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Posts Tagged ‘Normal’

This week it seems like some of the all encompassing pandemic air is being released.

Maybe it’s because the Grands have had their first Pfizer shot. Maybe it’s because the numbers in Davidson County are trending down; the community prevalence of new Covid cases is 11.8 per 100,000 with 63% vaccinated! Not too shabby for our Blue dot in a Republican state. Before Bob and I leave the house, we think twice about masking up. Will we be going inside a large public space with lots of people? If so, I sling my happy mask lariat around my neck. But more and more, we are leaving the masks at home.

Our annual doctor visit was scheduled this week, instead of a remote consultation we actually drove to Vanderbilt for a face to face, the first time in two years. Masks were required in the hospital of course. Instead of a stylish pair of boots and long white coat, my wonderful GP was wearing scrubs. She had contracted coronavirus from a patient and had been very sick last year. Like the Bride and Groom, she must shower and decontaminate after every shift to protect her family, so scrubs it was.

I remembered the three words! Now we have to schedule blood work, and a mammogram. Just as the weather is shifting, we need to venture out more and more.

The highpoint of our outings was having dinner with a group of neighborhood friends INSIDE at a newly reopened local restaurant! The tornado that preceded the pandemic had demolished this iconic eatery, and they were finally having a last minute “soft” opening. I wrapped myself in a long puffy coat and we walked there in the dark, turning the corner to see party lights and hear the sound of laughter and bonhamie!

This must have been what it was like for the Flapper going to a speakeasy.

A waiter smuggled our little group into a private area, away from the bar and the noise. It was so so good, sharing food and drinks and stories, getting caught up, making plans for the future. Our masks were down, it was almost “normal.”

But I made the mistake of staying home the next morning and watching the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. It’s happening at the same time as the Ahmaud Arbery trial. Did you ever wonder why one trial is named after the armed murderer, and the other is named after the shooting victim, the man who was ambushed by a father and son. Do you wonder why one jury is not allowed to see a prior video of Rittenhouse outside a CVS talking about how he wished he had his gun so he could kill shoplifters…

While the other jury gets to see a prior video of an unarmed man, Arbery, walking through a home construction site?

This is a prime time lesson on institutional racism. If you are a Black man in this society, you must think three or four times before venturing outside for a jog, a walk, or a ride in your car. Because in some parts of this country, young white boys sling their AR 15s over their shoulders and drive with impunity across state lines to “defend” used car lots, because cars must matter more than people.

Objects in the rear view mirror

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Like migrating birds, Bob and I took off from BNA to visit my brother, Dr Jim.

He lives outside of Minneapolis-St Paul, the center of the legal universe this week as the trial of George Floyd goes to a jury. Fences and barricades are up, a large contingent of our National Guard stands ready. Right down the street in Brooklyn Center, Officer Kim Potter allegedly mistook her gun for a taser, killing Daunte Wright. Mr Wright will surely have his day in court too, but can we actually ever reform a culture of police violence?

The judge in the Floyd case is currently giving instructions to the jury – he is explaining what “intent” means. How can we know what Officer Chauvin intended to do about an alleged counterfeit 20 dollar bill; what did he think might happen while he continued to press his knee down on Floyd’s neck? Potter at least is heard on her police video threatening to tase Daunte Wright on a traffic stop that never should have happened.

Both Bob and Dr Jim said if they had been born Black in America, they’d surely be dead by now. Jim has a Vietnam Vet license plate on his car, so that when a cop once stopped him, he eventually waved him on and thanked him for his service.

We were watching the trial of George Floyd when Bob spied a wild turkey walking through the trees outside our window. He was waltzing along in the tony minneapolis suburb without a care in the world. I’d seen squirrels and chipmunks race across Jim’s deck, and later two big deer wandered into our line of sight from the living room couch. My husband almost thought they were elk, they were so huge and majestic!

I thought about the time, early on in 2020, when Bob was weeding around our city house and a glorious, fluffy-tailed red fox came within view – they both stopped and looked each other in the eyes. Then he bounded off across the street and behind an apartment building. Did you know there was a coyote taking up residence in a bathroom at the Nashville Convention Center?

