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THE BRIGHTSIDE

        2020, what can we say? It has been a year. Having experienced the trauma that is 2020, one day at work, we were discussing the challenges it has presented. A couple of people said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. This has been one of the best years of my life!”  They went on to explain the good things that have occurred in their lives this year. While it has had more than its share of contention, confusion, tragedy, and despair, there were positive things that happened this year too.  Here is a list of 10 Positive Things from 2020. The list is organized, from individual to family to community to the country to the world and beyond. 

SELF IMPROVEMENT WITH COOKING, GARDENING, AND HOME IMPROVEMENTS: With quarantines in effect, many of us tried new things or polished up on forgotten hobbies.  Sourdough bread was baked at a record pace, as were other kitchen treats.  Some of these prepared items came from produce grown in our gardens as we discovered our green thumbs. New Kitchens and other home repair and improvement projects also were being undertaken and completed at a record pace.

PUZZLES MADE A COMEBACK: Okay, maybe we are a little unduly influenced in this area but still… People rediscovered the fun, relaxing, and family-building of putting a puzzle together.  Demand went up over 400%, which set us back on our heels for a while.  We want to thank you for your patience as we adjusted to these “unprecedented times” and did all we could to get you your puzzles as quickly as possible.  Keep puzzling on friends, and remember, puzzle building has fantastic therapeutic side effects.

NEW APPRECIATION FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS: While many of us were told we could not work, others were told they had to work. “Essential Worker” became a buzz word for an underappreciated group of workers who braved a pandemic to make sure the rest of us had food, fuel, and medical care.  Grocery store clerks, food service, delivery drivers, and over the road truckers are often overlooked. Suddenly they were in the spotlight and acknowledged for the services they provide.  Nurses and medical professionals in Care Centers and Hospitals showed courage and gave all the rest of us hope. We want to give our thanks to all the Essential Workers for they gave and still give.  THANK YOU.

PET ADOPTIONS SET NEW RECORDS: This lightened many hearts as the months wore on. Families and individuals turned to pets to help them deal with the world around them. Not only did they get animals, but they adopted many of them from shelters. While dogs lead the way, cats, guinea pigs, and other furry and feathered friends found new homes. Let’s hope that this trend does not reverse when things normalize and that these furry friends have found “forever homes.”

TIGER KING: What can I say? Never has the observation of a collection of peculiar people brought us closer together. Maybe this is what partly inspired people to go out and get animals of their own.

NATURE STAGED A COMEBACK: As the human impact on many parts of the globe shut down, Mother Nature peeked out from the fringes taking to the open air and waterways to restore balance. Across the industrial world, air pollution dropped by massive amounts, waterways and canals cleared, and animals returned to explore the world around them. The resilience and wonder of nature were uplifting and restorative this year.

AFRICA FREE OF POLIO: On 25 August 2020, after decades of effort, the World Health Organization announced that African is free from the horrible scourge of polio. Nigeria was the last African nation to report cases of wild polio. With no new cases reported for three years, the WHO made the announcement of this celebratory accomplishment.

RECORD DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW VACCINE: In the 1960s, efforts to devise a vaccine for the mumps were aggressively pursued, and it took four years to accomplish. It was considered amazingly fast. When the pandemic hit, government agencies and pharmaceutical companies came together in Operation Warp Speed. In the summer there were rumors that a vaccine for Covid-19 was near. Much of the media heaped skepticism on the claims saying it would take years. In mid-November, Pfizer and Moderna announced the vaccines would begin shipping for immunizations.  Basically, in six months this vaccine was created thanks to the vision of those involved in Operation Warp Speed. Well done.

SPACE X CREW LAUNCHED TO ISS: On 15 November, a Shannon Walker, Soichi Noguchi, Victor Glover, and Mike Hopkins boarded a Space-X Dragon Capsule and lifted off into history.  This crew is the first to go into space on rockets and spacecraft designed by a private company, Elon Musk’s Space-X.  The night launch was breathtaking and gave us a moment to pause and celebrate an impressive human achievement.

U.S. GOVERNMENT ACKNOWLEDGES UFOS:  Not once but at least twice this year, the Department of Defense made the amazing announcement that there are indeed UFOS, but they called them Unknown Ariel Phenomena (UAP.) “That which we call a rose,” right? These UAP exhibit behaviors that no technology on earth can duplicate.  As part of the announcement, it was released that the materials of the craft have an extra neutron that seems extra-terrestrial.  Wait, where did they get the “materials” to test? Though it did not make much of a wave in the media cycle, it is an amazing announcement.

    Yes, it has been a year for the history books.  Buckle up for 2021 because things do not look to be slowing down anytime soon.  We hope you all have found somethings to be thankful for in the waning year, and we would love to hear from you. Please feel free to share your positives of 2020.


12 comments


  • Mary O’Connor

    My mom gave me the Chicago puzzle about five years ago. I passed it on to my daughter and our Dowdle puzzling began. We trade puzzles and take pictures of every puzzle we complete. Although we have been Dowdle fans for years, having a puzzle on the table during the pandemic has been particularly calming. Love having a puzzle in process! Thanks Eric!


  • LOIS

    A dowdle puzzle has been on my dining room table since covid began. Great fun and I recommend it – my storage closet is filling up with past completed dowdle puzzles!


  • Gayle

    Your email reminded me to search for the silver lining. Thank you for the lovely sentiment and for your lovely puzzles. Even my cats love to “participate” in puzzle time by sitting on the exact piece I need.


  • Mary Lou

    Dowdle puzzles have been a lifesaver for us the past 9 months! My husband has dementia but he loves to work your puzzles with me “assisting” from time to time. A pastime to enjoy together! Thank you!


  • Marsha Rose

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is one of the best (if not the best) emails I have received. It gave me such a positive perspective of the year and reminded me to look for bright spots in ever situation.
    Love your puzzles and am teaching another generation to enjoy them as well. Keep them coming!!


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