Friday, December 25, 2020

No place like home for the holidays; communicate, celebrate kindness

Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" Meyers are hunkered down, taking small domestic trips,
 keeping their passports at the ready as hope for international travel and a vaccine becomes a reality.


Bruce Keller and Christene Meyers enjoy a holiday
snuggle just the two, wishing they were with family.

 —Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays
For no matter how far away you roam
When you long for the sunshine of a friendly gaze
For the holidays, you can't beat home, sweet home

--Allen and Stillman from a 1954 hit tune

'THERE'S NO place like home for the holidays,” as the classic tune says. And there's no year that compares to the amount of time we spent at home in 2020.
Who knew, a year ago, that we'd be isolating, distancing, quarantining this year? That we'd be spending days on end in the confines of our homes. We've spent months in sweat pants, house coats and gym clothes, or as one friend put it, "Our most crucial fashion decision was when to change from our nighttime pajamas to our daytime pajamas."
AFTER MONTHS of isolation, economic anxiety, and pandemic fatigue, there is good news, though.
The vaccines we've awaited are testing now both abroad and at home; we should all be vaccinated by spring, and ready to hit the travel decks again.
With some modifications, we can still have a happy holiday. We can even venture
Gran Canaria, Cookie and Keller enjoy truchas, coffee, royal headware.
to select,  hygienically proper hotels, with care and caution. In our case, here in San Diego, we're able to stay in hotels in our own state. Out-of-state travelers will be welcome once the latest three-week ban lifts, which is Dec. 28.
 A FUN pastime for us this year has been to sort through photos of Christmases spent in other lands. We've ushered in the Yule in San Juan, with giant sculptures of the wise men and "Feliz Navidad" banners hung throughout the Old Town.
We've eaten splendid holiday fare in restaurants and private homes. One of our favorite culinary memories is of sweet potato turnovers, or truchas de navidad. It's the Canany Islands' answer to beignets. Try making them. Fairly easy and we're sharing our favorite recipe. 
A San Juan street scene celebrates the holiday.
Remember how short our time on earth is.  Call a loved one you haven't spoken to recently. Do something nice for a stranger.
OUR BELOVED "Jeopardy" host, Alex Trebek, passed away in early November.  His last taped show airs Jan. 8 and his farewell to a faithful audience is rumored to be a touching one. Put that on the docket to watch. Meanwhile, some of his best shows are airing, and Ken Jennings is in the wings to host during transition.
Alex Trebek's final show will
air early January, a swansong.
We recommend dressing for a TV movie, or a celebratory dinner.
 We're doing it, just the two of us!
NOW, WE 'VE all spent nearly 10 months isolating, masking, distancing, playing it safe. So the world is  faced with a holiday without the usual family and friend parties, celebrations, dances and general merry making. Try to be introspective. Be kind, imagine a better world.
  So indeed there might be no place like home for the holidays, but we're not all able to be home.
I like to "click my heels" and imagine I'm in Kansas -- or back in Montana.
After all this angst, fear, exhaustion, fatigue and separation, we'll never view our "old life" the same. If we have hope in our hearts, and a generous spirit, we can make the most of a rotten year -- and embrace the future with renewed appreciation of family, friends, our lucky lives!

Thermal pools of Yellowstone beckon for a fresh start in 2021. 

UP NEXT: Yellowstone in winter for the New Year! Do something fun, do something outdoors, keep the faith that we'll be beyond this COVID scourge soon. We bring you an idea for an amazing nature connected trip in the New Year. How about a trip to our nation's first national park, Yellowstone! Meanwhile, explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for a novel approach to nature, the arts, travel, family and more at:



  1. Love the hopeful note you two find for ending the year with optimism. Your enthusiasm means so much to so many of us who are alone and struggling with depression.

  2. Our son is a doctor in Chicago and was vaccinated this week. A happy event for the whole family, a ray of hope!

  3. Kindred Spirits in MilwaukeeDecember 25, 2020 at 10:33 AM

    Wonderful. Yes, kindness and optimism will see us through.

  4. Bainbridge BoostersJanuary 1, 2021 at 4:00 PM

    We always enjoy your travelogues and Mr. Keller's beautiful photos.