Commentary: Facing 57

On Friday, February 5, my odometer flipped another year over.

It’s been a hell of a year. Lots of ups and downs. COVID-19 is still around, making people sick, then killing a few of them. We had a challenge to our country that still simmers with division and hatred. We hear the call to unity fall on some deaf ears. 

I do not want to recall my year since the last birthday. I’ve already covered it in several places. It is not necessary to beat the same stories into the ground even further.

Perhaps I should celebrate the positives. 

I’m alive. Breathing. Working. That is all that matters right now. 

However, a lot of projects and work travel are on hold. A new set of restrictions on travel from public transport to airliners put me in a place I am not comfortable utilizing any of these conveyances to go anywhere. I am also watching one of several graphs and maps to see how each state is dealing with the pandemic. 

Even though Minnesota is doing better than most of this country in terms of COVID-19 abatement, not a lot of plans have been made this year in the automotive world. Only a few, such as the Twin Cities Auto Show – which will be held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds starting May 15. A few major car events have been scheduled, with the confidence that they will be repositioned for safety guidelines. Well, I hope they will be. 

Still, every birthday yields a series of memories of "before times." Times, that would transition from "Happy Birthday" to getting down to work at McCormick Place in Chicago. This was brought up in a comment made on my Facebook wall by Chicago-based automotive journalist Jill Ciminillo. I tried not to spiral down a path that would have been detrimental to my health.

Yes, not having a Chicago Auto Show to work at around this time of year is a part of the challenges stated above. The rhythm and flow of a year may have been interrupted, but I have learned that to adapt with the resources I still have and deliver accordingly. 

No Chicago Auto Show – no problem. 

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The workflow continues, however. This week, I checked out three sets of debuts virtually – the 2022 Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing performance sedans, the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor, the 2022 Nissan Frontier and Pathfinder. The latter two continue to show me that Nissan is serious about reversing their recent past towards a brighter, more robust future. I certainly hope so. They look like great products that Nissan dealers need this year. 

I continued to work with my latest vehicle subject – a 2021 Chrysler Pacifica. Who knew you can celebrate a birthday in a minivan with temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit? Supposedly, lots of people do. 

Also, I wanted to talk about the commercials for Super Bowl LV. Honestly, if you’re going to spend $5 million for a 60-minute spot, make sure it’s worth that spend. Sorry, General Motors, that "Norway" commercial did not work for me. Oh, and enjoy the clap backs from Ford and Audi

Back to dealing with the pandemic, I received a press release telling me how Ford thinks we will "finish strong." They might be right…but how?

Good question. 

One way I can think of how to "finish strong" is to celebrate our healthcare professionals and others who have endured exhaustive hours, tempers, and frustration, while rising to the occasion. 

For this birthday, I want to recognize two healthcare professionals that are friends of mine. 

Beth Mejia works in the Specialty Imaging unit at North Memorial Health’s Robbinsdale location. She also serves as a board member of the North Memorial Health Foundation. I’ve always called her a "mover and a shaker" in the many roles Mejia took on in the LGBT community here in the Twin Cities. I've seen her a couple of times during this pandemic, and Mejia still maintains that fighting spirit even in the face of stress and increased workload due to the current healthcare situation. 

Adrienne Davis-Fuller have been in my life since 1976, when we arrived at Sequoia Junior High School in Reseda. She came from Reseda Elementary; I from Vanalden Avenue. After we parted ways upon our graduation from Reseda High in 1982, she went to the University of Southern California to earn her degree in Health Sciences in becoming a Registered Nurse. Davis-Fuller -those of us who have known her for so long call her “A.D.” – is now a Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit nurse at Asante Rogue Medical Center in Medford, Oregon. Recently, Davis-Fuller was sidelined due to a health situation preventing her from being near her "babies." She is feeling better now and back at her station. 

It is worth nothing that A.D. celebrates her birthday the day before mine. Happy Birthday…miss ya, lady!

Photo courtesy of the Ford Motor Company

We have to celebrate our heroes. We have to celebrate those who are putting themselves on the line to help correct the course towards a healthy future. That is how we “finish strong.”

As for me, finishing strong means staying healthy and keep on working. Continue to deliver on content for here and other entities. To not make stupid mistakes that will be the determent of the stakeholders. To stop taking things so personally to the point of an emotional health breakdown. 

Always to rise to the occasion. To be distinctive in what I present. And, to celebrate the milestones and victories. 

My only wish on this flip of my life’s odometer is for better days ahead for you and me. To live life, enjoy what you do, and stay healthy.

Cover photo by Randy Stern

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