“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”
It’s fair to say that nobody saw 2020 coming. But now that crazy year is finally in the rear-view mirror (and we can all say that hindsight actually is 2020).
Thus, with great fanfare, I’m proud to announce my predictions for the year ahead. I’d be surprised to see any of them actually come to pass, but hey, as we’ve just learned all-too well, anything can happen.
Outgoing President Donald Trump, increasingly frustrated with “the swamp” of Washington, D.C., decides to move his entire campaign and business operation to a more politically friendly area with plenty of real swamps.
He announces a West Coast remake of Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort, in Chehalis. In keeping with the swampy theme, he names it Mar-a-Bog-o.
Trump also unveils a classically styled casino sternwheel ship plying the waters of the Cowlitz River, based in Toledo.
For his office and personal residence, Trump settles on downtown Centralia, buying up the tallest building in the city, the Lewis and Clark Hotel.
He renames it the Trump Tower Centralia, hanging his name in giant gold block letters above the cursive L&C atop the historic hotel.
However, a crisis emerges shortly after the deal is finalized, when he realizes that his new building is literally a few dozen feet from China Creek. Having spent his presidency waging a trade war with China and fighting a virus that originated there, Trump prevails upon the City Council to rename the nearby waterway after a country with which he has had much better relations.
The council obliges, and Centralia’s downtown waterway is now officially called North Korea Creek.
Newly inaugurated Joe Biden, who for more than three decades famously commuted by train 90 minutes each way from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, to the U.S. Senate, is feeling stressed by the duties of his high office. He decides to relax with a nostalgic trip by Amtrak. He boards the train in Washington, D.C., and falls into deep thought as he looks over the countryside. Soon his reverie becomes a rather long and deep nap.
He awakens in unfamiliar country and exits the train at the next stop, which happens to be Centralia. He ambles through town and visits a local eye doctor to order a new pair of prescription bifocal aviator sunglasses.
He stops for a selfie at the “Building a Bridge to the 21st Century” monument to the 1996 visit by then-President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and their spouses.
Suddenly Biden sees the historic Fox Theatre, and fearing a hard-hitting Fox News interviewer will jump out from behind the gilded building facade, he quickly heads back for the train.
After he leaves, Lewis County Republicans take up a collection to build their own monument to this new presidential visit, called “Guidin’ Joe Biden to Go Ridin’ Right Outta Town.”
With COVID-19 vaccine available to anyone that wants it, the question now arises as to what should be done with all the masks that people have accumulated.
The always enterprising people of Winlock decide to use the problem to their advantage. The triumphant return of the town’s annual Egg Days festival includes a new event: A COVID-mask egg slingshot competition.
Competitors are each given a raw egg to load into their mask. Pulling back on the elastic band, they await the signal from the Egg Day Queen. At her mark, they launch their projectiles at targets a socially distanced 6 feet away. The winner is given the coveted Coronavirus Coronet Crown.
After years of discussion about bringing in a major anchor retailer to land east of the Exit 81 overpass, the announcement is finally official: the site will be home to the world’s largest Dollar General outlet. In fact, to emphasize its high rank, this new flagship store will be called “Dollar Four-Star General.”
In light of the historic flooding that washed through the store’s locale during the 2007 flood, the new super-dollar store will be built on pontoons so it can rise above any future high water.
The most popular costume for Halloween this year is an old-fashioned Egypitian mummy, as people who hoarded toilet paper in the great Covid Lockdown of 2020 try increasingly desperate ploys like wrapping themselves in the stuff to get rid of their still-substantial supply.
Many children also find themselves the recipient of rolls of TP instead of candy when out trick-or-treating, a plan that backfires when the disgruntled youth decide to give those houses the ol’ mummy treatment.
As concerns dwindle about the novel coronavirus, there still remains the matter of dealing with those who violated restrictions during the heat of the pandemic. Of major concern are fines against Spiffy’s restaurant that added up to nearly $250,000. In an attempt to personally mediate the dispute, Gov. Jay Inslee visits the rural Napavine restaurant a year after rallies there were big news.
Inslee is seated and met at the table by owner Rod Samuelson, who brings the governor a slice of pecan pie. After polishing off the pie, the governor asks how much he owes.
“A quarter of a million bucks,” Samuelson says.
“We’ll call it even then,” the governor says. He takes from his inside jacket pocket a copy of the fines and judgements against Spiffy’s and dramatically tears up the papers.
Samuelson responds by giving the governor a complimentary cup of coffee and a free pass to the all-you-can-eat salad bar.
Brian Mittge’s column appears each Saturday in The Chronicle. What do you expect in 2021? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.