Island Senior: The Year of COVID-19
“Island Senior” is a regular column on the San Juan Update written by Peggy Sue McRae.
My birthday is in early March and last year’s girlfriend lunch, themed “Cheeseburger in Paradise” is remembered now as the last “normal” social event a few of us had before things started getting weird. I remember that month well because I was working for Tim on the San Juan Island Update.
It started with cancellations. Musicians and entertainers from other places started letting us know they would not be coming here. From there it snowballed into a flood of cancellations accompanied by a rapid-fire of public service announcements. By the end of that month, the library and the schools were closed and we were “staying home and staying safe.”
Washington state is now in “phase two” meaning OK for limited restaurant dining. Some of us have had our first vaccine if not both. The light at the end of this long tunnel is getting brighter. At the same time, worrisome new strains of the virus are emerging. We are warned not to let up just yet on our safety measures. Keep wearing masks, keep social distancing, wash your hands, and stay home.
Having paid work I can do at home has been a blessing not just because I need the income but looking back over the past year having some kind of schedule, responsibilities and contact with others, has kept me from slipping into a Netflix-induced coma.
Thanks to Zoom, I’ve kept in touch with college friends, yoga classes, my counselor and my book club. Saturday morning email check-ins with my sisters offer solid ground and perspective. I taught myself how to make really good banana bread.
My grocery buddy, besides alternately picking up groceries at the co-op or Kings, brings me amazing things: homemade pizza and bread, canned cherries, salmon, and a pineapple! She makes the best coffee and treats when a delivery includes a conversation on her porch.
My big project of this past year was moving from my cabin in the woods to a comfortable apartment in town. I can hardly believe I managed to pull that off. It brings to mind the lyrics of Ringo Starr, “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends.” Gratitude has been a cornerstone.
How have you managed to get through this past year? Did you discover any unexpected silver linings? Have you learned things from living through this time of restrictions that you think may benefit you in the future? What are you most looking forward to when this pandemic is truly over?