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How do you summarize a year? Could you do so in one word?

Better question: How do you summarize a year like this one?

There are several words (including some not fit to print in these pages) that could be used to describe 2020. COVID-19’s overtake of the year could aptly be described as hideous. Horrendous. Heinous. Yet some may choose to describe it as overblown, overdone or fraught with overreach. Many lost loved ones, including to the coronavirus, and were highly worried about the fallout of the virus. Others didn’t see it with the same level of concern.

The year also was an election year, and depending on where you stand politically, it could be a part of the year viewed with joy or sorrow. It could be, for some, a bright spot in an awful year, or a ray of hope, while for others the results were a disgusting cherry on top of the terrible banana split that was 2020.

In Wallowa County, 2020 brought an entire smorgasbord: a fire at the Joseph school in January. Coronavirus from March on. The cancellation of spring sports in April and of countless major events, including the county’s biggest one: Chief Joseph Days. It brought the shuttering of businesses, some temporarily, some, likely, for good. It brought a new county sheriff, a new mayor in Joseph and a new police chief in Enterprise.

This is just scratching the surface. In today’s edition of the Chieftain, you, our readers, will have an opportunity to reflect on some of what happened with our Year-In-Review section, which is enclosed.

While we didn’t pull every story — and not even every big story — to put in the year-end section, we did include some that people certainly will remember as they reflect on what 2020 was and look ahead to 2021, which begins in just a couple of days.

I’m sure many people endured countless emotion swings based on what happened this year. COVID-19 itself would do that to a person.

Without going too deep into the woods on personal anecdotes, I had plenty of swings in my own life in 2020. On one end, I saw the sporting events I had covered for five years at The Observer taken away due to COVID-19, and later in the year actually contracted the virus myself — though I have since fully recovered. I spoke with an individual who lost a family member to the coronavirus, and to business owners and friends who were impacted by it in other ways. These were among many challenging moments during the year.

Yet on the flip side, I was given the opportunity to cover many fascinating and fun events, moved into my current position at the Chieftain, and a few weeks after that received my best gift of the year when I got engaged. These are just a few among several good moments from the year.

I’m confident that if one stops to really reflect on the year that was, even in the midst of the hard, difficult, trying times, there are plenty of good moments. As 2020 rolls into 2021, take time to reflect on these positive moments, rather than the times of upheaval, unknown, and uncertainty.

The upcoming year is sure to bring with it its own trials and challenges. But good will come from the next year, as well. It may not be as apparent for some individuals as for others, but it is there.

With the book now closing on 2020, let’s, indeed, take a moment to consider how to summarize the year. But let’s look ahead to the next chapter, 2021, and what could come with it.

And don’t dwell on the last chapter. Instead, live in the moment of the one currently being written.


Ronald Bond is the editor of the Wallowa County Chieftain. He can be reached at 541-398-5502 or at

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