Merry Christmas Fort Madison - from You're Friendly Neighborhood Reporter


We're just seven days from ending what is undoubtedly the worst year generationally of our lives.

The photos and news of health care workers getting vaccinated from a virus, as debatable as we made it out to be, is a Christmas gift for all.

This year has made us all think on the peripherals of our business and personal lives. I tend to think through a keyboard and give to those that are beginning to surrender their attention for moments of my randomness.

Some of those thoughts are desolate and I fight that, but I do find occasion to laugh. It's people that have built relationships with me over the past four years that give me pause to smile inadvertently during this 10-month layered siege.

It's my gift to all of you to provide a smile on this eve of Christmas Eve. My sincerest hope is that you are all with your families in some way, shape, or form. It's just one year where we have to rethink the norm. But I beg of you - take nothing for granted. Not one second of this screwed up year.

And I believe in 2021.

I believe the coronavirus will take a bow... and then our health care workers and emergency responders should do the same.

I believe that we will... at some point, make a decision about parking on the south side of Avenue E.

I believe that Fort Madison High School Athletic programs will continue to see meteoric rises as the culture of building great citizens rides shotgun to building great athletes.

I believe in 2021 Dr. Mark will be able to breathe just a bit easier at HTC volleyball games. He cracks me up.

I believe that Michael Mohrfeld will continue to capture the sun, while replenishing north Lee County housing stock. And I believe our Neighborhood Watch groups will be realized as one of our community's greatest assets. (Pssst. they already are.)

2021 will find this community back in a growth mode. There's economic news on the horizon, new retail is coming, great minds are untangling the Marina, and the parks board is on a mission to clean and modernize our parks.

Small steps lead to great journeys.

I believe that friends will out number enemies, and we'll all remember where we left our sense of humor. To that end, I believe the Daily Democrat will put my picture in their paper.

I believe Iowa's Luka Garza will be the NCAA Player of the Year in a year where seeing him bang it around in person will be impossible for most. And the Hawkeyes will win the national title, in the worst year ever to win it.

That's Chuck-luck.

I believe my brother John will take the West Burlington Falcons to the girls' state basketball tournament in 2021. And if he doesn't - I believe he'll blame me for jinxing it.

I believe people will come to appreciate just how good the food is, how friendly the service is, and how cold the beer is.. at Aggie's On The Square in West Point.

I believe that our daughter Taylor will eventually find her way back to Manhattan, and her friends, and her cats. And I know I'll cry when she gets on the plane.

I believe that people should meticulously plan to scare Connection Bank President Matt Morris when he comes around a corner. And film it.

I believe 2021 will show the capacity of the people of Fort Madison to see past the national election and realize their neighbors, who flew the opponent's flag in their yard, were their neighbors first. And despite the comfort of writing in social media threads sitting on our couch with the curtains pulled, we can be different and still be neighbors.

I truly believe the 2021 Tri State Rodeo will be the best EVER. Sorry for the really bad pun, but everyone's chomping at that bit.

I also believe that the 'confidential sources' I have strategically placed like pieces on a Stratego board around north Lee County, will be rewarded with the riches of pharaohs, and the thanks of a grateful editor. (You know who you are.)

And in 2021 I'll try to find forgiveness... somewhere. I know I have to find that to take the next step... or I just won't take it.

So Merry Christmas ya old Fort!

Santa, ya know what I want. Make it happen fat man.

Chuck Vandenberg is the editor and co-owner of Pen City Current and can be reached at

christmas, Chuck Vandenberg, Column, editorial, fort madison, opinion, Pen City Current


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