I remember Easter as a kid and it being a wonderful holiday that felt like a new beginning with an optimistic outlook of hope. After church, I couldn't wait to get to my grandmother's house to get out of the new clothes – especially the new shoes – to hide Easter eggs; those dress shoes that were so slick on the bottom that if it rained, look out.

My grandmother lived on a small 75-acre farm in the mountains, and when the weather cooperated and it was sunny, Easter was a great breath of fresh air to have winter behind us.

All of our cousins would hunt eggs after my parents, along with my aunts and uncles, would hide them. Then, for dinner there would usually be a big country ham along with a turkey and all the trimmings. Then back to hunting eggs.

In Virginia, Easter weekend also marked the first day of trout season. We never missed an opportunity to get  out on the trout stream, and it was always a time for competition. Bragging rights for who were the best trout fisherman and the ones that got away grew bigger the more times we told the story. Life was different then.

Fast forward to now and Easter still has a sense of hope with brighter days ahead, with COVID-19 cases continuing to dwindle in Calloway County. As of noon yesterday, there was one new COVID-19 diagnosis for Thursday, and a year ago on the same date, there were three COVID-19 cases on April 1.

There is a huge difference now as opposed to then, and that's the outlook. A year ago, the unknown was perhaps the most daunting factor for us. The speculation by media didn't help with so many changes from government health officials, each trying to convey their expertise, when in reality, their advice would only continue to change. Thank God we're here now.

By all accounts, as far as we can see into the future, the pandemic is more in our rearview mirror than in our windshield. It may never totally be eradicated, but if new cases diagnosed is any indication, we're about to get past the pandemic stage of it for the most part.

Our hearts go out to those who succumbed to the pandemic. One loss is too many. This weekend, their presence will, no doubt, be missed. I never thought for a second that some of my dear friends would've been in the number that didn't make it when they contracted COVID-19.

But, this is a new day. Like I said, we've come through the worst of it and each day we're one step closer to this becoming a memory.

As the temperatures rise and you get together with your loved ones, be safe and cherish the moment. May God bless you, keep you and make His face shine upon you this Easter.