HEARTS AND FLOWERS

February, in our family, has long been a month for hearts, flowers, wine, and candy. My daughter’s birthday, my wedding anniversary, and Valentine’s Day all occur the same week. There was less to celebrate this February as I am ninety-one years old, disabled, housebound, and isolated, same as everyone else, due to the pandemic. I still find ways to celebrate the month of hearts and flowers.

I can either stress myself into knots over Trump and his loyal followers from white supremacist groups, such as the QAnon, the Proud Boys, and the Oath Keepers, or I can delight in the ultrasound images of my unborn great grandbaby. I expect to do both. Even in utero, this baby is clearly exceptional.

If I continue to meet my goal of creating one story a month to post to my blog, there will be around twenty stories by the end of December, 2021. That would be a start on a second book. The working title might be Sunsets, No Buzzards. The first title, Sunsets and Buzzards, was about elderly romance. Now the buzzards are gone from my life, but I still see sunsets from my kitchen window.

The contradictory theme would be documenting my decline and end of life, while preparing for new life in a great grandbaby. Already, I am thinking about baby gifts. A Brazilian woman who lives nearby creates charming handmade baby linens with the baby’s name in embroidery.

Since I don’t expect to know the baby’s name or sex I can’t take advantage of that idea.

At the beginning of this year I had no plan or reason for living. Already, this February, I have taken on two projects, create one more book and welcome two more grandbabies (counting the one from “my other daughter”). I take that as a healthy sign for my mental attitude. I have a purpose for living now, which I didn’t have two months ago.

Also, after believing I would never get a Covid-19 vaccine because of being housebound and unable to go anywhere, Fire Rescue came to my home and administered my first Moderna vaccine. The very nice young man said someone from his crew would come back when it is time for my second shot. I am overwhelmed with appreciation. Long live the Alachua County Fire Department! And long live my son, who made this happen.

Old friends, Brad and Cheryl, visited from South Carolina at the perfect time this month to help me choose and order a new iPad from Amazon. Brad, whose parents used to live next door, has coached me through my entire computer life and always advised me on the right purchases to suit my needs. It was like old times having him here to help me make the choice. Luckily, son-in-law, John, visited from Maryland soon after and transitioned me into the new iPad, my third. I have wonderful, and free, Geek help.

John also got me outside on the street in my power chair for the first time. He walked, I rode, around the neighborhood on three consecutive days. I wore a wide brimmed hat. The North Florida weather was showing off at 85 degrees and sunny in February.

John’s wife, my 56 year old daughter Clea, spent her February birthday money on three take-out dinners. She and John then visited a friend recovering from hip surgery and provided dinner for all. Clea is sociable and altruistic.

Next year on February 11, I will be able to say I was married seventy years ago. Then, I can say if you are interested in knowing about this odd event, read my book, Sunsets and Buzzards, Chapter titled “Getting Married in Log Town, Mississippi.

Several good things are happening. Since starting on steroids I have less pain in my knee joints and am able to discontinue some medications, or at least, reduce the dosage. My caregivers pamper me, showering me with flowers and candy, especially for Valentine’s Day. On cold nights they warm my nightgown in the dryer before getting me dressed for bed. Massages are routine. There are a few advantages to reaching old age. Amazingly, there are some earth angels who actually like the job of caring for, and pampering, old folks.

At the urging of a caregiver, who cares more about my appearance than I do, I got a haircut, courtesy of a friend. Susie, who helped me publish, is one of those capable people who can do anything. She arrived at my house with a case containing all the tools for cutting hair, including a smock. She stayed a while afterwards and we had a great catch-up visit in addition to the much needed haircut.

Another good thing about this February is the successful landing of Perseverance on Mars. Achievements such as this always renew my faith in the human spirit. I look forward to the data and samples Perseverance will send back to answer the question “Was there ever life on Mars.”

Things went quite well this February until I found an un-chewable object in my mouth one midnight while eating crackers in bed. It wasn’t until the next morning I realized that piece was a front tooth. Mine! My daughter and her husband have plans to get me into my dentist’s chair on April Fool’s Day. I will be the one most fooled, if they can get me there. Because of bad knees and the pandemic, until John’s visit last week, I hadn’t been outside my house in eight months.

Flags flew at half-staff in mid-February to honor the 500,000 victims of Covid-19. In spite of that appalling milestone, the number of new cases and deaths was trending downward. Our scientific/medical guru, Dr. Anthony Fauci, talked of possibly some semblance of normalcy returning by Christmas 2021. This February, except for losing our beloved Life History leader, Penny Dodd, the good things have outweighed the bad. There is flickering light at the end of this hellacious Trump/Pandemic tunnel.

February had its good moments. Now we welcome March. Right on schedule, water-oak leaves are falling and azaleas are blooming in my woods. Life looks better.

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