For many of my friends and neighbors, COVID-19 has made 2020 a horrific year, filled with constant redundant news stories about infection rates, suffering and death.
To make my year even worse, every event I was looking forward to attending was cancelled, and with restaurants, bars, plus anywhere people gather, out of action, my wife Pam and I have suffered Cabin Fever, big time. From our governor’s “stay at home” order, to everyone wearing a mask making it impossible to tell when a friend is smiling and glad to see you, plus heaven help a person who might want to shake hands, or give someone a hug, has made the world a different place.
But besides the COVID thing, I have been overwhelmed and at times very frustrated with the endless paperwork, and inconsistent individual company rules, related to handing the affairs resulting from the passing of my 99-year young mother last March. Lately, even with my being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it has been no less unsettling.
So, when my son Ernie informed me my granddaughter Briona was scheduled to compete in a fast-pitch softball tournament in St. George, Utah, and invited me to come along for the ride, I was more than ready to escape, pack up, and head out with them.
But on arriving in Utah, we realized we would be experiencing more than just a softball tournament. St. George is a beautiful area, very fresh and clean, with the hills and hardscape covered in orange. We carved out some time to sightsee, and visited Snow Canyon, a Utah state park, and then drove to view the majestic St. George Mormon Temple. Next, we arrived at the location of Brigham Young’s summer home. Built in 1870, we only got a view from the outside, but it looks to be meticulously maintained and cared for.
In addition, one afternoon there were no games scheduled for our team, so the coaches and parents decided to take the players to “Sand Hollow,” which features boats, personal watercraft and inflatable paddleboard rentals. We were able to erect our shade right next to the water and relax. All while the players got to swim, paddleboard, and take a ride on the boat their parents rented.
Yet we were in town for a fast-pitch softball tournament. It has been exciting, with an extremely high skill level being demonstrated by the participants, coaches and umpires. It is even more impressive, considering we have been watching 14- to 15-year-old young ladies, who only play for the love of the game. So far, the games have been hard-fought and extremely competitive. My granddaughter’s team has been doing incredibly well and has posted a record, of being on the side with the highest score six out of six games, making her grandfather proud. There are two final scheduled for tomorrow, so you will have to wait until next week to find out how it all turned out.
Yet, 2020 would not let any opportunity escape without inflicting more sorrow and pain. At 7 a.m. of the morning we had planned to leave, the phone rang to alert us Pam’s brother Terry Taylor had ended his multiyear battle against cancer. Terry was a real fighter and did not give in easily. He loved life and his family dearly. I remember Terry as always being ready for new challenges, and he recently achieved his lifelong dream of becoming an ordained minister. Terry joins his sister Kathleen, and brother Patrick in heaven, along with his adoptive parents. Terry and his brothers and sisters were fortunate to live in a time when Lillian and Albert Taylor were deeply concerned with the well-being of others, and decided to adopt and care for all four of them.
When I left on this six-day adventure, I was ready to “toss off” all the frustrations of living in Santa Clarita’s COVID-19 2020, and even if there may be only one more day before we travel back home, witnessing people enjoying themselves with their families and friends again, is the best “stress reliever and attitude adjustment” you could ever imagine. I am very thankful for having had this opportunity, and I realize, even as there is a time I must return to reality, everything will be OK.
As a result of this trip, I have relearned what I have always known. Nothing is more important than your relationship with family and friends. So, no matter what COVID-19 and 2020 throws at me, I will handle it just fine, because I love my wife, my family, my friends and my life.
Alan Ferdman is a Santa Clarita resident and a member of the Canyon Country Advisory Committee board.