A generation asks

Dear readers, this post will be personal.

This coming August, I will turn 87, and Betsy and I will celebrate 59 years of marriage. Betsy will turn 85 in October.

How much time do we have left?

Remnants of childhood polio have left her unable to walk. Dementia leaves her confused and sometimes irrational, robs her memory. A stroke has slowed her even further. Decades of crippling arthritis and heart disease have slowed my step and weakened my muscles. My balance can be shaky. I forget things.

A year ago, I was doing a lot of singing, as vocalist with a large swing band, in a 12-voice a cappella group, church choir, 100-plus voice community chorus. The pandemic ended all this. I could continue participating in church choir and community chorus, but now singers in these groups must record their parts on their own at home, and skilled people knit these solos together into electronic performances. In my lone effort to record myself I failed miserably.

The band hasn’t been together in the same room since last March. Neither has the a cappella ensemble. Church services come to us as we sit at our computers.

The pandemic marches on. For how long?

We see slight glimmers of progress. Vaccines offer hope. Minute declines are appearing in positive Covid test results and hospitalizations. Inch by inch, we make gains.

We of a specific generation ponder the inescapable realities of our mortality. How many years remain for us? How many inches of pandemic progress? The big question: Will we outlive this pandemic?

Betsy and have been denied any physical contact for a year. Will we get to hug and kiss again? Ever?

The pandemic will decide.

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