Grandma Peggy rocking the pandemic

I asked my mother last night if she had ever used a gas station bathroom and she looked at me aghast.

“Absolutely not,” she said. “Do you know me?”

I do. And, I may have been baiting her because my mom also has never pumped her own gas. In fact, I have only ever seen her enter a gas station to purchase a newspaper and she only does that when she’s worried the delivery person will not get it to her in time for her to complete her daily crossword puzzle. She is a creature of habit and begins each day by doing three crossword puzzles, and ends each evening with a chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk.

In between, she expends a tremendous amount of energy avoiding germs.

The woman has been a proud germaphobe since the day she was born and glared fiercely at any of the other babies at Deaconese Hospital whose bassinets may have rolled a little too close.

As such, she has risen to the challenge of this global pandemic with admirable obstinance and innovation.

For instance, Mom loves to play tennis but she’s worried about the virus spread.

So, she hired a recent high school graduate to hit with her on Saturday mornings. Mom brings a new can of tennis balls each Saturday and they play outside on a public court.

She also takes a long walk every day and, if you’ve seen her out there, I sincerely apologize because she is a fierce protector of her personal space. She will cross the street three blocks ahead of running into anyone, and she gets annoyed if anyone passes within 12 feet of her. It’s downright embarrassing, but impressive just the same.

I walk with her sometimes, but she makes me walk across the street from her, which makes for a pretty awkward conversation as we shout back and forth.

My very kind friends have issued an open invitation for my mom to swim in their pool, which has saved the summer for her because she is used to a daily swim but won’t do it this summer if anyone else is in the pool. So, we go at odd hours to this lovely backyard pool and she Esther Williams herself while I chat with my friend.

My sisters have similar stories. We visit my mom and she greets us from her balcony, like an octogenarian Juliet, while we sit on the patio below.

The thing is, my mom is handling this COVID-19 situation better than most people I know. She understands that this virus is a threat, and she proceeds with caution. But, she also has found ways to enjoy her life in a responsible manner.

I have to say, I don’t know anyone like my mom. But, I do know a lot of people who are similarly committed to trying their best to carve out a reasonable life in the midst of these crazy challenges and I say, here’s to them!

Bravo for being safe without moping around your house! For being social without exposing yourself and your friends and family! For problem solving in the face of historic challenges! For not blaming people for the really hard decisions they’re making in the face of this virus! For finding a little joy in this old world.

This is as close as my mom would let me get to her last night at Erb Park, where we listened to the New Horizons Band.
Mom chose our seats. Perhaps you can spot the band off in the distance? I had to squint. Fortunately, they played nice and loud.
My sister Kathy sent me this picture of her socially distanced dinner with my mom.
This is a nice shot my sister Kathy took of me, that shadow in the doorway, Kathy, at the other end of the room, and my mom directing us all from the middle (and raising her glass with enthusiasm) , as we all toasted l’ chaim!
Esther Williams in my generous friend’s swimming pool.
My sister Kathy sent us this shot of her Apple App documenting every time my mom made them dash across the street to avoid someone during their walk.
My mom masked up and relaxing on the dock of a house my sister Jenny Airbnb-d this summer.
“Come on! Dance the polka with me!” she said. “But don’t get too close.”
My mom and my sister Jenny all masked up on a paddle boat. This cracked me up.

6 thoughts on “Grandma Peggy rocking the pandemic

  1. Good for Peggy, specially if she is actually enjoying herself in this solitude. Who does her shopping? Did she drive to her sister’s? Any gardening? I assume there is plenty of reading in her days.
    Also walking very early in the morning one does not run into other people.
    Peggy is, and has always been, a wonderful person, I hope her positive attitude remains throughout the fall and winter if this quarantine continues affecting our lives.

    1. I do her grocery shopping and she hired a driver she has known for years to take her to Minnesota (My brother in-law drove her home.) She is an avid reader but not a gardener. I really hope we get this thing under control by winter. 🙏🤞

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