By Norris Burkes Jan 2 2022

If any of my 2021 columns left you wondering “How’d that turn out?” then you may want to read this year-end column. Please consider it my epilogue to a handful of 2021 writings.

For instance, in the year’s first column, I told you that my brother died of COVID just before Christmas 2020. Milton was mesmerized with conspiracy theories, a COVID denier opposing the vaccines.

“How’d that turn out?” you might ask.

Well, first of all, I was moved by dozens of sympathy cards you sent from around the country. And your compassion was supplemented by FEMA when they reimbursed us for funeral costs.

Knowing the column might provoke folks to deny COVID as my brother’s actual cause of death, I elaborated: “Milton’s real causes of death were the fabrications spread by the anti-science, anti-vaxxers, anti-fluoride, flat-earthers and 5G coronavirus conspirators. He may not have swallowed their bleach, but he sure drank the Kool-Aid.”

A month later, I gratefully received my “Victory Vax” and wrote about seeking a haircut. I found a young stylist who seemed more than willing to talk about the pandemic.

She was relying on her natural immunities to resist the virus — no vaccines for her.

A few months ago, I revisited that barber shop to answer the burning question — “How’d that turn out?” The manager invited me to his chair and, as he plowed through my wispy locks, he described working through the quarantine-induced staff shortage.

When I mentioned the “naturally immune” stylist who last cut my hair, the aging manager wasn’t shy about telling me how he’d promptly fired her when she brought COVID to work.

Last month, I concluded my Veteran’s Day column by saying, “To a person, most vets will say, “Thank us, but please don’t worship or pity us. We’ve enjoyed pretty good pay and benefits for our sacrifices.”

And speaking of those benefits, I want to thank John and Mary Taxpayer for how things have turned out for me after 28 years of service.

Thanks to the GI Bill, I’m working on my Master of Journalism degree at University of Nevada, Reno. I’m halfway through the program and remain on the Dean’s List. Visit my website to read how professors encouraged me to convert several columns into recorded commentary for my local radio station.
In April, having been vaccinated and liberated, I wrote about my return to Honduras where we go to support Chispa Project. Since the charity was founded by my daughter Sara in 2015, Chispa donated over 35,000 books to establish elementary school libraries.

I shared how the pandemic was hurting Honduras schools, so I “pledged to match every donation from readers this year up to $5,000. Buck for buck, let’s band together to blanket Honduras with hope and send kids back to school.”

By now you should know your line. So go ahead and ask me. How’d that turn out?

Thanks to your help, the program in 2021 was a great success in giving kids free homework materials and library books to check out.

Chispa is now ramping up for 2022, as each year has been better than the last. The ambitious goals plan for several larger libraries which will reach an additional 3,500 students. Will you help us? Donate or come volunteer with me! Find out more at

Also in October, I noted the twentieth anniversary of this column. I thanked you for “buying my books, hosting my speeches and sending me hundreds of compassionate emails and letters.

“It’s been such a great twenty years that I’m setting my sights on 25,” I promised.

After all, how else am I going to justify that shiny new Journalism degree?

Donations are gratefully received by Chispa Project either online or by check made to “Chispa Project” and sent to Norris Burkes 10556 Combie Rd. Suite 6643 Auburn, CA 95602.

To read these columns and more, please visit my website at Please contact by email at or voicemail at (843) 608-9715.