By Pat and Jimmy Stokes
We are doing as well as could ever be expected: we aren’t sick and we are still married! These past two months have been incredibly different and interesting for both of us. We missed several important milestones, like our 48th wedding anniversary, a granddaughter’s 20th birthday, Easter at First Methodist, and now Mother’s Day without the girls. We have gained some needed down time. Jimmy is still a policy analyst for the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders, so the whirlwind of the General Assembly was in full force until the Shelter in Place began. That meant he had been driving to Atlanta to lobby for educational leaders, writing reports, and answering questions on the telephone at a furious pace. My involvement with the Boys and Girls Club and the Humane Society of Morgan County had been packed with tasks, along with managing the care of my dear step-dad, who turns 103 next month.
Suddenly, things slowed dramatically. We still had responsibilities, but we stretched them out so we were not out of the house so often and did all we could on our phones and laptops, even though the internet strength has been weak at times with everyone working from home and completing lessons on line. We continue to support our local restaurants with take-out on the days we usually had gone there to eat, and we spend much more time relaxing on the sofa and eating meals on the screened in porch. With both of us home for more meals, I spend more money at the grocery and run up the electric bill with increased use of the stove (Jimmy can’t hide my presents in the oven right now!)
The hardest part has been separation from our daughters. Dona is here in Madison, but she refused to come near us in fear she might bring COVID-19 to us. Mary is in Decatur and working from home sheltered in place with Doug the Dog, so there was no way to visit with her, either. Thank goodness for modern technology because we could still stay in touch. All said, we probably talked more often on the phone than before the pandemic.
One activity that we joined forces to achieve has been our three mile walk with Lucy and Prince, our Schnauzers. Not only did we get needed exercise with all the regular meals, we got to wave at our friends who tapped their horns and waved as they passed or rolled down the windows for a quick hello. A regular ride on weekends has been through the campus of the new middle school, as we watched it take shape toward completion–what a dream come true for our community, even if the move-in had to be delayed.
This, too, will pass. Our main hope is that the kindness that has surfaced as we help each other through this ordeal will endure. Though politics will crank up as fall approaches, may all the name calling, false reports, decline or evaporate in favor of what all the candidates will do for the city, county, state and nation as we all express our preferences at the polls so we can all be proud of America.