"I can't start the decompression today," I said to my chiropractor, Carolyn , "I've got toffee to deliver."
"Maybe you can postpone it." Dr. Finnegan politely suggested, "Delivering chocolates isn't as important as getting you out of pain." (Uhhh, yeah it is.)
No doubt the doctor knows best, but nonetheless, dropping off sweetly-wrapped boxes of Little John's toffee has become a holiday tradition I'm quite fond of, even though the number of stops has steadily grown to nearly 400. Knowing that friends and clients have come to expect this annual treat, not even a jacked-up neck is going to keep me from my appointed rounds. . . .
As a casual observer, there seem to be are more decorations along the route this year (both tasteful and tacky, but all festive just the same), and I'm guessing that's because many of us are home and have both the time and inclination. But also perhaps, it's the desire to create a little light in a world that's been rather dark these many months.
With the growing realization that there may be an actual end in sight to the pandemic, there's good reason for hope. It's a Christmas miracle! (Actually, its science.) In the meantime, the nation is setting new records for Covid cases so take heed, wear your masks, and avoid others. Now is the time to be more diligent - not less.
Understanding that Coronavirus is very much in the forefront, Jill and I have abandoned knocking on doors in favor of mailboxes and doorsteps. It's definitely less personal, but much safer for everyone concerned. However, this morning, as I was approaching a "fixer" Sarah and I had helped secure in an "off-market" sale exactly one year ago, the door flew open, the masked and exuberant homeowners beckoned me inside, and the beaming husband gave me a "socially distant" tour of their completely transformed and now GORGEOUSLY renovated abode. (Ho, Ho, Ho!)
"Stylish" doesn't begin to do it justice. Gone are the tiny rooms, replaced by an enviable, "Insta-worthy" eat-in kitchen, an enviable master suite, three additional large bedrooms upstairs (and a guest on the main floor), custom closets, fresh paint, new carpet, hip lighting, and a fabulous floor plan that added up to a stunning showpiece that, frankly, was nearly unrecognizable. (I knew the house had great bones, but even so . . . ). In short, they did everything right.
For this darling family in particular, who had definitely attended "the school of hard knocks" in previous attempts at home ownership, their sheer joy and satisfaction at finally realizing their dream was palpable. AND at the risk of tooting my own horn, it was incredibly rewarding to know that Sarah and I had been a part of their success. (Toot, toot!)
So while I'm spreading a little chocolate-coated cheer, I'm also selfishly feeding my soul and reaffirming my "why?"
As we wrap up the year, Sarah, Jill, and I are grateful to have been part of your lives in 2020, to have helped so many navigate the journey, and to have contributed to our Buyers and Sellers' sense of security, wonder and well-being.
Let's face it, after an 800-point drop in the stock market earlier this year, followed by a 21-day lockdown that sent us all in doors, and worse yet, set fear in motion, this historic and chaotic year could have turned out completely differently. Instead, it quickly ballooned into a boon for Sellers and provided our most successful year to date - professionally speaking that is. (Marrying Cliff and giving birth to my boys were pretty good years for me as well.)
Now that I'm about to complete my deliveries (another 50 or so to go), it's time to make a sizable donation to the Alameda Food Bank in honor of those who had it much tougher this year. Know that your trust and faith in us allows me to contribute to local food banks, Habitat for Humanity, The National Parks, The Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood, Greenpeace, KQED, and a host of other charities that are all deserving and in critical need of our support, now more than ever. And because my kids are grown and independent, I can give more freely knowing that they're not expecting Santa to load them up with gifts.
On a personal note, many thanks to our teachers, nursers, doctors, at-home-care providers, fireman, policemen, public servants, volunteers, researchers, scientists, cashiers, delivery people and a host of others who have been out in front on a daily basis and fighting for us all. Your selflessness, dedication, and grit has been inspiring. Who needs the decorations? You've been the light. (Still, they're nice to look at.)
Merry Chanukah and a Happy New Year; bring on 2021. (I'm ready to give the horns a rest.)
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Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 600 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.