Happy fish fry! Today is May 24.
I woke up around 10 a.m. following yet another strange dream, though this time I can’t recall what exactly my adventure was. It might have involved wild animals, but I’m not sure. I put on a t-shirt and shorts then headed out to the kitchen to make myself a bowl of oatmeal with honey and peanut butter. When I finished eating, I went to the living room to write my nice notes. I only had five left to finish, but for some reason whenever I want to say the nicest things my mind freezes up and I end up writing generically instead, which I absolutely hate.
I managed to get through two people before my parents asked me to help load our car with food. Today is the day of my grandpa’s annual Memorial Day weekend fish fry, and because he can’t have his usual celebration my family went up to spend time with him in our own small gathering. I was a little worried about going because I’d been around people yesterday, but I just made sure to stay relatively far away from him and wash my hands a lot.
Out of kindness, my parents and brother invited my brother’s friend, Will, to come up with us. Will also brought his dog, Mia, with him so she could run around on my grandpa’s farm. My parents and I left a little before my brother and Will, so when we got to my grandpa’s house we unloaded our food and packed it away in the fridge so it wouldn’t go bad. Then, my mom and I drove into town to pick up some food for my grandma who is currently living in a nursing home in Centralia. She said no one she saw at the store was wearing a mask.
Because of the pandemic, no outside visitors are allowed into the nursing home, which I know has been hard on my mom. Any chance she gets, though, she will drop off a card and a treat for my grandma. I know my mom is anxious to get to see her mother again, but I also know she doesn’t want to risk endangering any of the people living in the facility either.
Once we got back to my grandpa’s house, we set up our chairs in a circle and sat down for a bit. After a while my mom started frying fish, and I went inside the house to wash grapes. When I got back outside I hung out with my brother, dad, grandpa and Will.
We talked about music and tennis and Mia and any number of other topics we could think of. I’d only met Will once before, but he seemed like a nice, friendly guy. When it was time to eat, all of us piled up our plates with fish and an assortment of other yummy items my parents had packed like pineapple, potato salad, coleslaw and baked beans. The spread wasn’t nearly as enormous as in years past, but for our small group it was the perfect size.
When I’d finished eating, I played with Mia for a while. My grandpa, mom, brother, dad, Will and I all ended up playing Toss-It, teaming up into pairs. My dad and brother beat me and Will, then my team beat my grandpa and mom. We played against one another for a while, which was a lot of fun. We took a break and talked for a while more. I’d found a few of my grandpa’s old frisbees, so I pulled one out and dusted it off. Will and I tossed it around while Mia chased it, and eventually my brother joined in. Mia ended up wearing herself out, so we ended when she started to seem lethargic.
I was so glad we’d gone up to my grandpa’s house. I absolutely love spending time with him, and I wish I could do it more often. I have so many fond memories from spending time with him as a kid, but because of the pandemic I in no way want to risk accidentally getting him sick or visa versa. After tomorrow’s journalism gathering to share nice notes, I’m planning on going back to my usual ways of complete isolation.
“I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.”
When we got home, I took a shower to clean myself of the dust and dirt of my grandpa’s farm. I got out, dried off and realized I still had to write three more nice notes. I want to have plenty of time tomorrow morning to print them before going to the journalism get-together, so I will need to finish them as soon as I can. These last three will be the most difficult to write not because I don’t know what to say but because I want to do my best to convey how grateful I am for all of these people. I am excited to see everyone (or almost everyone) tomorrow, and I’m going to make a plan to collect and deliver nice notes to people who can’t attend. I want to make sure everyone gets to have theirs, and I’ll be sure to take lots of photos and videos to remember the moment.
“I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.” ― Walt Whitman
How did you spend your 68th day of social distancing? Let us know in the comments below.