Nieces.

Skippy June Jones, December 2019.

We’re not headed back East this year for the holidays (pandemic and all). I was looking through photos from last year’s visit and I still get a kick out of this photo of one of my niece cats. Her name is Skippy June Jones. She’s quite a character.

Another niece we won’t be seeing this year is our niece dog, Bella. Bella has had a rough year; she’s displaced knee caps, and while she was in surgery for that, the vet left her on the heating pad for too long and burned her side badly. She’s been a couple of months in recovery, having to wear a padded collar to keep from digging at her burns. However, reports indicate she’s coming along in her recovery, so I’m happy to hear that. Here’s a picture of Bella from last December.

Bella, December 2019.

Bella gets along with Skippy and their sister, Peach Dot, who hides all the time and stays away from the paparazzi. I’ve only seen Peach Dot once or twice; she tends to keep to herself.

Energy.

One of the most prevalent results of the pandemic is the closing of schools across the country. When I’m out for a walk, I see the schools in our neighborhood dark, blinds closed, and with little signs of activity. Someone finally changed the billboard in one of the school yards to no longer reference graduation activities this past June.

Private schools in the area are open. One Catholic school is surrounded by neighbors with signs in their windows urging the school to close due to COVID-19, but they still have plenty of kids running around on the playground each day. The German school around the corner hasn’t been using the outside classrooms in tents they were using earlier this school year, it’s been far too cold for young children to be outside for six hours learning their ABCs, but I haven’t seen signs of activity inside the school. Perhaps they’re doing distance learning right now.

Distance learning just isn’t the same thing.

Humans, no matter their creed or color, size or age, or whether they’re an introvert or extrovert, need some sort of contact with other humans. We are all social creatures, even if our needs for certain levels of social contact vary. It’s the exchange of human energy that keeps a society moving forward. It’s difficult for us to accomplish this when we could kill each other by doing the same thing.

A state of affairs ripe for despair.

I’m finally feeling the holiday spirit, albeit in a different manner. I’m not going to risk the health of my family or the folks we see just to exchange some human energy and yuletide greetings. This year will be one of the history books, that’s for sure.

I look forward to hearing the sounds of children playing in the schoolyards again soon.