As we welcome today, we will bear in mind that Georgia is facing an election for two senate seats. The outcome will determine whether the Republican Party maintains its majority in the Senate or whether the two Democratic challengers will make the Senate an even 50-50. When that happens, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will preside as chair to break a tie when it comes time to voting on major legislation.

Let’s try to set aside this past election and just commit it to memory. We’ve learned something that will last us for a long while until the next one. Meanwhile, the presidential and vice-presidential inauguration on Jan. 20 will tell us what to expect in America for the next four years.

It’s now been weeks since the Pfizer and now the Moderna vaccines arrived on Guam. People have gotten inoculations and it’s still early to tell its effectiveness. We’ll continue to pray for a huge decline in COVID-19 cases, if not a stop to the upsurge altogether. There is still that ray of hope in us.

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions. I stopped doing that altogether a long time ago, years even. I resigned myself to growing older, much wiser, better off financially although I’ve given up on becoming rich. I’m satisfied just being alive to enjoy my children, their accomplishments, and my grandsons - one in college, one will graduate from high school this spring, the other will graduate next year, the fourth is a fifth grader, two are second graders and the last is in kindergarten.

I want to start anew. I hope that the rest of mankind is going through the same resolve considering that the past year will live in infamy. Everyone was not spared the ravages of the pandemic that has claimed lives and spiraled others into sickness of untold magnitude and suffering. Some have been lucky, others have not, but thinking of the future and of good things should be impetus enough to sort of taking a new lease on life. Things will be better.

My column will continue. I plan on writing about pleasant things such as stories, experiences, travels, tidbits, ideas and new ventures. I plan to devote a more positive outlook with my columns in this newspaper.

On a personal note, my second daughter is planning to leave with her family to pursue her doctorate in forensic psychology at a mainland university. She’s full of positive energy and a deep-seated desire that no matter what, she’ll achieve what she has long dreamed about. She has my blessings along with all the prayers that I’ve recited daily since she told me of her plans and the research she has done regarding the most appropriate and appealing dozen or more prospective universities specializing in her choice of a doctoral program. It will take her a rough four years, possibly more, to achieve this milestone but I will continue to pray and hope for the best.

I’m also looking forward to the return of my two youngest grandsons, Uchan and Adahi. I’ve witnessed their births and was around to see their most formative years into toddlerhood in San Diego and in Kapolei, Hawaii. They’ve spent the summer and fall with their dad in Jacksonville, Florida. He is in the U. S. Navy. Because of the pandemic, he was confined to ground duty for the past year and a half. He managed to buy a new house and sent the boys off to school. They’ve been attending online lessons, assignments and Zoom sessions. My youngest daughter, their mother, was fortunate enough to spend last summer and this past fall fully enrolled at the University of Guam. Like most elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools, the pandemic has allowed distance and online learning so my daughter was fortunate that her UOG professors accommodated her for all her courses. She has managed to fulfill her semester requirements. She will graduate with a degree in linguistics. My son-in-law will be assigned a tour of duty on board the USS Ronald Reagan and will be out to sea starting summer 2021 until fall 2022. I just hope and pray that he will be safe and that nothing will happen in so far as the coronavirus despite it being on the down-low at this point.

Things will definitely be positive from now on and I will do my best to keep up with the requirements of wearing my masks, social distancing, and frequent washing of the hands. I’ve been good thus far. I do hope to get my vaccine in due time.

Peter R. Onedera is a playwright, author, poet, a master storyteller and a CHamoru language educator.


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