It was Linda’s idea. Because she’s smart that way, and thoughtful, and also a woman of action. She invited Ann to meet daily at 4:00 for coffee and a chat. When I became available, I was invited too.
At that time, early Covid pandemic days, Linda was in a pod of 2, I was in a pod of 3 and Ann was a pod of herself.
Our three houses are in a row. We hopped the fence or walked round the alley. We met on Ann’s stone patio (chairs 6+ feet apart) or Linda’s raised deck (chairs 6+ feet apart) or when it was rainy on my covered porch (chairs 6+ feet apart.) We dressed in all our layers, sat on pads, and sometimes brought a blanket to put over our knees. On really cold days Linda might wear her long mink coat she snagged at a church white elephant sale. Ann might wear a knit hat on top of a baseball cap on top of a hoodie. We knew where the angle of the sun would be and wore sunglasses as needed. Sometimes we brought our own coffee or water or tea and maybe a snack, but often not. The point was just to get out, see each other, and talk.
Through all the seasons last March to now, often seven days a week, we talked. About the pandemic, politics, history, literature, children, neighbors, our pasts, our families, food… what else? What else is there? We talked about everything.
I learned that everyone but me had been in the cafeteria in the White House. I learned that Ann used to spend money on hot cars and beautiful clothes. Linda had adventures- wouldn’t you love to know. I saw my neighbors in a different, wider light.
We talked about racial justice and moments of awakening. Ann realizing that, even though she was once a radical as a high school history teacher, now realizes she was often teaching falsehoods. Linda realizing that her strong ideals of patriotism were for a flawed country she now sees in quite a different light.
Yesterday we recognized it was time for a change. Among us we have 5 vaccine shots. It’s a new normal, and we can see more people. We decided to cut back our “coffees” to only twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays.
So I can see it’s a gradual end to an era. Let’s say, “good riddance” to this time of extreme isolation and limitations. But I remember to say “thank you” to my good friends Linda and Ann.