beer tricks, I mean Beatrice. It leaves me wallowing in a long lost memory that’s evolved into an annual literary parody set to the tune of a lonely Turkey gobble. I put my English majorness on display every Thanksgiving exploring literary forms that have run the gamut from last paragraphs of famous novels, a screenplay, biblical passages and this year’s poetry parody. I found out T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land didn’t translate to turkey talk. I needed something more famous and simpler. Orbit favorite, Bob Frost, who I’m sure befriended many a turkey, sprang to mind and the rest is poultry history. I miss that turkey but I can put my melancholy mindset to rest, at least until we get closer to Thanksgiving.

In conclusion, and I think even Ms. Yuchmow would advise me not to start a concluding paragraph with this phrase, it’s time to let this past year and the use of in conclusion go. There was something out there, bigger than us all. Laying low was the antidote. Like Trump once said, “it’ll disappear by April,” well, maybe he was talking about April of 2021. We can play the waiting game. We’re stronger mentally and there’s nothing stopping anyone from dealing with the pandemic in all the other ways needed to get through it.

Stay strong America!


This Christmas I was given a cardboard cutout of myself along with season tickets to the Blazer home games. The tickets were for my cardboard likeness. When I went looking for myself, I found me in the back corner of Section 105 “sitting” next to the Portland Pickle mascot. A weird bitterness, not unlike the taste of a pickle, came over me along with at least one bad pickle joke about vinegar aftershave. My inner tirade was followed by the realization that of all the people in Portland, there was no better choice. Somebody nailed that seating chart. Expect an interview with a Pickle at some point in the new year. 


Here’s to a whole new year and a whole new life. You get a new one everyday. Don’t waste it.


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