My dad was 91 when this stupid pandemic started. He's 93 now and he's been isolated so much this time. I'm glad he's not living alone, but it sometimes seems like he is. His assisted living center in Missouri was under lockdown over Thanksgiving. It's a week to Christmas and there are new cases. Residents are confined to their rooms again. The new Omicron variant?
Over the years, Dad and I have spent little time chatting on the phone. But since the pandemic, we've talked almost every day. It's a good change that's come about. We've also squeezed in a couple complicated visits, during the pandemic. Back in November 2020, Don and I traveled cautiously to Springfield and they almost wouldn't let me take Dad from the building.
In June of 2021, Don and I made the trip again. We and Dad were vaccinated and feeling less stress. But the Delta variant had just hit Missouri and there were new concerns with outbreaks at the center. I had to talk my way in, showing vaccine cards, to a director who pretty much admitted she wasn't vaccinated. "Well, not everyone wants to get vaccinated." She said. "It sounds like you're not." She didn't answer, but she let me take Dad.
Shut In at Christmas
Now it's Christmas time 2021 and even boosters don't make us feel completely safe anymore. Residents at the center are back to having meals in their rooms. My sister and I are trying to find ways to make things more festive for Dad. I sent a small, light-up tree and cookies. How did we survive before speedy Amazon?
Jenni sent Dad some treats and 2 boxes of Christmas cards, along with stamps and addresses. We actually got a card from Dad this year! It was signed "Dick". That sort of made me laugh.
Piano for Dad
A couple days ago, I was playing piano and I thought, Why Not? I called Dad and told him I was putting the phone on speaker. I played a Christmas carol and Dad chuckled into the phone, "I can hear it loud and clear!"
I worried that maybe my choice of carols (Douglas Mountain) sounded sad and sentimental. But Dad seemed more amused than touched. He complimented in his own style. "Sounds like you've been practicing." I laughed and suddenly felt odd "performing" for Dad. Instead, I played Name That Tune. I clunked out a couple lines from carols and he named the ones he recognized.
Today we talked about Christmases from the past and all the coordination, with holiday travel. When I was small, we usually headed from Iowa to Missouri, to celebrate with relatives. I'm glad I was a kid and not in charge of packing up 4 kids, the dog and all the presents! Usually there was snow involved.
Then I dragged out my first diary and I read a bit about Christmas of 1968. I was 11 that year. I remember being giddy and excited about having Christmas in Springfield, before traveling abroad. But as I read to my dad, I suddenly had a new respect for my parents, I can't imagine how they planned for our Christmas travels, that year!
There was extra packing for that trip to Springfield, in 1968. But before our family of 6 loaded into the Ford Galaxy convertible, there was lots to do. The house needed to be cleaned and prepped for renters. We had to find homes for the dog and cats, for 6 months. Besides packing Christmas gifts, we had to pack all the clothes and belongings, that our family would need for our half year stay, in Italy. (Dad would be teaching abroad, with Florida State)
Of course Mom handled most everything. She rounded up school books, so she could teach us from home. She ordered a case of "Wash & Dry" packets, for our travel cleanliness. She packed endless art and writing supplies and piles of airmail stationary. She made sure we had travel transformers, (for those crazy European sockets) and Italian dictionaries and maps... She even collected Kennedy Half Dollars, thinking they would be nice gifts for the Italians we met.
It took longer than usual to drive from Tallahassee to (Grandma) Daw's, since had car trouble issues. Once in Springfield, we spent a few days seeing all our relatives and going to my uncles funeral. My dad and I had both forgotten that Uncle Morris died before Christmas.
We celebrated Christmas a day early and got on the road for New York, in the middle of an ice storm. At Kennedy Airport, my sister cut her finger, playing with the new Swiss Army Knife and she barely made it back from an emergency room visit, in time to board Alitalia.
My parents had no idea where we would be living for 6 months. There was no internet for assistance. But Mom had been trying to learn Italian and she knew we'd figure it out, when we got there. On top of it all, Mom was terrified of flying. But lucky for her, smoking was allowed on planes back then. She smoked a lot.
So that was a pretty fun and odd trip down memory lane, with Dad. We shared some songs and we shared some memories. Gee, think of all the entertainment I could come up with, if Dad would move up from his landline to a smartphone!
I started this complaining list/blog, in May 2016. I posted 200 gripes about my breast cancer and then I was done.
On March 13, 2020, I started venting all over again, when another disease (starting with a C) interfered with my life. Only this time, it was affecting more than me. I ranted for a year, until I got my vaccine in March 2021.
Coronary Artery Disease was the reason I restarted this blog on September 26, 2021. This time it was Don who was dealing with a worry that started with the letter "C".
Coronavirus and Cancer, Coronary Artery Disease! All are evil, but none can totally get me down... if I vent! I usually end up feeling a little more positive at the end of each post!