The Covid outbreak upended everyones’ lives in early Spring of this year but most of us have found ways to adapt as we closed out Summer. Our family certainly has, but our workarounds are soon going to require workarounds.
After hunkering in our bunker, Marianne and I got adventurous in early June and planned a socially distant way of coming together for Father’s Day in June. A visit from our eldest son who came in from out of town sort of forced our hand, and not being willing to waste the opportunity for all of us to come together, we hatched a plan.
Our plan involved our large, wide, tree-shaded driveway and the garage that ajoins it. All of those camp chairs we bought back in the days of spectating at kids’ soccarbasefootsoft ball games were brought out from their corners, along with the wooden TV trays we got for a wedding gift and which Marianne has grown to dislike so that outdoor use is perfectly fine.
Chairs/tables were grouped in a wide circle, food was cooked and served up by people in masks and gloves and for a little while there was a kinda sorta normalcy as we luxuriated in the company of family (that now kinda sorta includes the loved ones of our loved ones, who have become loved ones in their own right).
With the hard work of planning done, the template was set for a handful of subsequent get togethers. We are not known as entertainers but have done our best to provide the place for family to come together or to visit with a few old friends. With the system down to more-or-less a science, our only variables have become the menu and whether the weather will force us into the garage.
We had a reprise this past week for our daughter’s birthday. Burgers were grilled, Marianne’s family-famous potato salad was served and our old hand-crank ice cream freezer got its second workout of the year. Or should I say that those of us who did the cranking got our workout. A quartet of healthy twenty-somethings is a great benefit here.
It occurred to me that it was a nearly perfect evening. Good food, better company and virtually perfect weather saw us all in the driveway as we enjoyed our ice cream at sunset. The other thing that dawned on me (if it is possible for something to dawn at sunset) was that we live in a part of the country where our system will soon become untenable.
We probably have another month where we might be able to get by with heavy sweatshirts and maybe a firebowl, but once November hits the fun will be over. Maybe line idling cars up sideways in front of the open garage door with heat blasting through open windows on one side? There are probably about fifty reasons why this isn’t a good idea, only one of which being that it probably wouldn’t work all that well anyway.
The traditional holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are usually well-celebrated in our extended clan but we sit scratching our little heads about how we are going to make this work. Going back to the Zoom brunch we shared at Easter seems pretty lame at this point.
How about you all – any thoughts on how to combine cold-weather holidays and social distancing? This will probably get written to death starting around the first of November, but it can’t hurt to get a head start.
Photo credit – opening artwork offered free at Pixabay