What I missed the most this summer was hugging my kids, grandchildren and close friends. Fortunately I could hug my husband!

When we were away over the winter I couldn’t wait to get back to Rhode Island to see my children after six months. But I forgot about the restrictions from the pandemic. The first time I saw my eldest daughter on her outside porch with masks on and six feet away I was happy but also sad that I could not physically embrace her!

We scheduled some outdoor meetings with close friends. Normally we would greet each other with hugs. I am a hugger and with everything going on these days, fires, floods, pandemics etc. who couldn’t use a good hug?

Other things I missed were going out to restaurants and having more family parties. We had my husband’s milestone eightieth birthday celebration on Zoom which went pretty well but was not the same as the planned shindig I had hoped for in July. “Maybe next year,” we all said, “Maybe next year we’ll bundle all those missed parties together and have a big, beautiful bash for the birthdays and anniversaries devoured by Covid 19.”

Then this afternoon I experienced something which made me wonder if I had missed anything this summer after all! After a doctor’s appointment today, I said, “Marie, time for a milkshake at Greenline Apothecary.” I bought the delicious coffee shake and then decided to take a walk down the main street in Wakefield, while periodically lifting my mask to sip my milkshake. The gentle breeze was comfortable and I started to notice things as I walked. These are things not so easily noticed when you drive by in a car.

I read the menus posted outside to see what could be ordered online. I noticed how local restaurants were creatively placing tables and umbrellas in their parking spaces or under tents. Dining al fresco was becoming the new norm in order to survive economically in the fair weather. And it looked like fun! Also plants were all around, giving the feeling of green and vegetation. People walking around in masks and some in cars were friendly and greeted me. I enjoyed seeing what was going on in the shops and how everyone in the village was coping in a new way. I walked over the footbridge and noticed the lilies floating on the Saugatucket River. It was a pleasant day and I felt carefree and content noticing the little things. Perhaps the stuff of life is simple and not so bad after all, in spite of the pandemic in the summer!

Marie Younkin-Waldman


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