“O-o-h Child… Things are gonna get easier…” The Five Stairsteps 1970

Welcome back to SOLO AT SIXTY!

It has now been over 6 months since COVID appeared on the scene and changed the way we live our lives, meaning it has now been over 6 months since my sisters and I have seen our mom in person. But that didn’t stop us from celebrating her 91st birthday on a very rainy day last week. Senior assisted living facilities are closed to all visitors, but we delivered balloons, a cake, napkins, party favors, and of COURSE a birthday tiara to Mom’s facility, then sloshed around in the pouring rain to the windows of the dining hall where the residents had gathered to celebrate. Imagine the three of us huddled under an umbrella singing “Happy Birthday” at the top of our lungs! The sweet caretakers had mom right at the window so she could see us, and bless her heart, she kept telling us to get out of the rain! Maternal advice. She could not understand why we were outside, in the rain, but she sure was glad to see us. We were so glad to see her too. Tears slipped out of her eyes which set us all to crying. But we also laughed a lot too. Mostly because my sister accidentally put trick candles on mom’s cake, so they kept relighting when she’d try to blow them out! Finally the caretaker took them off and handed them out the window to us so their smoke alarm would not go off! 

“In a world full of chaos, remind yourself that there are still things going right in your life. What can you be grateful for right now?”

How are y’all doing? Any big changes or is life moving along as it was a month ago? Life is about the same for me. Just hoping “things are gonna get easier...” We are slowly finding our way back… very slowly. Our fitness clubs have reopened, with reduced hours and reduced members. Restaurants have reopened with outdoor dining and limited indoor dining. Some churches in VA have opened with social distancing, but in NC, churches are still online. Most schools are still dealing with online learning. Mask wearing has become second nature. Thank the good Lord sports have come back, though for how long is anyone’s guess. 

“Only when normal things are not normal anymore do we realize how special normal things are.”

Carolina held its first football game with no spectators. Only parents of senior players. I mean, seriously? Parents not allowed to watch their kid play in person? In an outdoor stadium that holds 51,000 spectators, parents could not socially distance themselves? Worse than that, in Winston-Salem, ESPN Game Day was at Wake Forest as they welcomed Clemson for their season opener. Again, parents were NOT allowed in the game. There was a kid from my high school (West Forsyth!) who was waiting for that game – he plays for Clemson and wanted his family and friends in Winston-Salem to see him play. Nope. Didn’t happen. As a parent who attended all my kids’ games, I cannot imagine parents of college athletes not being allowed in to see their kids play! 

Since we were not even allowed to tailgate in Chapel Hill, I went to my daughter and son-in-law’s house to tailgate in their UNC Shrine, aka my son-in-law’s Man Cave. We were all decked out in our Carolina football attire, even my granddawg. And we had our normal tailgate food, except we substituted barbeque for burgers at half time (game was at noon). Their large TV with surround sound almost made it feel as if we were there. Well, kinda. Every first down when the announcer said the normal “First Down TAR…”  we followed with “HEELS”! We got to do that a lot! Thankfully. Carolina won. Unfortunately for my friends in Charlottesville, UVA’s first game was cancelled due to a COVID outbreak on their opponent’s team, Virginia Tech. So odd for those rivals to be slated against each other in the first game of the season. Rescheduled for later in the season.

“Delays are just the beginning of grand adventures.” – Kathy Carlton Willis

Counting down to my son’s wedding… only 5 weeks out! My older sister and I made a trip to Kiawah recently to finalize plans for the rehearsal dinner. Due to COVID, some of our plans have to be changed. We’ll be spacing people out, and having servers instead of serve yourself stations. Still… it will be wonderful! I cannot wait! My daughters, younger sister, and I also recently went to a very special bridal shower for my sweet, beautiful future daughter-in-law. It was very safe – outside, socially distanced, masked (except for a picture), food was in individual packaging, and it was so much fun! Her sister had reached out to my son to answer many questions for the game “The Nearly Wed Game” and we all enjoyed his responses, proving that he and my soon to be daughter-in-law know each other very well! We are so thankful this wonderful girl will be joining our family.    

“Looking forward to something and counting the days one by one brings out happiness that cannot be measured by words.” – Aasifa Hameed

What have you learned from this thing called Covid? I have learned that I am now an introverted extrovert or extroverted introvert. Meaning that I kinda like being by myself! Don’t get me wrong, I love going out with friends and being with my family, but honestly, I also enjoy being by myself – working from home or at the beach. Life has been slower and simpler, but I’ve also learned that there are blessings in every situation. Was reminded of that recently when catching up with an “old” friend who surprised me with a visit while passing through Charlottesville. If I were not where I am today I would not have spent as much time as I have at the beach, would not have spent as much time with my kids, family, and friends, would not be having all of these fun experiences, and would not be visiting wineries. Speaking of which, that is one area I have ventured out to. Always outdoors, always masked until seated. My wine buddy (my younger daughter) came up for Labor Day weekend and we ventured out to 4 wineries – all with outside tables. So great having my wine buddy back with me. 

“In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.” – Dave Hollis

Cannot end without acknowledging that women lost a true advocate this week when Ruth Bader Ginsburg lost her courageous battle with cancer. Though small in stature, she was a powerful woman who fought for equality for all people until the bitter end. If you have not seen the documentary “RBG” or the film “On the Basis of Sex”, I highly recommend you make the time to watch both. Have to admit, I was not aware of total realm of RBG’s influence on so many things I take for granted until several years ago. I wish I had been aware much earlier. As Maria Shriver said, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought to make life equitable, just, and fair until her dying day. She was 87 and still suiting up every day. She always had something to give and to say, and she never stopped trying. She used her voice every single day on behalf of what she believed to be right.” What an example to follow…

“So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turnout to be great, good fortune.” – RBG

What can you do to make life better not only for yourself, but for others? Go out and make each and every day a good day. Be accepting, be understanding, but most of all be kind. Be grateful for each day because none of us is promised tomorrow.

“O-o-child, Things’ll get brighter…”



Fall has arrived…

PS – So… It’s FALL y’all! Yesterday at 9:30 am, the Autumnal Equinox, otherwise known as the first day of fall, arrived. The start of fall is determined by the exact time the sun is above the equator. I know many of you are happy about the arrival of fall… but I am not yet ready to say goodbye to summer!

3 thoughts on ““O-o-h Child… Things are gonna get easier…” The Five Stairsteps 1970”

  1. Congratulations on your mother’s 91st birthday 🎁. I too am blessed my father is 94. I love reading your adventures because I see myself in them with you. Mine are not as adventurous but. I like the spark you have to strive for joy and pleasure in everything. You are an inspiration. A great cheerleader for life.


  2. Thanks for the wonderful blog Leslie. I am so glad you got to celebrate your precious mommas birthday. I will always remember how kind she was to me. Life is definitely different because of COVID and working in healthcare is a true challenge. I have been well thank heavens and able to work though it all which is a blessing. I have learned I have an enormous amount of patience- I knew I was patient but didn’t realize how patient.

    I miss spending time with my brother (seen once), friends, church family, and high school sistas. Church in NC is hybrid- mine has been back since late July but with masks, social distancing and you have to sign up to go d/t number limit. I cannot go until restrictions are lifted for the hospital. UGH! COVID go away.

    I am able to care for the special needs boy that I have for 23 years. And able to be with Bruce (my beau) at least at my house and talk to him daily has helped me to continue to get through.

    Take care and hopefully we can all gather sooner than later.



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