Mike Uncorked : So Long 2020…Hello 2021!

The Best of the “Worst”
By Mike Butler

Happy New Year Everyone!!! I’m not sure, in any other year, we’ve meant it as much as this one. Have we ever looked forward to another year faster? I know 2020 was not, um…the greatest, for most, but honestly, I have very little to complain about. Life is full of hiccups and unwanted this and that. 2020 proved we can work together, roll with the punches, trek through life’s struggles and come out on top. At least for me, it was a time to regroup, reposition my priorities, and it gave me a chance to up my communication skills with the world. I was able to write a lot, read a lot, refocus my extracurricular activities, and reevaluate my love of the outdoors and the beauty of where I live. Yes, I couldn’t travel or see a lot of my family. Yes, I was off work for 81 days and it was hard. Yes, I lost loved ones (two aunts and two uncles) and we couldn’t properly mourn them but, here I am with my husband, a roof, a job, and love. For all its worth, my 2020 was pretty darn good!

So, here’s a little of Mike’s Best of the “Worst” for 2020. The best things, for me, that came out of the worst year.

Movies and TV: Well, this year went to pot early for theatres and films in general when Covid-19 shut it all down. Early on I was able to see a few films in theatres but nothing noteworthy. So, instead I did what most people did: I turned to my own collection and the powers of TV streaming services to entertain myself. For me, it was all about the British mini-series! The Crown, Monarch of the Glen, The Forsythe Saga, I,Claudius, The Coroner, Vera, Touch of Frost, Broadchurch, As Time Goes By, Vicar of Dibley, Keeping up Appearances, Are You Being Served?, Inspector Morse and so many more. No one handles drama, comedy, period pieces, and detective stories like the Brits. Bravo and thank you for keeping me sane and entertained in 2020.

As for movies: I pored through my own collection (81 days in lockdown), watching and filling bags with movies to sell, which I did! In December, I held a massive movie sale fundraiser, making $550 for the Wolfville Area Food Bank. This sale, motivated by the pandemic, was a hit and might just be an annual occasion. Thank you to everyone who supported it!

And now books and puzzles! If I wasn’t watching a hit BBC series, I was probably spending my leisure time in 2020 doing a puzzle or reading a book. I am guessing that I read about 40-50 books last year and I lost count of the puzzles. What 2020 did was refuel my love of literature and puzzles. Without theatre to occupy my time I turned to the works of Agatha Christie, Margaret Atwood, RL Stine, Truman Capote, Ian McEwan, and Toni Morrison to get me through. Thank goodness for The Market on Main Street, Wolfville for supplying me with some puzzles, but it was friends and family who donated the things that kept me going. The rainbow bench at my apartment was a great drop off site for puzzles, food, wine, books and more and it was all very appreciated. In 2021, I can see more reading, more puzzles, and much passing on and paying it forward of goods. I mean, why not?

Where would we be without food (or toilet paper) in 2020? When I look back on 2020, I am going to remember the incredible role that food played. From my early morning grocery store runs during lockdown (thank you Carl’s Independent), to cooking so many new recipes while I was home, to finding new ways to embrace local shopping and the wealth of “next door freshness” the Valley provides, to the yo-yo of working in a busy cafe and restaurant that were shut down and reopened to embracing those great moments when we used take out services and delivery (supporting local) to have more meals at home with loved ones. It was a feast for the eyes (and other parts) and I cannot thank the local businesses enough for their top-notch flexibility and diligence during this tough year. It was a glorious treat to even have a short season on the Magic Wine Bus again, as Magic Mike the tour guide, with so many wonderful patrons from within the Atlantic bubble who went out of their way to support the bus and the wineries; it made for a fun and memorable summer as a guide! See you on the bus in 2021!

And lastly, what 2020 brought me was a better sense of how to get involved in my community. I love Wolfville and everything it provides and this year I took the leap into Wolfville municipal politics and became a Wolfville Town Councillor. After 18 years of residency and doing as much as I can within the community, I felt that it was time to embrace a different side of Wolfville and what a brilliant few months it has been. The support of the community (and beyond) as well as the pride from my husband, family, and friends, has humbled me greatly and I have a renewed sense of purpose in making Wolfville the best, happiest, thriving town I know. So a big thank you to all who cast a vote and took the time to care about where the town is going in terms of leadership. I will not let you down and I am hear to listen and do my best over the next four years.

So, in 2021, let’s stay strong, stay smart and healthy and embrace WHAT we can WHEN we can. Be thankful we live where we live and we are able to love who we can love. Find your way no matter what comes at you. All the best in 2021 and beyond!