Community Columnists

The Earnheardts | Christmas Letter 2021

The Earnheardts
The Earnheardts

As another round of COVID holidays are upon us, it’s time for the Earnheardt Christmas newsletter. We wrote about this family tradition last year and thought we’d share our reckoning with 2021 with our Mahoning Matters family once again. Enjoy!

A recent analysis of the year 2021 has shown that despite initial hopes this year would be better than 2020, it was not. “The 20s have been roaring all right,” said Adam Earnheardt. “Roaring and biting and kicking us all in the teeth.”

The report revealed the leading cause of our 2021 malaise was the continuation of the global pandemic. “Perhaps it feels so bad because we were hopeful about returning to normal after the vaccine was approved. But dang it if COVID doesn’t keep hanging on,” said Adam.

“I feel stuck in the middle,” said Mary Beth. “On one hand, a lot of activities are face-to-face again, but at the same time people are getting sick. 2020 was more extreme, but also less uncertain. I’m not sure I ever know the right thing to do anymore.”

While several leading indicators show the year has been problematic, there were signs of hope in the report.

Liberty Local Schools have been open all year and the Earnheardt kids have been able to re-engage in many of their youthful experiences. Oscar played football for the Liberty Little Leopards. “It was so nice to get him out of the house for all those hours,” said Sadie. “It’s not that we don’t like having him around, but if he doesn’t get a couple of hours of exercise every day it’s like being locked in a room with a hyperactive monkey.”

“Sadie’s right,” said Ella. “We need to exercise him and the dogs every day or they become unreasonably destructive.”

Oscar admits his energy level can be problematic. “The beast inside me gotta hit,” he said while flossing.

Oscar wasn’t the only one with a busy schedule. Ella and Kate participated in Liberty’s Golden Leopard Marching Band.

“Band is probably better than most other extracurriculars,” said Ella. “Learning an instrument is a skill that can help your entire life. I mean, if things get bad, I can always become a busker on a downtown Youngstown street corner. I bet the fine members of our community would give a dollar to hear me wail on my sax.”

Kate also expressed a preference for band over other activities. “Band goes on trips. Band goes to Disney. Last I checked, the chess club wasn’t even leaving the high school. Band wins.”

All four kids have returned to church groups. Ella, Kate and Sadie are also still dancing. Oscar recently completed fall basketball.

“We have to wear masks for everything,” said Oscar. “But the good part of masks is hiding what you really think. Now when I say something inappropriate the adult has to guess if it’s because of my youthful ignorance or if I am being a smart ass. Keeps them on their toes.”

Other indicators that, despite the pandemic challenges, are signs that the Earnheardts are doing all right include:

“Look, we could focus on the bad or we could reset the narrative,” said Kate. “Sure the pandemic sucks and I wish it were over, but I’m proud of my family for sticking together. Also, when I’m old, I’m totally going to tell the young kids how hard it was to grow up now. Like my Grandma who says stuff like, ‘I had to walk to school uphill both ways in three feet of snow to get to my one-room schoolhouse.’ Well I’m gonna say stuff like, ‘I had to Zoom on spotty wifi and wear masks my brother had burped into.’”

“Kate’s a propagandist,” said Ella. “We can acknowledge that this isn’t the childhood we’d hoped for without lying to ourselves and everyone else. Sure, I’m stressed about possibly getting COVID, but I’m also really happy I get to hide my face behind a mask. It’s kind of cool when you think about it. No one knows the faces I’m making at them behind the mask. It’s all about the big picture.”

“All I know is we’re lucky to have such good friends and family,” said Sadie. “I hope the pandemic is over soon, but even if it drags on for a few more years, I know there are people I can count on.”

“My family can always count on me,” said Ozzie. “Count on me to fart and eat all the cupcakes. Happy holidays, everyone.”

Mary Beth Earnheardt is a professor in the Anderson Program in Journalism at Youngstown State University where she advises student media. Follow her on Twitter at @mbexoxo.

Copyright Privacy Policy Terms of Service