“Lean On Me” Bill Withers 1972

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Well… the Easter Bunny is scheduled to come this weekend. Wonder if he will be wearing a N95 mask?!? Maybe he will leave us all one in our Easter baskets! For the first time in 250 years, the Moravian Sunrise Service at Old Salem (in Winston-Salem, NC) will consist of the minister and only 7 band members, instead of the 100’s of band members that usually accompany them. Normally, 7,000+ people attend this pre-dawn service. I remember going one time in high school, taking my grandmother Isabelle, and her 2 sisters, Alda and Ethelyne. Not sure how I was appointed the one to take them, but we headed out before the crack of dawn. Parked, and made the trek to God’s Acre with thousands of other worshipers to hear the minister proclaim, “The Lord is risen.” To which we would respond, “The Lord is risen indeed.” Except, before the proclamation, one of the sisters felt dizzy, probably from being in the midst of 7,000 people, and we had to trek back to our car and head home. Don’t remember attempting that again!

Growing up, we always went to our home church, New Philadelphia Moravian, for the Easter service (not a sunrise service). Of course Mom always made sure we had a new dress that she had lovingly made, often with fancy smocking or embroidery, new shoes, and a hat. As a matter of fact, my family is having an Easter Bonnet contest Saturday to see who has the best homemade bonnet! Results next week! I digress… back to the Easter service… There are 3 parts to this Moravian service, starting in the sanctuary, followed by a portion on the front lawn, before concluding in our own God’s Acre. Our family would then meet up with my Mom’s sister’s family for a big picnic at Tanglewood Park, complete with fried chicken (not KFC but the real thing), green beans, potato salad, rolls, some sort of jello/7-Up salad, and of course sweet tea. Oh and always a delicious dessert. So much fun for us kids and lots of work for my mom and my aunt (which I now realize!). Once we moved to Charlottesville, we always went back to my sister’s for Easter. After church, instead of going to Tanglewood Park for a picnic, our whole family celebrated Easter at her house with a “picnic” of sorts. My contribution was always the fried chicken (new family recipe: drive to KFC, pick up chicken, place carefully on your best Easter dish, and serve). My kids have gone with me to Winston for Easter these past 4 years. Last year we went early Saturday and visited some wineries with my sisters and brother-in-law. So much fun! My younger daughter and I had planned to go a day early again this year to see an exhibit of Tiffany Glass at Reynolda House with my sister on Saturday. Not happening. I am so sad to miss celebrating Easter with everyone this Sunday. (Here are some pictures of Easter outfits made by my sweet Momma for my girls:)

“We isolate ourselves so that when we get back together, no one is missing.”

How are you? Is the quarantining getting to you yet? I am thankful my kids are grown and I am not homeschooling. I cannot imagine how parents are homeschooling while trying to work from home. I admire each and every one of you! And I can guarantee that every parent is worshipping the ground their children’s teachers walk on. Kuddos to all of you educators!

“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.”

My nephew’s sweet wife has been rocking the home schooling for Jack, and sweet Izzie too of course. They share their fun creations with my sisters and me daily. These include, but are not limited to: “making” stained glass (painting the glass on their back door), creating race cars out of treasured toilet paper rolls (empty of course), creations with pipe cleaners, painting with celery, making a cell phone holder (also out of an empty toilet paper roll), making a pinwheel, and some very special rainbows. My sisters and I loved the rainbows so much that they made templates, put together the needed supplies, and mailed out 12 rainbow kits, 3 going to my sisters and me. The 3 of us had a special zoom class with them full of laughter and fun as we made our rainbows together. My younger sister did not have a stapler, so she used medical tape. Still worked! I will cherish mine!

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein

Even with all of the fun times I have had lately, my New Year’s resolution, not to let anything steal my joy, has REALLY been put to the test. It’s a struggle. This pandemic has stolen several opportunities I had to spend time with my kids and family, time at the beach, time with friends, many fun events, and my life as I knew it. But I do have one child here with me and I know my other children are safe and healthy, same for my sisters and their families. There is joy to be found in this. Last weekend my older daughter and son-in-law came by to help me with a couple of small projects. I was so happy to SEE them in person, even if we did practice safe social distancing, well, except with Paige. She was very happy to see me (definitely NOT because I had treats in my hand!). Joy! And I came home from a walk Sunday to find my younger daughter had set up a wine tasting for us on the back porch! More joy!

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” Henri Nouwen

Porch wine tasting!

Speaking of joy, last Saturday night one of my high school friends set up a zoom “meeting” for anyone in our class. After my daughter got me set up, I sat on my back porch, glass of wine in hand, and visited with these people I have known forever. It was so much fun catching up with everyone (some who I have not seen in forever!) that we are doing it again this Saturday night, with more advanced notice. I mean, it’s not as if we have big plans, or any plans, on Saturday night these days! (Well, except watching the new Hallmark movie!)

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” Woodrow T. Wilson

I have a new mantra (in addition to my resolution). This is TEMPORARY. That’s right folks. This is not going to last forever. We won’t come out of this unscathed, but we will come out of this. How will we react? How will we recover? Will there be a new normal? I believe there will be. I think we will relate to people differently – probably hesitate to hug someone or shake hands. Passing the Peace at church will be different. We may be a bit shell-shocked and remain wary of catching the virus. But I also think we will appreciate everything, big and small, more than ever, and not take everyday things for granted any more. I believe we’ll all be a bit more patient and a bit kinder. At least I hope this is what we come away with from this pandemic.

“Every situation in life is temporary. So when life is good, make sure you enjoy and receive it fully. And when life is not so good, remember that it will not last forever and better days are on the way.”

Sometimes I just stop and ask myself, how this can be? How can our lives have turned upside down in such a short period of time? I went back into my Christmas decorations to get my Moravian Star out to hang back up on my front porch. I saw on Facebook that many people in my hometown of Winston-Salem (where there is a huge presence of Moravians!) were getting their Moravian Stars back out and hanging them up, so I decided I would share this gesture in Charlottesville. A symbol of love, hope, and peace. A light to the world. A Christmas decoration at Easter. Joy!

“Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life.”

I don’t want to end without noting that we lost a great singer and songwriter last week y’all, though not to Covid19. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Bill Withers. 81 years young. Safe to say there is no one who has not heard his songs “Lean On Me” (especially recently – it has been the background song to so many inspirational videos) and  Ain’t No Sunshine. He was a classic.

Don’t let these trying times steal your joy. Just remember that this is temporary and will not last forever. Look forward to fun times this summer, when we are on the other side of this challenge. Be smart and stay home if you can. Don’t put yourself or others at risk. Practice kindness. Be the light, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

PS….We all need some humor so here are some “funnies” guaranteed to make  you smile:

“We are about three weeks away from knowing everyone’s true hair color.”

“You might as well go ahead and pronounce the ‘L’ in ‘salmon.’ Nothing matters anymore.”

“Like a good neighbor, stay over there.”

“Back in the day, there was so much toilet paper that people used to literally string it up in the trees of their enemies.”

 

2 thoughts on ““Lean On Me” Bill Withers 1972”

  1. After reading a note in the Winston paper where it was suggested we put up and turn on our Moravian start, I turned mine on. It stays up year round. Have encouraged others to do the same in the name of Love, Hope and Peace!

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