A Somber Christmas

Christmas spirit is erupting. All over the neighborhood people have their lights up: icicles, strings, colored bulbs, white. Am I imagining it or are there more than usual? The neighbors have dragged out the inflatable snowmen (in one sad yard, Mr Snowman has sprung a leak and melted into the grass) and the plastic sled with reindeer. There are so many lights that they compete with the giant stadium lights over in University Fields. A neighbor I’ve never met left a little poinsettia at our front door.

Students are tired. I’ve been having Zoom conferences with small groups all week. Most of them went home for Thanksgiving and do not plan to return until next semester. Their classes are all online. One was quarantining in his basement to protect his parents, another was sniffling and said she was just recovering from both Covid and strep throat. I have since learned she is in the hospital.

Although it is a somber time, I think there is relief in the country that soon we will have a more stable government, the holidays are almost here, and the vaccine is clearly on the way. It will roll out slowly, but I’ve heard it will be available to the general public by May or June. So it is just a matter of getting through the next few months… not that that will be easy. 

Every night on the news the reports get more dire about the number of cases, but here in our town of 40,000 it is hard to tell. If I didn’t watch the news, I would think nothing had changed. People are generally complying in wearing masks, many stores are open. The virus is always on everyone’s mind, though. Hand sanitizer is being sold as a stocking stuffer. I saw a zippered mask case for sale. The next town over that was so miraculously free of virus in the spring and summer is now a hot spot in the state.

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