by Sandi Austin
“You’re a little upset by your troubles, and that’s natural enough, but don’t let your mind run on them any more than you can help; drag your thoughts away from your troubles – by the ears, by the heels, or any other way, so you manage it; it’s the healthiest thing a body can do . . . You must keep your mind amused – you must, indeed.”
~ Mark Twain, The American Claimant, 1891
As Mark Twain suggested, keeping your mind away from troubling thoughts by keeping it amused is exactly what several Heart of Longmont households are doing to pass the time and stay sane. During this time of stay-at-home rule and isolation, your “confinement” is only how you perceive it. Getting some work done around the house, playing games again, learning some new things, or doing something helpful for others are some of what our HoL family are doing to keep busy.
Jan Timmons was the first to respond to my call for isolation stories. She has finished two books, one over 700 pages long, and has been quilting and making masks. She says they set up a table with a jigsaw puzzle that they can do in passing. They are enjoying game and movie nights. Jan is also turning her attention to the outdoors and her yard, working on getting her flower beds ready for spring. The flowers should be in bloom in a couple of weeks, and she invites everyone to “drive by my house to see them!” Her most dreaded activity, she says, is cleaning out and organizing the garage. “I just never run out of things to do!”
Brenda and Don Graffis are staying busy with physical activities such as neighborhood and Teller Farms trail walks. Don has been biking and even set up some homemade TRX equipment in their basement to continue the workouts he enjoyed doing at the YMCA. Brenda, not to be outdone, has made some exercise equipment of her own to continue with her Silver Sneakers exercises. She’s also been making masks for Hidden Treasures 2 to be distributed to local care facilities, and working on some Days for Girls materials. There are no children in their home, but Brenda has been making isolation fun for her little neighbor kids across the street. “I make up activities for them and leave them on their porch. We put bears and pictures of Easter eggs in the window.” One thing that’s happening in the Graffis household is a take-out order a couple of times a week. “I could get used to that!”
For Sue Shipp, doing an online grocery pickup order for the first time was a learning experience during her isolation. She admits she was feeling quite smug after she selected her store, chose her items and entered her payment. As her pick-up date got closer, she decided to go into her account to make sure of the pickup date and time. She couldn’t find it! She called the store and discovered they did not have an order from her. She did everything right … except hitting the “submit” button! She had to redo all the steps and felt more confident that time. She got an email confirming her order. All was well. “Live and learn!” Sue says.
Rod and Joan Edmonds didn’t let the stay-at-home order keep them from enjoying cookies and tea/wine time with their friends. Joan made the cookies which Rod then delivered to friends, along with a Zoom get-together invitation. “It was so good to share conversation and some laughs,” Joan says. “It helped to add some interest and fun to the day.” An Easter egg hunt idea was shared by one of their neighbors via email. Every house posts a photo of an egg and, as people walk around, they can count how many eggs they spot.
For me, the stay-at-home order has me living with my daughter and her family in Broomfield. We get updates daily from my husband’s nurses and doctors and continue to pray that he continues healing without any more setbacks. I’m also learning new things. My daughter has taught me how to do Sudoku puzzles, and my 13-yr-old grandson is teaching me how to play poker! I’m getting pretty good at both, I might say! On these recent warm evenings, I’m on the deck admiring the gorgeous mountain views.
For Rev. David Burt, staying away from family at a time like this is difficult. His father is in quarantine at his assisted living facility. “Nobody there has the virus, thank God!” David’s been busy planning videos and sermons for the congregation. During down time, he is reading a lot and watching some old favorite movies. “These are strange, strange times!”
Indeed these are strange times, but it appears that some of our Heart of Longmont family are making the most of them. Carry on, everyone. You’re doing just fine!