It is amazing what just a little touch of normalcy can do for the soul during these trying times.
Last week we vacationed in an isolated beach house on the Gulf of Mexico with well over six feet of social distancing between us and the neighbors.
It was also our 39th wedding anniversary and daughter Rachel-Johanna joined wife Danny and I mid-week. Life, it seemed, was normal again.
Jo hadn’t been on vacation with us in probably six years and we’ve seen very little of her in the last six months. Had not touched her — hugged her — since January. We finally got that hug Friday night. She’s been exposed and tested, and found negative, (her mask worked) and quarantined and all that stuff, so the hug was in order. It felt good, real good!
I suppose it will likely be Christmas or some time during the holidays before we are together again for any extended amount of time so that one hug will have to last. And last it shall.
For those few days kayaking in the Gulf, frolicking in the surf, lounging in the sand, and watching the moon swell over the sea from the ocean-front deck gave us the impression of normalcy. Not much television news, no radio, tried to lay off the Internet as much as possible, and no signs of a worldwide pandemic made for that wonderful sense of normalcy.
Fort Morgan, where we vacationed, is family oriented, and most all the people you see there are in their own family units. It’s nothing like a Spring Break scene and the houses are not stacked one on top of the other so the recommended six feet of separation is more like 60 feet most all of the time.
There was fresh, salty air, and only one rainy day, and the sun shone down, and the breeze blew perfectly, and the COVID-19 virus, though you knew it was lurking in someone’s house for certain, was not the main concern each and every day. It was like a normal week on the beach. Like a week on the beach in 2019 or before.
Sure there were extra cleaning precautions and hand sanitizer and extra soap at every sink and a big can of Lysol waiting to be sprayed at any given moment, but most of those things we also did in the past because you never really know who has stayed in a house before you. So, there was still that feeling of normalcy.
Sunday morning came, and the cooling Gulf breeze had died down as it sometimes it does, and the sun was bearing down hard, and packing up became kind of a chore just as it has been so many years before. But, you know what, that dreaded chore itself was simply another nod to normalcy!
We had hoped that staying through Sunday would make the drive home not quite as hectic, especially through Mobile as in years past, but that was not the case. There were fender benders, a pretty bad accident — neither involving us thank goodness — and bumper to bumper traffic going 85 miles per hour on the interstate. That too is normal!
It didn’t take long, though, for us to snap back to reality. A brief stop at a service station for a tank of gas and out came the masks, and the sanitizer, and the bleach wipes, and instantly we were back to the reality of the summer of 2020!
All of my life I’ve not really been one that considered himself normal. I’ve never, well hardly ever, focused on the normal way of doing things or the thought that I would ever, and I mean ever, embrace the feeling of normalcy as I did last week.
But I did, I am, and I think I probably will forever be grateful for those 10 days on the beach with my little family, in a tiny little beach house not doing anything except enjoying some much-missed normalcy.
Back home in the real world now I’m afraid we’ll be longing for a little more normalcy for a long time!