Written by RitaC on August 19th, 2021

I had a little bird, it’s name was Enza, I opened the window and in flew Enza. Jump Rope Rhyme 1918-1919.

Spring 2020

Lockdown begins.

Where is this deadly virus? Will I get it? Will I survive? My husband, my family, my friends?

With schools closed, I’m no longer a Nanny Granny.

I open the kitchen blinds in the morning, feed the dog, feed the cat, feed the rabbit, make a cup of chai, turn on the news. I’ll probably dress. I might take a shower.
I close the kitchen blinds in the evening, feed the dog, feed the cat, feed the rabbit, make a cup of chai, turn on the news. If I’ve dressed, I’ll put on pajamas.

A gray pall drapes itself over my insides. Empty roads are eerie, deserted.

New words emerge: social distancing, lockdown, shelter-in-place, PPE.

My spouse works at home, his silver hair begins to curl over his collar; his white beard overruns his chest. We have a leisurely breakfast every morning and meet for lunch and dinner.

Learn how to wash your hands properly if you never knew. Repeat, repeat, repeat . . .

Search for hand sanitizer, find it in another local, country town, homemade and mint green.
Search for toilet paper anywhere, big grocery, small grocery. Score occasionally.

Make new TV friends in the morning: Gayle, Anthony, Norah; then Gayle, Anthony, Tony;
Norah, in the evening.

“We’re all in this together” becomes a mantra. I feel as isolated as everybody else.

Find masks. Our barista makes ours.

Create new conversation starters: “I like your mask? Where did you find it?”

Curl on the couch when Italy explodes with Covid; we were there last fall, walked the Coliseum, gazed up at David, walked through the ruins and restoration of Pompeii.

Spray keys and credit cards with sanitizer kept in the car after a trip for essentials.

Watch Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s briefings every Tuesday and Thursday.

We listen to our PugZu continue to bark at perceived danger, real or imagined.

Attend zoom meetings.

Call or be called on Messenger video every Sunday for a family reunion of Arizona and Ohio.

Stock up on pot pies: chicken, turkey, beef.

View clips of nationwide protests against mask-wearing, following the leader.

Watch gas bills drop to nothing: we don’t go anywhere.

When toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer appear on shelves, buy quickly; it sells in a snap.

Arrange the eggs in a symmetrical fashion in the carton.

Dress in garbage bags to greet the grandchildren, initially.

Eat Easter dinner in the garage, socially distant and masked.

Awake with permanent, partial vision loss in my good eye. Take high doses of prednisone to protect the other eye from Temporal Arteritis. Learn to live with no peripheral vision on the left.

On my daily walk, I pray for all who are affected by Covid, the entire world.

Watch a documentary on the 1918 epidemic, 50 million deaths.

Flip all the light switches in the same direction.

Feel punched in the gut by the rising numbers of Covid deaths.

Operation Warp Speed begins.

Witness a murder in Minneapolis on TV when Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneels on George Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes and asphyxiates him.

Cumulative Covid Deaths May 30, 2020
Worldwide 388,113 United States 107,248

Summer 2020

On my daily walk that usually takes an hour, I begin to slow until I’m at an hour and twenty minutes, with a cane.
My sacrum breaks, an excruciating experience. I drag myself to the bathroom with canes or a walker, then to the couch to watch national protests and riots over racism and police shootings.

I am numbed by opioids, muscle relaxers, and nerve pain meds but continue to feel the weight of tragedies.

The swing on the deck, padded with pillows, offers early morning birdsong and mild temps.

I order groceries online.

Somehow, we have accumulated seventeen bars of bath soap.

I suffer from chai latte deficiency, unable to drive to the local café; I say this with a grin.

No one we know has contracted Covid.

Every Sunday, my family bubble, grandchildren, daughter, son-in-law and, occasionally their vocal dog, a hoot, gather. Fortified, we survive another seven days.

Wince, feel visceral pain at hearing a new high number of fatalities

Cumulative Covid Deaths August 5, 2020
Worldwide 742,524 United States 154,000

The promise of vaccines grows closer and closer, maybe late October, maybe November.

Dr. Anthony Fauci is my new science idol. When he laughs, which isn’t often, a dimple appears to the right of his smile.

My pace of living slows to a speed I’ve always wanted. But not for this reason.

Fall 2020

The 6 pm stomach grind signals another long evening, as the days darken earlier and earlier.

