In the Time of COVID. Day 63
May 20, 2020.
Today the sun shone, the sky was cloudless and the temperature was a perfect low 70’s. As we walked our neighborhood loop, neighbors were out in their yards taking in the the day’s perfection. We stopped, often along the way, while keeping our distance. We helloed and chatted and discussed our common concerns. Dogs greeted us, walkers waved, cars drove by slowly and with Cambria friendliness we waved and they waved back.
Later in the afternoon we got word that our county can open under COVID 19 phase 2 restrictions. Many businesses can open and that is both relieving and worrisome. Friday to Monday is Memorial Weekend. The weather in the interior is heading into the 90’s and we will be inundated by people from Fresno and Bakersfield who love to recreate on the beaches in our county. We and our neighbors are all staying home all four days. Let this craziness pass.
I thought to call my pal Bill in Santa Rosa today. He lives alone and while we email each other and visit on occasion, we seldom call. I rang him up this morning and hearing his voice, and his infectious humor was a tonic too my soul. Not long after I got off the phone, it rang at it was a friend from a 12 step program I attend. We both miss the supportive camaraderie that our group nurtures. This made me think of the pillars that make my life worth living.
I am thankful for my family. In a few months April and I will celebrate our 38th anniversary and as I told Bill this morning, we still aren’t throwing knives at each other. Our kids are all working and healthy. Distance isn’t so painful with phone and text and Skype. Christy is in Hanoi and she won’t be able to come home this summer nor we will meet her in some distant vacation middle ground. We Skype weekly. That will have to do. Myles is busy in San Francisco and text and short messages and occasional phone calls keep us close. April hears from our Reno family via text every week or two. All is good.
Having good neighbors also helps fulfill our lives. We know we can rely on each other and that sense of security makes life on our street all the better for it.
I’ve appreciated good neighbors since I was a little kid. When I was six we moved into the city and our neighborhood had no kids my age, My family had no kids my age. One neighbor was Charley Crane. He was very old and cantankerous. He had emphysema and was constantly hooked to a green oxygen canister. He wheezed as he spoke. Somehow we liked each other. I learned a lot from Charley. He had been a teamster, handling six mules and a wagon at the Anaconda Copper Mines in Butte, Montana in the 1890’s. His tales of the Wild West were fascinating.
Old man Hubbard lived across the street. He was 100 and according to him, he had been a drummer boy in the Union Army in the Civil War. His tales meandered but he was a genuine artifact and he had mementos of that time he loved to show me.
The Eisenhower sisters were also quite old. They lived next to Mr. Hubbard. They had both volunteered as field nurses in World War I. Between these three sets of neighbors I got the human contact I needed. I gave back with youthful attention.
When we moved to Cambria from Spokane, it was a neighbor of April’s folks who advocated for April when a position came open at Cambria Grammar School. Good neighbors are a treasure. That advocacy gave us a firm footing in our new surroundings.
This evening the community turned out for a drive by / pick up Spaghetti dinner. It was a fund raiser for the local organizations that help elevate food insecurity in our unemployed service industry. 800 meals were prepared. In the 35 years we have lived here there have been hundreds of these fund raisers for different reasons and I am grateful that we live in such a caring community.
I’m grateful for the men’s group at the Unitarian Church. We meet twice monthly and recently we have had to use Zoom. We stay in contact and support one another the best we can.
Were I am going with tonight’s entry is I don’t take these people for granted, friends, family, neighbors or community groups. They make my life worth living. They enrich my life.
I recommend that you call the people who are important to you. Write them, text them, Skype them, offer help, accept help. What else is important? Who else can you rely on?