As things return to some sort of stasis, I’m hoping that wildlife might continue to shock us out of our conspicuous consumption. As we begin to travel again, in cars and planes and trains, enlarging our collective carbon footprint, I dream that more and more people will turn to sustainable energy, like bikes, public transportation or electric cars. Of course, a Tesla would be nice, but there are more affordable options out there right now.

Thursday is Earth Day. If we intend to care for Mother Earth, we must be able to care for ourselves and end systemic racism in our country. I saw a sign in MN that said, “End State Sponsored Terrorism,” and I thought about not just reducing and reforming the police who are increasingly militarized, but also confronting our legislators and their addiction to guns and the money gun lobbyists throw around.

The US has seen at least 147 mass shootings in 2021, according to data from the GVA, a non-profit based in Washington.”

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/16/us/mass-shootings-45-one-month/index.html

As children return to school, as we set about going to church or a mall or even a grocery store, will we continue to fear for our lives? Should we Americans accept this as “normal?” Republican TN Gov Bill Lee recently passed a bill that would allow anyone to carry a concealed weapon as of July 1st! The law allows anyone over 21 to carry open and concealed handguns WITHOUT a permit!

We cannot return to this normal: a time when driving while Black is dangerous, a time when bullet-proof backpacks are prized, a time when clean air and water was a political issue. Our slow, migration back to semi-normal life must be done thoughtfully, and with the best of intentions.

Five siblings

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Italy has quarantined 16 Million people. Meghan and Harry are finishing up their official royal duties. And Bob and I have moved back into our home after the tornado because we have our power back!

Women all over the world were marching yesterday for equal rights in support of International Women’s Day. Fighting for equality, and the right not to be raped. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51791335

The NY Stock Market had to suspend trading this morning because of its torrential fall. It’s hard to watch for retirees like us. And it’s not just here, a sharp drop in oil prices has had a domino effect around the world. Today has a name, “Black Monday.”

But in our little world, the lights have come back on; and the outpouring of love and support for our community continues and is life affirming. Every single day, a restaurant or a church or a group of people show up with a barbeque grill in a parking lot dispensing hot meals and drinks to everyone. We share our stories, our extra bedrooms and bathrooms. We sweep and clean and pick insulation out of fences. We’ve moved back into our house.

Yesterday I tried getting back to “normal.”

I went to the Publix and was determined to cook dinner. It was jam-packed with young people probably moving back into apartment buildings since the tornado touched down, that is if their building wasn’t condemned. https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/realestate/vista-germantown-condemned/ar-BB10LG80 I asked the young Black girl packing my groceries if she was alright, she lives in North she said. We had quite a heart to heart right there.

It’s funny how I’d just been explaining what “small talk” is with the Grands. We don’t do much of it now, it’s all deep talk.

I had my first Pilates lesson with a friend of the Bride whose studio is right down the street. Her building, an arts cooperative, didn’t have power yet but it was 68 degrees and sunny. Rebekah helped me heal my arthritic parts, she dispensed her knowledge with love. She lives in East.

Bob walked me to her studio so he could stop by our favorite Japanese restaurant and talk with neighbors – they were serving chili on the patio. Then he planted his raised bed with winter vegetables. I kept thinking, spring is coming, it’s such a beautiful day and yet so many people are still suffering, what else can we do? I already mentioned Crossroad Pets, their employees are in hotels and their animals are in foster care now. But a donation their way would be incredible. https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E330162&id=1

Here are someĀ  more organizations that are on the ground in Nashville if you’d like to help:

The Community Foundation of Middle TN – https://www.cfmt.org/

Middle TN Emergency Response Fund – https://www.cfmt.org/giving-and-investing/become-a-donor/give-to-a-fund/middle-tennessee-emergency-response-fund/

To find out what else you can do, visit https://www.nashvilledowntown.com/events/numnashvillestrong-tornado-relief

We’ve dropped off diapers and batteries, and now the big machines are coming in and clearing out. Picking phone poles out of trees. Our neighborhood is a patchwork quilt of blue tarp roofs. But the Farmer’s Market has reopened and last night I made comfort food.

The CDC is warning “old” people not to travel, to stay home. I’m happy cocooning in place; we have lights and heat and wifi! When we were prepping for the coronavirus, I never thought we’d be hit by a tornado. Normal, whatever that is, in Nashville will never be the same. Oh, and I dyed my hair pink.

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