So here I am. Hunkered down in my home, patrolling the parameter from inside. Making sure that no one, NO ONE, even the mailman or UPS guy is able to scale the parapets. I am secure. I am vigilant. And, I am alone.
All day long, every day, I scan the wavelengths, searching for something to listen to or watch besides public health announcements. I am alert. I am involved. I am aware of how many cases of the corona virus have been documented in the Tortuga’s. For those of you among us that are as yet unenlightened, that is an island that is part of Haiti. OK. I had to look it up. But here’s my point. I live in Maine. I am concerned about places like New Hampshire, maybe Vermont, or Nova Scotia. You know. The old neighborhood.
But here is my problem. I am 80. I have often said age is just a number. However, it seems that it has also become a category. A high risk category. That old virus is going street by street looking for, you guessed it, me. It has to do with my immune system, or more correctly, what used to be my immune system and I kind of resent that. I have spent a lifetime avoiding accidents, idiots, egoists, bores, door to door salesmen, used car dealers, and jelly doughnuts. I have fought the good fight, and if I can believe what I am bombarded with daily, I have lost.
In a period when I have the time and the inclination to help my fellow man, I find that I am the one everyone is encouraged to help. I will admit I love the attention. I have had so many offers to help, that I have lost count. But, in reality, I feel like I should be initiating those calls and making those offers instead of being the recipient. Oh sure, I adhere to the prescribed guidelines the CDC has published. Well, a lot of the time. That guy in the Maine Bears ball cap at the grocery store could be me. Hard to tell from six feet away while wrapped in a winter coat with the collar turned up, a scarf wrapped around my neck so my head only comes out when I want to breathe. Think turtle. Someone who is wiping down the handle of the shopping cart with sanitizing clothes and saving a couple in my pocket. The guy who is randomly perusing the empty shelves as a form of entertainment, passing the occasional shopper that, coincidentally, is another senior that is also living on the edge. Truth be known, I haven’t met this many people my age since I joined a bowling league in the eighties.
But here is the thing. I am not alone. The spirit of the American people, like the Phoenix, is beginning to rise from the ashes. I have seen church groups form committees to provide assistance in various forms. I have seen businesses altering their operations to address the current problem, and still provide a service to those that need it. I have even seen our government agree on a few things. Really!! But today I saw something that just warmed my heart. I was sneaking out to take one of my dogs to the groomer. Yesterday, it was a busy boarding kennel with a thriving grooming business. Today, it is an empty kennel with one groomer who meets you at the door, with rubber gloves, to accept your pet. Why wouldn’t I sneak out to patronize this business so it will still be there when this is all over. But again I digress. It was when I was on my way to the groomer that I passed a little stand on the side of the road. I stopped and snapped a couple of pictures because it said to me this is it. This is us. This is where the real people live. This is how we will, as we have always done before, get through this.