Here we are. November. I have not been looking forward to this month because there’s no claim to summer anymore. Winter is coming and so are more challenges, deeper challenges.

The election is in two days and I think a lot of us have anxiety about it in ways that we haven’t had in the past. There’s so much on the line and yet divisions aren’t going to be settled by either outcome.

Of course, the pandemic continues and will grow worse as cold weather sets in. Many are predicting that the coming weeks and months will be some of the darkest days in American history.

What makes it worse is that there is no September 12th unity amongst us, as we head into such troubling times. We’re not united in our fight against the pandemic. Many are still living in denial that it’s even real while reported COVID deaths have become a daily occurrence in Decatur.

And the holidays are approaching, but they won’t be the same for most of us. My family has already made the decision that there will be no Thanksgiving or Christmas family get-togethers. I’m not even sure what to think about that. I’m unorthodox in a lot of ways, but I am a creature of habit and a traditionalist in many others.

Yesterday was Halloween and I’ve always enjoyed it. When I was a kid it was a time of wonder and excitement. As a parent, I enjoyed converting our basement into a haunted house complete with smoke machines and strobe lights for my daughter and her friends.

I usually spend the day baking Halloween cookies and carving pumpkins but I did none of that. It didn’t even come to mind. At 11:45 last night I realized I didn’t even carve the pumpkins. How could I forget!?

There was one tradition I kept, and that was visiting Greenwood Cemetery in Decatur. I had never visited on Halloween before but I go every fall to pay respects to Decatur’s past. And yes, there’s the fun of being a little spooked that I enjoy too.

The only year I didn’t go since I began visiting was 2016, and we know what happened in 2016. It was horrible and it has left the country, no, the whole planet in chaos and despair. Nothing has been right since then. It’s hard to even type the words it was so horrible.

The Chicago Cubs won the World Series and the country, the world, the planet has been a freaking disaster since then!

On my way to Greenwood Cemetery I found myself surrounded by Trump supporters.

As I was driving south down Main Street, heading to downtown, I noticed in front of me a truck with a bunch of flags. I knew what it was all about. I’ve been seeing them around town here and there over the past four years. People have even attached huge flags to their boats. It’s really quite obnoxious. I guess it’s their way of thumbing their nose at the world.

Then I looked in my rearview mirror and saw another truck with flags, then another, and then one pulled next to me and then another. I found myself stuck in a lane with some planned Trump parade.

I couldn’t get out of the lane. People were driving by, and standing on sidewalks, thinking I was part of it. Me, part of a Trump Train? It was so laughable and absurd.

The cemetery wound up being a breath of fresh air as I drove past the cold iron gates. I wanted to tell them how crazy the country has become. We’re divided in psychotic ways, we’re living through a pandemic and half the people don’t care, the planet is on fire, hurricanes are as regular as sunrises in the Gulf of Mexico, and the military may have to remove the president from the White House if he loses the election.

And these are just the calamities I can name off the top of my head. There’s more. Much more.

How am I still sane? Okay, that might be a stretch. Sane might not be the right word. How am I functioning at all?

Friday night, as I was clocking out with a co-worker, we watched the nurses, dressed as astronauts come back from the morgue. It was somber but not out of the ordinary. It just amazes me how well human beings can adapt and cope to nearly anything. That’s both good and bad.

We can survive the worst but then tolerate the worst. I don’t know where I’m going with this. There’s a lot of psychoanalyzing to be done when this is all over.

Well, anyway these are just random thoughts as we enter what could be some very hard weeks and months ahead. Be good to each other. Try not to get swept away by political news or knee-jerk reactions.

Just think about when all of this is over. There’s so much to look forward to. Everybody and their dog is going to want to be at the Decatur Celebration. The concerts and the Devon are going to be packed. It won’t matter what band is playing. There’s a lazy river being constructed right now that’s already calling my name.

Most of all, there’s the joy of family gatherings to look forward to. We’re planning the biggest and best gathering next fall. Everybody is going to be there, well, we hope everybody is going to be there.

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