I undergo hand surgery for a damaged tendon from leaning on my walker and canes while I recovered from my broken sacrum.

Occasionally, my daughter or my husband drives me to the grocery. On a scooter, one-handed, or walking as well as my legs can track that day, I don’t dawdle. Any one could have Covid: that young, blonde woman with a cart stacked with kid cereals and gallons of milk hurrying past me; or the senior couple stopped in discussion about pancake mix.

One Friday night in October, I reach for a dustpan just beyond the pet gate at the top of the basement stairs. It gives way and I fall down the stairs, breaking ribs and my collarbone, seriously hurting myself.

Body pain beyond measure racks me for a number of weeks. Back to opioids, muscle relaxers and nerve pain pills.

My husband’s hair is so long he can wear a man-bun. He won’t of course. His white beard is a wild Santa Claus.

Cumulative Covid Deaths October 19, 2020
Worldwide 1,170,656 United States 220,868

Is hope really coming soon? Is there really light at the end of the tunnel that doctors and news anchors espouse?

Our black mini-bunny continues to hop, shake her ears, and flip her back legs when she is happy; when she’s not, she grunts and runs at us.

Winter 2020

I plead in my mind for travelers to stay home for Christmas. Would I if I were them?

The Christmas Cactus produces one bloom

One vaccine is approved. Hallelujah! When will I be able to get a shot?

My daughter buys a frother for me and a 1/2 gallon jug of chai concentrate with a pump. I stop going to the local coffee shop and learn to make drool-worthy chai latte.

What if the vaccines run out? First-responder, nurses, doctors, staff, rank first, of course.

I stop taking all medications for broken bones.

On live TV, I watch an insurrection at the US Capitol when it was attacked by hundreds wreaking deaths and injuries on police and ransacking the building.

We move the bedroom downstairs. PTSD from my fall plays out in a terror of stairs, horrific nightmares, extreme anxiety.

The winter gray cloaks the pall of the pandemic. Will this never end?

I never think of buying a bouquet of flowers when I order online groceries.

Cumulative Covid Deaths January 24, 2021
Worlwide 2,198,057 United States 427,203

February! I can receive a vaccine Feb. 4th.

What if I arrive for my appointment and there are no more vaccines?

My lips tremble under my mask as I register at Kroger. After the shot I feel euphoric, yet guarded.

A few days later, I remember my 50 pairs of earrings I’ve not been wearing, just alternating the same two pairs over and over.

I remember how to laugh uncontrollably at some joke, some play on words

Our black, once-feral cat continues to instruct us in his care at 70 decibels.

The days lengthen, the crocus and hyacinth and daffodils emerge from the warming earth.

I still watch morning news anchors Gayle, Anthony, and Tony; in the evening, Norah, and all the correspondents and crews. They’ve become distant, trusted family.

My broken bones are healing enough to clean the kitchen windows.

My second vaccine is administered on March 4 and I remember all my necklaces in the armoire I have not worn for over a year.

I begin EMDR treatment for PTSD.

Spring 2021

I name my indoor plants: Nuclear Sister, Dad, Cinderella, Lord Christmas, Vera Allen, Jana, Mickeys, Clark, Audrey, Spike, Cindy, Eustis, Flora, and Mathilde.

The Christmas Cactus produces over 50 blooms for Easter. Her name is Elise.

My husband’s hair is shorn, 4 inches off the back, and his beard is tamed.

I buy a dozen, perfect red roses, place them in a cut-glass vase on the pass-through between the kitchen and the living room.

Over 50% of the US is vaccinated.

A deadlier Covid variant, Delta, decimates India, the smoke of cremated bodies filling the skies in New Delhi.

I open the kitchen blinds in the morning, feed Boo Boo the dog, feed Beaky the cat, feed Nova, the rabbit. I make a cup of chai with froth so high it topples off, and sit beside my husband for the morning news.

The Delta variant is expected to reach the entire US and peak in July and August. The youngest in our tribe is nine and unvaccinated. We change our vacation plans for his safety.

In the evening, I sit beside my husband and watch the sun set in peach and mauve hues, make the same cup of chai, know the belovedness of life, possibly watch the news, and close the kitchen blinds.

Cumulative Covid Deaths May 30, 2021
Worldwide 3,655,575 United States 594,268

All statistics are courtesy of Johns Hopkins University.


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