A Memorial Day with better times on the horizon

One week ago, I had what felt like my first normal weekend since February of 2020. On Saturday my wife and I drove down to the Bay Area and met Twist and Rob for lunch. Afterward, we headed for our favorite wine bar in the Bay Area, where by sheer happenstance we had the good fortune to meet Olympian and Cal legend Val Arioto. We then drove through the Caldecott Tunnel over to Berkeley, where we wandered around campus for a while, spending time watching happy graduates take pictures while the Campanile falcons swooped around and screeched at other birds in the area. After grabbing dinner at Sliver, we headed to my mom’s house to spend the night.

I say this not to brag (well, maybe a little) but instead as a reminder of all the things we’ve missed out on over the past year. Simple things like a meal with friends and an evening with family, or unusual things like the chance to randomly run into somebody while you’re out for the day.

When we walked onto campus on a beautiful afternoon, it was a wonderful yet melancholy experience. We had not been on campus (or even in Berkeley, period) since coming down for WBB senior day with Larry more than 14 months prior. Instead, those 14 months were filled with loss and uncertainty. For most, you were assigned either the exhaustion of having to work dangerous in-person jobs through the pandemic, or the dull monotony and loneliness of stay-at-home life.

Memorial Day is of course a day set aside for remembering those lost in the service of our armed forces. But considering the timing of the holiday this year, two weeks away from the return of relative normalcy, I don’t think it would be inappropriate to look back on what we’ve collectively lost since last March, when the world so abruptly changed.

Chase Garbers also sent out a reminder that we recently hit a milestone that’s quite a bit less important:

The return of normalcy means the return of Cal football, with us fans actually there in person. This New Year wish still very much stands:

This past year hasn’t been easy, yet I think we’re all immensely fortunate to be in a position to shortly enjoy so many things that haven’t been available for so long. I’ll spend some time today thinking of the many people who have helped make it possible, in addition to those we always thank on Memorial Day.