We're all pretty lucky to live in the best country in the world, in a state that affords so many opportunities for employment, education and recreation. We all look forward to summertime in New Jersey. Trips to the shore, family vacations, swimming in public pools are just a few things we can't wait to enjoy when the weather warms up.

Thanks to Gov. Phil Murphy's decisions early on, we are also the state with the highest COVID-19 death rate in the country.

So as a result of his poor management and a desperate desire not to screw it up any further, he shut just about everything down. There were no outdoor concerts, and eating at your favorite restaurant was forbidden (unless you were lucky enough to reserve a table outside on a hot parking lot under a tent).

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Even vacations were limited to certain states that weren't on the "quarantine list." Most people don't have the luxury of staying home for an additional two weeks after a hard-earned week off to get away. Trips to the Shore were muted by the many restrictions and mask requirements that just made going anywhere a weird journey into the "new normal" nightmare that was the summer of 2020.

Some of us managed to get on a plane and get out of our tyrannical state to an "authorized destination," but it all seemed so weird and uncomfortable. We were told we were selfish and uncaring if we wanted to enjoy our precious freedoms and live a normal life. It was all for the common good and we were all in this together. To some of us it was a colossal series of bad judgement and a giant overreach of government, led by a power-hungry, ambitious governor looking to score points with the weak and gullible.

Luckily we were spared some of the violent upheaval that plagued many cities and town in other parts of the country. So I guess we can count our blessings for that. And if we have good families and friends that we weren't afraid of hanging out with, we all tried to make the best of it. Everyone jokes about bringing the year 2020 to an end as quickly as possible. It begs the question: Was this the worst summer you've ever had here?

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis' own.