Island Senior: The Year of COVID-19

Posted March 2, 2021 at 5:30 am by

Many Moons - Artwork Peggy Sue McRae

“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?

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Categories: Island Senior, Lifestyle

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