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I’m Walkin’ on Sunshine… and Tornadoes… and Snow…

Whew! What a week it has been! I don’t know about anyone else, but I am absolutely exhausted. This week has been a roller coaster of events and emotions, and honestly? It’s emotionally draining.

E-teaching has settled in. We have a routine of assignments and grading, emails and student follow ups. Office hours via Zoom have been established, and students are calling in to chat and ask questions. Over and over, I keep hearing, “I miss my friends.” Well, I hear ya kid. I miss mine, too.

Our ordinary week became extraordinary on Tuesday night, when tornado sirens shattered the silence just before midnight. Kassidy and I stretched out in the basement with the dogs, glued to the radar on our phones. Jeff sat in the kitchen on the first floor, figuring the middle position was a good spot to dash into the basement if the tornado actually hit, and to go back to bed if it didn’t. We can save our discussion of the insane behavior of men for another time.

Trees were ripped out of the ground within a mile or so of our house. A truck trailer was flipped through the air. Roofs were ripped off. The tornado passed within a mile of our house, and the sound of those winds was insane. We were lucky that it only knocked out power.

On Wednesday, while others contended with property damage and the loss of what ‘normal’ they had, the worst we had to contend with was sending Jeff to three different stores to find ice for our freezers and coolers.

We couldn’t do much other than read and spend time together, as there was little water and we didn’t want to waste it. Still, there was no room for complaint.

Thursday was gorgeous! The sun was out. We worked in the yard. Went for a hike. Just beautiful. We took the dog to the vet – COVID-style. Went for a walk at Medina Lake. And I happily filled out my version of this fun Harry Potter ‘Profile’. Just for the record, I’m a Gryffindor. Kassidy is a Ravenclaw. Jeff is probably a Hufflepuff (although he’d never admit it), and the Sorting Hat would likely let Zach decide between Gryffindor and Slytherin.

There is also no way that Jeff would ever allow a niffler in this house, so my H.P. dream pet is lost to me.

For those of you who are not Harry Potter fans (or do not have children or grandchildren who are Harry Potter fans), you are missing out. Just sayin’.

Anyway, after the tornado and a gorgeous spring-like day, you can imagine our shock to wake up to this on Friday morning.

Yes. You are seeing that correctly. Snow. On April 10th. One of my friends pointed out that she saw hailstones the size of quarters and wondered if the combination was an indicator of the end of days.

No. Just no.

Despite the brief return to winter and the shivering involved, we managed to have a great time Friday night with Kassidy’s friend Catherine in Charlotte, N.C..

We planned ahead of time and set up a Zoom cooking session. Catherine had a potato dish she had been looking to try, and we had a chicken dish we thought she might enjoy. So we each purchased the required ingredients, scheduled dinner for 6pm, and hung out in each others virtual kitchens, cooking and laughing.

Who says you can’t have dinner together? Ultimately, that’s exactly what we did, hundreds of miles apart. This was something we would never have attempted before COVID-19, but we’re game for just about anything. Our virtual dinner with Catherine was special and let us make fun memories together during a time when life can be decidedly NOT fun.

Saturday brought pre-Easter prep. With just the four of us, we decided to keep it simple so, after a breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls from Paula Deen’s recipe, we began chopping and mixing and sorting.

We picked up caramel apples from Candyapple & Co., flowers from Berry’s Blooms, and a Nosh Box from H2 Huth & Harris Wine Merchants. All local merchants, we chose to forgo some of the more traditional aspects of our Easter celebration in order to help keep our local businesses going. We’re in this together, after all.

It was well worth it, as I had less to cook and could focus on spending time with my family. Kassidy and I did take the time to lay out this fruit cross, however, reminding us all of the reason for our celebration.

It took a little finagling, but we were very pleased with the results!

Now, here we are on Easter Sunday. It was a day of rest after a crazy roller coaster of a week. Our kids are grown, so we don’t have egg hunts any more. We attended church virtually, and I sang along with our amazing worship band as I drank my coffee. I loved seeing pictures of our friends lined up for ‘parking lot’ church, six feet and then some apart.

We got together with family via FaceTime – four different families sharing Easter from two different states, the kids still hyped up on sugar from the Easter Bunny. Some things never change!

During times such as these, when we are far from those we love and limited in so many ways, when we watch friends and neighbors and colleagues face uncertain futures and difficult choices, that our hearts can grow weary.

For Christians, today is the day to let our hearts feel light. To feel hope. Death has lost its sting for us. We know that our Father holds us close, sheltering us from the worst of the storm.

Regardless of your faith, however, our hope for you is that you find peace, joy and rest today. That you are touched by hope and the knowledge that, this too shall pass, it just might take awhile. And if we keep helping friends and family and neighbors through these dark days, we just might emerge stronger than ever.

Happy Easter!

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