Most of us are happy to bid farewell to 2020. The COVID pandemic, arriving early in year, resulted in the cancellation of most of Tamworth’s summer activities including The Barnstormers Theatre, the Red Cross swim program, many concerts, church services, sports programs, Family Day, street fairs and community events. Families were unable to see their loved ones on special occasions and in nursing homes, and many businesses were forced to close, some permanently, resulting in widespread unemployment. The mounting death toll and tragic loss of lives reported on the news media, was a sombre background to our daily lives.

For several months, a COVID-testing site at Troop E in Tamworth provided a convenient, accessible location for anyone to get tested. Our incidences of infection and mortality remained relatively low.

Pondering this year’s positive aspects, I came up with several. Owing to our location in an area of natural beauty, many of us took refuge in the forests and mountains, more people were bicycling, kayaking, hiking and fishing, and gardening.

Tamworthians set about removing unwanted items and clutter from attics, basements and garages and advertised them on the Tamworth Exchange, thus saving them from the landfill. Tamworth Recycling continued its work: Recycling of some items has resumed, including glass, steel and aluminum cans, and textiles.

Both the primary and presidential elections were efficiently and peacefully conducted in Tamworth, and everyone had the opportunity to vote by mail or in person. Thanks to everyone who worked diligently on both occasions to see that we could all be safe

The Tamworth Farmers’ Market continues in a new location, the grounds of the K.A. Brett School. There was plenty of space for safe distancing and everyone wears masks to ensure safety. We recognize our neighbors by their clothing and the way they walk and the camaraderie between vendors and customers continues, and fresh vegetables, dairy products and organically grown meat are available.

The Community School closed for various financial reasons but is being repurposed as a center for social justice and climate resilience, and courses will begin in the spring. Meanwhile, an elderly housing collective is evolving.

Director Lianne Prentice has emerged as a local pandemic heroine, providing home-cooked meals for anyone who needs them and offering local produce donated by local farmers. Thanks, Lianne for all you do. Go on the website at communityschoolnh.net for more.

The amazing team at The Other Store provides curbside delivery so that everyone can obtain most necessities, including groceries and hardware without risking their health.

During the first weeks of the initial lockdown, an amazing event occurred: As a result of fewer people traveling on the roads, the air became noticeably cleaner, even in our pristine area.

Chocorua Conservancy has continued to provide stewardship opportunities, nature walks and fascinating talks led by naturalist Lynne Flaccus throughout the pandemic. It also maintains a website with beautiful photographs. On Jan. 21, Chocorua Lake Conservancy Stewardship Director Flaccus will be offering a wooded wander along the Swift River to look at winter twigs and explore adaptations that plants use to survive winter. On Jan. 26, experience the magic of being outdoors in the brightness of a full moon on snow. Explore the website at chocorualake.org for more information.

One of the most positive aspects of the pandemic was the advance of online communication, enabling anyone with internet access to talk face to face with loved ones, medical providers, friends and business associates. I enjoyed the online services of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Eastern Slopes, in particular the sermons by Betsy Tabor, stories by Marianne Posner and the music of Shaina Eisenberg, all in the comfort of my living room.

The library staff is assembling photographs taken in Tamworth during the pandemic for an online photo exhibit. Email pictures to mary@tamworthlibrary.org. Include name, title, where/when taken and type of camera. Photos will be included in the library’s “Tamworth in the 2020 Pandemic” archive. Wyatt Berrier has been taking pandemic porch portraits. See the library website at tamworthlibrary.org.

Our dedicated Tamworth Community Nurses continued their work through the Pandemic and have also organized a series of hikes to suit all abilities. Go to their website at tamworthnurses.org. Thanks for all you do.

I would like to thank all who work in the Tamworth Town Offices. I recently needed to register a new vehicle and the process was simple. I left the paperwork and check in a locked box outside the office, and all I needed to do was pick up my new registration outside without entering the office.

Although most concerts and community events were canceled, a series of fall concerts behind Cook Memorial Library. I recall listening to the White Mountain String Quartet as we all sat socially distanced on the lawn, under shady elms with the river gurgling by. Other concerts featured opera, country and Celtic music and a string quartet. Thanks to everyone who made these memorable events possible.

During the summer months the Chocorua Community Church provided a plein air, socially-distanced daily venue for friends and neighbors to converse coffee and snacks. On Thursdays, we read poems aloud that were particularly meaningful to us. During the winter meetings occur on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Runnells Hall with masks and distancing. Erica Boynton graciously serves coffee and a selection of cookies and other treats. Boynton also compiles a useful summary of local events and meetings and posts it on the Exchange. Thanks, Erica, for all you do.

In the New Year, Cook Memorial Library is launching a new six-week program: Face To Face: Zoom Conversations with Neighbors. It takes place on the first six Wednesdays of 2021 at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. Each week, a different speaker will offer a short presentation, followed by time to ask questions, share stories and ponder further. On the first evening of Jan. 6, Willie Farnum will discuss the role of a selectman. Juno Lamb and friends made a short video. The link is available at tamworthlibrary.org.

I would like to wish everyone a happy, prosperous, vaccinated, safe and healthy 2021.

Please send items for this column to annimac419@gmail.com.

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