Winter 2020-21

As this long, strange year draws to a close, it looks like there might be light at the end of the tunnel. Still, all of the damage done, economic and otherwise, will have repercussions for a long time to come. But amid the loss and sorrow of 2020, I’ve found some things to be grateful for. The best is all the extra time I got with my two kids. They’re teenagers, and it won’t be long before they fly away. These months with no sports, no extracurricular activities, little social life, and school happening within our own four walls — while disheartening in many ways, was also a gift.

The forced family time in general was sweet. Formerly mundane activities now occupy a warm place in my heart: puzzles, endless games of Rummykub, family movie nights. I learned a little about astrology from my daughter. My son taught me to do a front flip on the trampoline. We bought patio furniture and spent a lot of time on it together. My 13-year-old and I had slumber parties on the patio furniture and on the trampoline. Neither involved great sleep but certainly great memories. Although at times it felt stifling, I know I’ll look back fondly on the long days spent under the same roof, sometimes not doing much, or with each other, just being in our little place on the earth together.

I’m also grateful for this magazine’s continued presence. After our parent company dissolved unceremoniously at the end of March, we eventually found ourselves under the umbrella of the newly-formed Columbia Gorge News. Thanks to our advertisers and supporters who have stuck with us through this challenging year, this is the third issue we’ve put out since Covid began. They’re leaner than before, but we’re still here telling Gorge stories.

One of those stories is about a program called Bridges to Health, which has long been helping people in need to access health and social services. When the pandemic hit, the organization and its network of community health workers were well-positioned to provide much-needed connections between people affected by Covid and vital services. Our feature on the organization and the important work it’s done this year, and every year, starts on page 22.

Speaking of important work, the Hood River County Library has faced unique challenges this year, with its mission of serving the community at a time when it couldn’t allow patrons inside. Library director Rachael Fox and her team have done a commendable job innovating to provide services during these difficult times (page 38).

Other stories in here include a look at some hearty athletes who swim the Columbia River in the winter (page 34) and a piece about the new lodge at Mt. Hood Meadows (page 14). As our annual Health & Wellness issue, you’ll also find several health-related stories as well as a special advertising section. As always, thanks for reading. We wish you a safe and healthy winter.

Janet Cook, Editor