Wednesday, September 30 2020 - 6:36 PM
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Joy and Sorrow

I live in a quiet country neighborhood. Everyone gets along; we don’t really visit back and forth. We wave and shout hello at the mailbox but that’s about it.

It struck me recently how the pandemic has affected our neighborhood, while subtle yet still dramatically. And the people involved are all caring, kind people just trying to get through this life. One neighbor’s son was graduating from high school as were several in her family, which included our granddaughter. We were told that because of the virus there would be no usual graduation ceremony this year. This was later corrected but it involved much drama and nothing was typical of past years. Our neighbor decided to do something about all this mess and planned a huge party; six graduating seniors in their cap and gowns would walk over the creek bridge in their backyard. There would be a DJ announcing the different schools, music but nothing loud or offensive. It would be catered, a covered tent in case of rain, swimming in their pool, fishing in the pond if desired, fireworks in the evening; even a Bouncy House for the small children attending. Volley ball, pickle ball, and maybe a basketball game or two.

What about social distancing? While it was outside, would people remain orderly and follow the rules? Would any of our neighbors become upset and call the police? I’m so happy to report they did not and there were no problems at all.

We have another wonderful family that lives in our neighborhood. They help everyone, and most especially this man owns several pieces of heavy equipment which comes in handy during snowstorms. He’s always the first to plow out a neighbor’s long driveway. Last summer this couple decided to improve their deck and add a pool. This pool was put in completely for their two grandchildren, no other reason. The kids had so much fun in it and usually talked their grandparents into joining them in the water. Everyone knows the joyful cries of kids in a pool; it’s infectious. Two colorful beach balls always floated lazily on the water. It created a happy scene.

Now we come to this summer which has been very hot. The pool is filled with water but the beach balls move almost ghost-like in the hot breezes. No joyful childhood yells or screams. No grandparents cooling down on a water raft in the humid heavy air. What has happened? Their daughter-in-law is terrified of COVID-19. While she sees others getting together for happy times, knows that our county has entered Phase 4 and our numbers are extremely low, she only allows the children to wave to their grandparents through a window. No hugs in months! No playing in a pool in a wide open country yard with plenty of fresh air and trees. She is their mother and she has control of the situation.

I wondered on the day of the huge graduation party what this couple must have felt as they drove by. People and children were everywhere. Two completely different points of view on how this situation should be handled. And strangely, just about everyone understands each.

Christine Collier writes from New York.

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About Christine Collier

Christine Collier

writes from New York.

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