Oh, The Places You’ll NOT Go!

By: Patricia Chadwick

In the midst of a somber and terrifying time, it can be salutary to occasionally “look on the bright side of life” (Thank you, Eric Idle).

My list of planned trips that are no longer happening, grows by the day – Florida to visit friends, Thailand in April with my husband (to see our newest granddaughter – just six weeks old), Wisconsin in April for a Board meeting, Los Angeles in May to attend our daughter’s graduation from USC’s Graduate School of Social Work, followed by Seattle to visit a wonderful group of retired Catholic nuns who have dedicated their lives to the healthcare of countless patients.

And kaput are the half dozen performances at the Metropolitan Opera that I was looking forward to attending with friends, some of whom were coming to New York from around the world. But – the Met is free streaming each evening (at 7:30pm EDT for 23 hours) a complete performance from the past 14 years of its HD series. https://www.metopera.org/user-information/nightly-met-opera-streams/

It almost feels immoral to plan a trip, though it’s never been easier to go through TSA.
We’re all looking for safety and the only place we can find that is in our own homes, provided we allow no one else to enter. And we pray that our quick sojourns to the drug store or the supermarket don’t jeopardize our lives.
Confinement can feel claustrophobic, and for many it truly is. But if “Necessity is the mother of invention,” (Thank you, Plato) it serves us to put on our thinking caps and find ways to stimulate our minds and bodies and to find ways to help others remotely.

It’s amazing how leftover food can be transformed into mouthwatering soup. Odd bits of beef, wilted parsley, a tired onion, and barley you haven’t looked at in the cupboard for more than a year – throw them into a pot with some seasoning, simmer for a couple of hours and be delighted with the outcome.
Two totally black bananas that were bordering on moldy this morning are now banana bread in my house – thanks to a trusty recipe from my dogeared paperback copy of “Better Homes and Gardens – New Cook Book” that I’ve had for nearly 40 years.

A daily walk around my neighborhood – usually first thing in the morning – can turn into nearly four miles if I go down every cul-de-sac. It’s a great start to the day – clearing the cobwebs of sleep and helping to keep me sane. There’s an etiquette that all the neighbors adhere to – as we approach each other, we make sure we’re on opposite sides of the road. There’s no stopping, no chatting, no petting the dog – just a smile and hello as we pass each other.

And yet there are some things haven’t changed in the slightest. To wit, I lost a sock in the laundry today – it just disappeared, and after twenty minutes of getting endless static shocks as I turned sweatpants, nightgowns and tee-shirts inside out, I simply gave up. How come the socks always win that battle?

A week ago, my husband and I participated in a “Zoom Party” with about a dozen friends, at which each of us shared several things: an uplifting experience, a recommendation for a “sheltering in” activity and ways in which we might help those whose jobs are threatened or already terminated.
Here are a couple of ideas we discussed, and they might appeal to you.

If you or your friends know a cook who’s been laid off – there are hundreds of them within a few miles if you live near a big city – how about inviting him or her to do a “Zoom Cooking Lesson” (ZCL for short?) with a group of friends. Together you can collaborate with the cook in advance regarding the meal you’d like to learn to make. Each of you will purchase your own ingredients and “venmo” your instructor the agreed upon price. The zoom lesson can even conclude with a Zoom “communal” dinner, and if you love the experience, make a reservation for the next “ZCL”.

In the same spirit, how about inviting a musician or two for a “Zoom Music Date” (ZMD for short?). While you enjoy cocktails or dinner, they will perform by singing, or playing the piano, guitar, clarinet, harp, violin, cello, and on and on. Pay by Venmo and set up a future ZMD.

Get your inspiration from this link and the picture of these amazing – young musicians at the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
Believe it: Orchestra plays Beethoven 9th from their homes – Slipped Disc

As the proverb goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” So be creative, reach out and make a difference to someone whose livelihood and career are threatened by the insidious COVID-19.

In this frightening environment, where it’s become increasingly difficult to engage in some of the most valuable works of mercy – visiting the sick, burying the dead and sheltering the homeless – it is possible to offer support to others, whose lives have been upended, by engaging them to used their talents to their advantage.
CARPE DIEM (Thank you, Horace) for the benefit of others.