January 17, 2021

Picture says a thousand words about 2020, the brutal year we all wish could be tossed from our minds

Let’s face it: 2020 has been no fun.

On almost every level the year has stunk. Nearly everything we find fun has gotten ruined by the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, battered by severe weather or just plain exhausted from all the political stress of the year.

Baseball was an early victim. College baseball just evaporated. Professional baseball was unearthly with cutout fans and piped in crowd noises.

Summer vacations were largely different, either skipped entirely or served up into the new masked up world with a large side of hand sanitizer.

Thanksgiving was mostly a surreal affair with many celebrating via Zoom as thousands of us tried to replicate mama’s cooking.

And hopes of having a “normal” Christmas season are pretty much in the tank for most of us as well.

If you actually contracted COVID-19 or love someone who did, your memories of the year may very well be much darker, much more traumatic and visceral.

Mississippi is at record levels of new coronavirus cases and health experts tell us if you have a party or family get together with 10 people outside your nuclear family, there’s a nearly 20-percent chance one of those people is shedding the virus and from there, things could go south quickly, as in COVID-19 south.

So we found it quite fitting this week when a reader sent a photograph she took while driving in Natchez, Mississippi.

The image depicts a large, apparently life-sized Santa Claus decoration standing along the roadside next to a trash can, awaiting the end of 2020 and his unceremonious final trip – to the landfill.

As fitting for a 2020 scene with Santa, the absolute worst fate had come to this worn, tired Christmas decoration.

Santa’s decapitated head rests on the ground a couple of feet away, his broken arm nearby as well.

At first, the image made us chuckle the way one does when you see some odd juxtaposition captured in a single moment of time. But then the image made us sad. Even Santa, the centuries-old harbinger of Christmas giving has had a pretty rough year this year, in this case, tossed to the curb along with the scraps from last night’s dinner.

As we near the close of 2020, all we can think to say is: Good riddance and let’s look forward to a more normal, more livable 2021.

God bless, take care of your families and remember the Christmas season isn’t about Santa decorations, Memaw’s cornbread dressing, baseball or any of the other things we may have “missed” this year. It’s about love: The love God had for all of us in sending His son to save us and that Son’s commandment to us — to return that love to one another.

Merry Christmas, Mississippi, we love you deeply.

— Magnolia State Live staff