If you’re like Hubby and me, you’re stuck inside until the invisible storm dies down. From what I hear in the media, it’s dangerous outside. I watch the news about the pandemic, but I can only watch so much. Too much is too much.

It’s a sobering awakening to find out you’ve lived long enough to be in the high-risk category for illnesses. I’m grateful for having lived this long, but I don’t think of myself as being that old. On the inside, I’m still very young and I plan to keep thinking that way. However, I’ll do what’s expected of older folks when they ask me to stay inside for my own good and for the good of the health care system.

Hearing about how COVID-19 has ravaged northern Italy reminded me of our trip there in 2016. Hubby and I traveled with a group to the alpine region of Europe and spent several days in the Italian town of Stresa on the shores of Lake Maggiore. The mountains surround the lake, and the weather was much warmer than expected for mid-September. The people there were very friendly and helpful. The best food on our trip was during our stay there.

One elderly shop owner, Alma, was especially memorable because she hosted Hubby and I for an afternoon tea of sorts (she offered us wine). She and her husband started the shop which was then being run by her children and grandchildren. During our tea, she told us her story of World War II, mainly speaking about an American soldier she called Don’t Swallow (see https://cskjar.com/2016/11/stories-from-world-war-ii-part-i/ for the whole story).

With all the deaths in Italy, I wonder if Alma is still alive. I wonder if her family has been impacted by the virus. The numbers suggest people we had contact with might not be there anymore. I will never know for sure, but my heart breaks thinking about it. I can only hope and pray that they survived the pestilence.

People keep talking about the “new normal.” I hope that’s an incorrect term. It’s the “temporary normal” because it will pass. Won’t it? After it does, we can go back to having toilet paper and staples in the stores. We can go back to going places without as much fear; however, I think there will always be a lingering germ-phobia. The thought of an unseen enemy lurking on every surface will remain in the back of our minds. Handshaking may become a bygone custom. That makes me sad too.

Stay home and keep those you love safe. Say prayers for the front-line warriors in this battle. They need them.

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