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JOHNSTON: Some final thoughts on a horrible year
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JOHNSTON: Some final thoughts on a horrible year

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Farewell to 2020, a year we would all like to forget.

Talk about a rotten year! A pandemic with masks and quarantines, along with protests, riots and a presidential election that further divided an already divided country. Gimme a break!

But we all know about the craziness of 2020, so there is no sense in my harping on that today. Instead, let’s just tie up a few loose ends with some random thoughts.

Let’s start with barbecue for Christmas. I went to my daughter’s home expecting a traditional Christmas dinner with turkey, dressing and all the trimmings. I was served barbecue.

Barbecue? That’s something you eat in the summer when it is hot outside. Americans don’t have barbecue for Christmas! Having barbecue for Christmas is akin to communism. Real Americans have turkey and dressing and ham.

I talked to several other people who said they also had barbecue for Christmas. Where did this change in tradition come from? What’s next—chicken nuggets for Thanksgiving?

I tell you that any country where the people serve barbecue for Christmas cannot stand for long. Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev always said America would disintegrate from the inside. When we start serving barbecue instead of turkey for Christmas, we are on our way down the drain.

I want my turkey and dressing!

On my way to my daughter’s house, I pulled up at a stoplight and wanted to turn right on red. But I had to just sit there because the guy in the left lane had pulled way past the white stop stripe on the highway.

I’ve fussed about this before. That stripe is put where it is for a purpose. If you pull past that stripe, the cars in the right lane cannot see what is coming from the left and cannot make a safe right turn on red.

Make a New Year’s resolution right now. “I will not pull past the white stripe if I am in the left lane at a stoplight!”

As I tell my children, “Ya got to think!”

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Back to COVID-19. We held an end-of-year memorial service at my church two weeks ago and paid our respects to the 19 members of the congregation who died this year.

Almost all of them were elderly and some were in poor health prior to their death. But you know what? Not one of those people died from the virus. Cancer and heart disease were the major causes of death.

If we can come up with a vaccine in eight months to stop people from dying from COVID-19, why can’t we come up with a vaccine to stop cancer and heart disease?

Along those same lines, the other night I got a call from a reader who is a patient at a nursing home and the first words out of his mouth were, “The folks here think Donald Trump invented COVID-19 to kill old people. What do you think?”

How do you respond to a statement like that? Only one way.

“With all due respect, I think that’s the dumbest thing I ever heard,” I blurted out.

Yes, the reader was in complete control of his faculties. There just must have been a lot of hardcore Democrats at that nursing home.

And it was a full moon. I get a lot of crazy calls every time the moon changes, especially when it becomes full.

Anyhow, the reader and I had a nice talk about other things, but in the end I think I convinced him that Trump had not developed COVID-19 to kill old people. In fact, I told him, I had a 93-year-old relative in a nursing home who tested positive for the virus and never had a single symptom. I hope that reassured his Democrat friends.

To close out this random column and this crazy year, let me relate the story of a Central Virginia couple who are staging a strange celebration.

The husband and wife sent out invitations to a “happy and loving divorce ceremony.” Honest to goodness. True story. Even I couldn’t make up something like that.

How can “happy” and “loving” be used in the same sentence as “divorce?”

I wish I had gotten an invitation. That ceremony would likely have made a great column.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Columnist Donnie Johnston lives in Culpeper County. Email him at

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