As the cars pulled around the corner from McNeil Street onto our circle, a lady in a nightie ran out onto the upstairs balcony of the second story condo, waving her hands and shouting, “NO! NO! Go back. He’s in the bathroom!”
The cars made a second circle and when they came round again, the lady was still there, entreating the cars to go away.
Perhaps you’re wondering what’s happening. I didn’t know myself until the next day. Here is the story, both cautionary and heart warming:
It began two weeks ago when my older daughter, a health care professional, began to worry that the Covid-19 quarantine was causing signs of depression in her elderly mother. (That would be me.) At that time, Daughter who lives in rural New Mexico (she does not allow her name to appear in print) attended a drive-by event for a friend who’d had a stroke, “The whole time, I kept thinking, ‘my Mom would really like this!””
“So,” Elder Daughter said, “I emailed my brother/sister in law in Bremerton, to bounce around the idea of a parade for Mom. They know the DuPont area well. Brother alerted me that a parade would NOT be allowed in WA, cautioning that in WA there is: “Lots of social disapproval and rat out your neighbors hot lines…”
“But, Mom was sooo sad, being stuck all alone in her condo, while being 100% compliant with the Governor’s request for the elderly not to leave home at all, for all these many weeks. So I wondered, what MIGHT be allowed in WA??
“Since I live in a small NM town about DuPont’s size, we know that we can always approach the Police Department for the best way to plan for community support, and of course, the DuPont Police Department is equally wonderful! I ended up working with the outstanding Deputy Police Chief DeHart, who advised me on what was feasible, to support an 86 year old shut-in. More importantly, he alerted me as to what is NOT possible, such as a parade, which would require permits (unlikely to be approved during a pandemic) and added, “I want all attendees to know all traffic laws need to be followed with no special considerations to the cars going to the address.”
“On learning of these requirements, we completely changed plans and ended up designing a meticulously socially distant “Cheery Drive-By for Dorothy”, and scheduled it for April 30, the last day of National Humor Month.
This is the note she sent to me the morning of the event.
Ok, here’s what’s planned for our fun Humor Month Happening, today:
It’s a Cheery Drive-By!
A hand picked group of your closest friends have banded together to cheer you up! How?? They will form a caravan and do a “drive-by” to your home.
All drivers will line up at the nearby Fair Bridge Inn & Suites. The Escort will launch the Drive-By at 2:00 PM, and will lead the caravan to McNeil Circle.
The Route in a Nutshell:
“2 loops” on McNeil Circle.
On the second loop around, each vehicle will get to greet you.
As each vehicle stops opposite your porch, the driver plans to call out a short, cheery greeting to you! Then, they’ll drive away & give the next vehicle the opportunity to greet you. This concludes the cheery drive-by.
Other Details, Please:
Everyone must adhere to proper social distancing at all times please.
You are required to stay ‘safely distant’ on your porch, please! Please do not attempt to go down steps or to the vehicles!
Maybe, wait for the caravan in your porch swing, starting at 2:00 PM.
Similarly, Drivers/any passenger are required to remain in their vehicle, at your home.
So that’s our plan for fun today, from people who love you so! Do enjoy, and please email, to let me know how it goes!
All my love,
So the cars lined up and proceeded with meticulous social distancing onto McNeil street and then made the turn onto McNeil Circle and here’s where the lady in the nightie comes in: It turns out that she is my new neighbor and community activist, Kathy. It turned out that her husband, Glyn, was celebrating his 89th birthday that same day, and Kathy thought that the group they were expecting to honor him had arrived early and that Glyn would miss the fun.
When I met my new neighbor, she was fully dressed and passing out May Day bouquets to her neighbors, as she planned a tribute to two of the essential people in our neighborhood, mail carrier, and paper carrier. (Kathy describes herself as a 4R person: reuse, rethink, remake, recycle. )
If there’s one thing we’re learning in these times, is that we need each other so much more than we ever imagined, and there are so many ways to show we care. That will hearten us, no matter what the new normal turns out to be.
To read the back story to this article at The News Tribune website.