Opening Argument: Thank You For Everything, 2020-Style
Hoo boy, this was a hard year. Not nearly as much for me as for many; I mostly stayed in my house. I learned to record from home, and I learned several different kinds of video software, and I was able to get things delivered. I've never, ever left my house nearly so infrequently. I've never put so few miles on my car. I've never seen so few people; not even close. That's a lucky place to be.
I am so grateful for everyone who made that possible for me. Doctors and nurses and aides and cleaners and techs and administrators at hospitals and doctor's offices, pharmacists, people who make PPE, people who drive ambulances, people who care for people in nursing homes and other care facilities. People who grow food, make food, pack food, and deliver food. People who deliver everything. People who stayed working behind counters at stores and restaurants. People who adjusted as best they could to all kinds of restrictions. Teachers who did their best to serve students in completely new ways, and parents who gave so much of themselves to support their kids in circumstances nobody could have anticipated. My mail carrier, my FedEx guy, my UPS guy, my trash guys, my recycling guys. My lawn guy! My plumber! My doctor!
Everyone I work with, obviously. This has been a year of enormous change for PCHH, largely in positive ways, which feels weird to say. We welcomed our original producer, Mike Katzif, back to the team. We welcomed our new producer, Candice Lim. And we hired a fourth host, the stupendous Aisha Harris, who brings such knowledge and sharpness and good humor to the team. And Jessica, who produced the show all alone for so long, and Glen and Stephen, who have been my partners in everything for such a long time.
So many other folks at NPR -- bosses and editors and people who work on news shows; Mary Louise Kelly, who took it in stride when my dog barked live on All Things Considered; Audie Cornish, who invited me to talk about pandemic stress; Sam Sanders, who found exactly the right way to host a show in a year like this. Everybody at Code Switch, where this was a year of great growth but also complex and painful work. Everybody on the arts desk. Everybody who stayed working in the building, in gloves and masks, spraying down studios and hanging up plastic. The people who help put out this newsletter, including Kelli Wessinger and Petra Mayer.
Everybody who made anything that made me smile. Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, whose podcast got me through the first few months of pandemic life. The people who wrote the books I read. The people who made the movies I watched. The podcasters who just kept going, no matter what, through leafblowers and rambunctious toddlers and figuring out how to get Zoom and Skype to behave.
And you, of course. There's no show if nobody listens, and there's no newsletter if nobody opens it, and there's no writing if nobody reads it. We've been so blessed with such overwhelmingly lovely listeners and readers over the years; I wouldn't trade you for anybody else's. Special thanks, of course, to those of you who support your local stations, and to those of you who can't right now, but will.
I have been fortunate this year, in all, and I have thought often about a song that I learned somewhere -- the odds are it would have been from my mother. It's called "My Cup Runneth Over," and while the Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet video of it isn't the most famous version, it's one I like a lot. Thanks to everybody who's filled my cup and yours, and I hope the new year is a chance to take a breath and recharge a little.
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Our friend Soraya McDonald wrote a beautiful piece about Ma Rainey's Black Bottom that I highly recommend you add to your reading on the film.
I want to put on your radar that dear friend of PCHH Kat Chow has a book coming out in 2021 called Seeing Ghoststhat's now available for pre-order. Full disclosure: I haven't read it yet! But I will, and I'm confident it's going to be wonderful.
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