It had been a long day. I had been yawning, binge watching the telly, and scratching chigger and gnat bites when the cellphone rang.
“I know you’re bored, so the family and I are coming over for a short visit,” son Bill said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing y’all,” I said.
“Be sure and wear gloves and your face mask,” he reminded me. “And don’t forget, we can’t get close,” he added.
I waited in the front yard, heart pounding with anticipation; I was so excited you might have thought that Meghan and Harry were coming to visit.
When Bill, daughter-in-law Binnie Jo, and granddaughter Peyton pulled up and stepped from the car, we were all clad in the new normal—wearing gloves, our arms and body covered (even though it was hot), and face masks. We stood over six feet away from each other. If I had seen a picture of us a couple of months ago, I wouldda said, “What in the Tom Thunder is wrong with y’all? I don’t have B.O. I bathed last night, and used deodorant this morning!”
“Sorry we haven’t seen you before now.” Daughter-in-law Binnie Jo spoke through the layer of gauze covering her nose and mouth. I had a hard time understanding her, so quickly cupped my hands around my ears, (I had seen my deaf grandfather do this many times) and it helped—a little.
“Don’t forget if you have to sneeze,” like a teacher instructing her students, Peyton raised her hand, and pointed a finger. “Go to the street,” she instructed. “You’re old, and if you sneeze and have the corona virus, we might catch it.”
We had a nice stand-apart from each other visit. All too soon it was time to say goodbye, but even I would have to admit, it had been kinda hard to talk through our nose and mouth shrouds.
“Let us know if you need anything,” Binnie Jo said. “Sorry it’s been so long.”
I didn’t tell them, but it was a relief of sorts that they hadn’t come by earlier. I had no real mask until yesterday, when my thoughtful next door neighbor, Tim Gnau, bought me one. Before then, unable to shop, and not knowing where to look I had improvised my face coverings.
I started off wearing a scarf on my head tied cowboy-bandit style, but it kept slip-sliding down.
Surely there was something in the house that would do, I had thought. Searching through my chest of drawers, I found two eye masks, one pink satin, with colored eyelashes painted on; the other one, white, and also satin was inscribed with words written in dark letters: “Just ten minutes more.”
Trying to do right, dressing for the store
No face mask, so two old eye ones I wore.
One was pink satin, purple lashes painted on.
Seeing myself, I gave a loud groan.
The other white linen, folks stepped back,
“Ten Minutes More’ was written in black.”
I don’t think either one would ever be coveted by anyone else, but pull those little babies down a notch, and they worked fine for a face cover. Now, I don’t think the family would have been too proud if they had seen what adorned my face, but yours truly, I kinda like them. As a matter of fact, if prizes were being given out for originality…
Unfortunately on my usual early morning dog walk I did discover something though:
Chiggers and gnats
Like pink satin masks.
But since Tim gave me a real one, those artsy flying, biting bugs are now off somewhere else, searching for a better or more exciting tasting ground.
A few other unusual problems have arisen with our now new normal; not just itchy nose and eyes; you might have seen something about this one on the telly. With beauty shops closed, when and if you do, run into any of your friends, neighbors, or family, you might be surprised to see what their real hair color is.
Please forgive me but that thought brought to mind an old family memory, a few words I heard my mother say, off and on for as many years as I can remember.
“Lottie Elyne had blonde hair when she was born. And if I have to stick her head in a flour barrel, she’s gonna stay a blonde.”
‘Til a couple of weeks ago, those wishes had been honored.
I must say, at my age, with the beauty shop doors closed, the gray not only intrudes, it rules. I tried to follow what I knew would be my mama’s wishes, and of course there are other ways than a flour barrel.
To overcome the gray, some time back I bought a stick of hair dye that my beauty operator uses. Now, with my hand wielding the stick though, the hair strands came out, not a soft blond doing away with the gray way, but with bright, henna-reddish streaks that looked like the tail on my mama’s fox-fur stole.(Years later that old stole was used several times in plays at the Jackson Little Theater).
So for now the head’s covered up, and a good bit of the time I just don’t look in the mirror if it can be helped.
There’re a couple of things to remember—although you can’t touch each other, you can always hug your dog or cat, and no matter how good or bad a situation is, it will always change.
There’s an old saying, “Kindness is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back.” So, maybe you can give someone a call who’d like to hear from you or someone who might need something you can help with.
Other things have changed. This morning when the Roo and I were walking, I saw a neighbor talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought the cat understood her. I bent over and whispered in my dog’s ear. “She thinks that cat knows what she’s saying.”
Roo Roo and I both laughed at her.