104. Another Isolation

Saturday October 31 2020

We don’t get trick or treaters at our homestead. My educated guess is because we don’t have a sidewalk and it’s rather sketchy to cross our busy road that separates the like of us from the suburban plat dwellers. It would slow down the youngsters and reduce their potential candy yield.

I’m ok with that. I just pretend that I’m buying all these pumpkin Reese’s for possible stoppers-by. It also gives me a clean opportunity to dress up one of the dogs and walk through the neighborhood across the street. A twinge of nostalgia wafts through the autumn evening as I pass by all the kids showing off their alter ego of choice while hyped up on the freedom to run about from house to house getting free stuff.

We knew this year would be different, though. A few communities insisted on continuing the tradition, but of course the the numbers would be down. It wasn’t going to be worth it to have my annual pot of chili on the stove, simmering its umami goodness, while I crunched through the leaves in our local burbs. Actually each year, it feels like there are fewer families out than the Halloween before. I don’t know, maybe there’s a higher end neighborhood they’re going to. I don’t get this kind of intel anymore, since my kid moved out and got married.

Derek knows how much I love this holiday and the joy it brings me. He and Samantha invited us to their place for the afternoon where Derek made us his own version of chili and jalapeno cornbread. We watched a couple of holiday classics, talked about family, and tried not to get upset about how long (months) it’s been since we’ve been together.

Before we drove to Columbus, we received news that one of Don’s brothers had passed away in the early hours of this morning. He’d been ill with a chronic condition, but we had no reason to suspect he was at risk of dying anytime soon. It was unexpected news that we had to carry with us while visiting the kids.

We hadn’t seen his brother since the COVID shutdowns; he was a resident in a nearby nursing home due to his health issues.  When Don last talked with him, just a few days ago, he was feeling low – lonely and bored and hated a new diet he was prescribed.

I’ve complained about the dogs and me being furloughed from our pet therapy gig. We know that this captive audience of people are missing interactions with people outside their units.

And this time, it hits home. The stories we’ve been hearing are now ours to tell. It’s happened to our family.

These are difficult times.  

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