Stangl

Last week I noticed a trio of ducks: two male and one female, have returned to our neighborhood. It’s a sure sign of spring and something I always look forward to each year.

The trio nest somewhere in the area and stick around until the ducklings hatch and are ready to travel. As they seemingly take turns on the nest, the other members of the trio will be in our yard or in water in the neighborhood.

Each winter, I wonder if they will return and if they are safe. When I see them for the first time I am relieved and happy. All is well.

They showed up last week, giving me a moment of Zen in a week when I sorely needed it. Like many of you, each day seemed to be a week long as we dealt with the news and the new reality of living and working during a pandemic.

I got the grill out last week and made some burgers and hot dogs. They tasted really good and it felt great to be out (even in a slight rain) grilling. The birds are back and springtime is (I hope) here. I took the dogs for a walk and learned how out of shape I have become over the winter.

In short, outside of the added stress of the national news and not being able to see our children and grandchildren, life is about as normal as it can be now.

Recently, I have read some excellent columns about the sacrifices made by our parents and grandparents during the Great Depression and World War II. They made it through shortages, sacrifices and polio. There is no doubt in my mind we will get through this current turmoil; it’s just that nearly all of us have lived lives of relative ease and privilege.

I believe one of the many ways to get through all of this is to simply put things in perspective. For me, that means minimizing my exposure to national news, spending time with my wife, cats and dogs and finding some escapist entertainment.

My wife and I are fans of “The Great British Baking Show.” The reality show about amateur bakers is a former staple of public broadcasting, now shown on Netflix. We have watched all seven seasons (we did this long before social distancing) and find the show to be relaxing and comforting.

I took a trip to Canada in early March to visit my sister and her family. During the visit, I discovered there is a Canadian version of the show, done by the same producers. I saw one episode and enjoyed the similarities and differences between the show and its British cousin.

Last week I decided to find a way to watch “The Great Canadian Baking Show.” It was a bit of a challenge, but I found a way to watch it online and cast the show from my iPad to our television. We watched the first two seasons last week and will be caught up when we watch the third season.

If you’re a bake-off fan, you will appreciate the Canadian show. The lead judge, Bruno Feldeisen, is French and sounds a bit like Pepé le Pew. He’s nicer than Paul Hollywood. It’s a bit strange at first, but it works.

Just like the lives we are living now.

Here’s to your happy place.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading; I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.