Post Script: Let me out!


by Frances Edstrom, columnist


I sure hope they let senior citizens out in public again pretty soon. However, this pandemic quarantine has certainly been an educational time.

I’ve learned what my hair looks like without a regular visit to the salon. I’ve seen more senior women wearing baseball caps than I used to, and men with hair that reminds me of the disco scene of the 1970s. If anyone ever wondered if there were too many salons and barbershops in the Winona area, the answer has been revealed, and it is no. Absolutely.

I’ve learned that virtual works pretty well, but in my virtual visits with family, it’s become clear that the human grandmother definitely is not happy unless she is hugging her grandchildren. I can’t wait!

Virtual bridge games are fun, but there’s something about the fact that it’s on a screen, and there are constant reminders that it’s your turn to bid that doesn’t give one the time to halt the game for a good story or a bit of gossip. It’s just bridge. It is nice to see friendly faces, however.

Getting take-out from a restaurant is great, but if you are taking it home and eating alone, no matter how good the food is, it isn’t as good as if you were sitting in a restaurant with friends, surrounded by other people and able to summon a waiter for your every wish. Oh, I’d love to sit down in a restaurant!

I’ve begun to understand hermits, and why old people who live alone sometimes aren’t quite as particular about their appearance as you’d like.

Really, if you wake up in the morning and know you aren’t going to see anyone all day, it’s easy to say to yourself, “Maybe I don’t need a shower today.” And that shirt you wore yesterday? It has a little spot where you dribbled some coffee, but who’s going to notice today? No one, unless you catch the mail carrier.

Now I understand why old codgers yell at neighborhood kids. It’s as close as they’re going to get to human interaction. You’d love to talk to another person, even a kid, but you can’t exactly say, “Hey, little boy, come here, I’d like to talk to you. I have ice cream in the freezer.” You’d get arrested tout suite! So, the only other reason you have for opening the door and talking to the kid is to yell, “Get off my lawn!”

I’ve learned some wonderful things, too. I’ve discovered what it is like to actually watch things grow. Every morning, when I open the shades, I see the Robinson Crabapple tree outside my bedroom window. I watched it develop tiny buds that changed color every day, until they burst out into delicate green-gold leaves. Then it showed new buds, in shades of pink from fuchsia to baby, until one day they opened up into white blossoms that seemed to fill the sky. Now last night and all day today, the rain has come, and when I opened the shades this morning, white petals littered the green grass, that is inhaling this rain as if it were its lifeblood. Oh, wait, it is.

One day soon, when I look out my window in the morning,  I will find the little baby apples. I really hope I’m not still stuck inside when those apples are ripe and the birds and deer come to eat them!

Although I’m grateful for this time to observe nature, read a ton of books, and binge-watch “Criminal Minds,” I have to confess that I’m ready to fly the coop. I’m ready to hug my family and friends, to enjoy a dinner out, to celebrate joyous events, and mourn at sad ones.

People aren’t meant to be in quarantine. Let me out!


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