Thursday Tidbits

Posted on July 23, 2020 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet


One of my many hikes with Pete


What I did on my Coronavirus vacation.

I’m heading back to school next week. You remember when you were a child, there was a great deal of anticipation about the return to school. You knew you were going to get to meet up with your friends. There would be some butterflies as you and your mom went shopping for back to school supplies. In our part of the world, it also signaled the arrival of the Exhibition or what is affectionately known as the Fall Fair. Invariably, on the first day back, your teacher would ask you to write an essay summarizing your summer holidays.

I am not making light of the pandemic when I refer to the last four months as a vacation but for a handful of us, this hiatus from the normal rhythm of life, provided an opportunity to do some interesting things.

Like so many others travelling back home in March, I experienced self-isolation for the first time. Truly, it wasn’t a hardship for me whatsoever. Family, neighbors , and friends couldn’t do enough for me. Other than not being able to go for walks, being in quarantine was a mild inconvenience.

In the time given to me, I was able to write a book, produce 50 episodes of a live Facebook show called Pillow Talk, take care of some estate planning matters, and learn the art of making cream pies.

I took part in educational Zoom meetings taking Mindfulness training. Other Zoom meetings were an opportunity to connect with family in various parts of the country. Even though we were apart, we learned to connect in a new way.

The real gift for me was a chance to spend time every day with my son, Peter. Once the notion of the “family bubble” became a reality, we walked or hiked 6 out of 7 days, usually followed up by a cold beverage or a meal. Rarely at this stage in life, do we have the chance to spend quality time with our children.

I got to reconnect with an old school mate, Keith Currie, a talented artist who painted an original piece of art for me. Social media kept me connected with friends around the globe. For the better part of two months, I had a weekly Whatsapp video call with my friend Enrica who lives in Bergamo, Italy, once the epicenter of coronavirus.

I’m still amazed that at an advanced age, I continue to meet new people including the Purcells and the Bonvies who I met at Cape George Point on one of my long walks.

I sat on the deck of a cottage overlooking Lochaber Lake chatting with an old friend and had lunch on another occasion with the irrepressible Merle Taylor.

The greatest lesson I learned over recent months is the importance of essential workers. I think most of us have always appreciated those folks working in the health care sector. Especially during this pandemic, they have put their own lives on the line every day. However, this crisis has shown us that many often overlooked and underappreciated workers who keep our facilities clean and our grocery shelves stocked, are to be respected if not revered.

The pandemic has caused death, illness, anxiety, untold family pressure, financial hardship, dislocation, and isolation. It has also brought many people closer together and made us realize that the simple things in life are to be cherished.

I think I can say that I am a reasonably optimistic person but I feel like we are still in the early innings of this health crisis and that things are not going to be normal for some time to come. This does not mean that life as we know it has gone forever. We have a new normal in front of us and we can either curl up in a ball and worry ourselves sick or see it as an opportunity to move forward in a different way.

Have a great weekend.

P.S. One of Antigonish’s most beloved citizens has died. Hamish MacGillivray was a fixture on Main Street for decades. Here is a story I wrote about Hamish a few years ago.

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