OPINION

September Journey with Phyllis Buell

Syracuse Journal-Democrat

Back to Normal?

Does anyone remember “normal?”

l hear a lot of talk about the “new normal.” Will I recognize it when I see it?

Personally, I had become accustomed to the “old” normal. I kind of liked it.

But -

It has been such a very long time that “normal” has been a part of our lives or our vocabulary, hasn’t it?

I think we took a step closer to normal – whatever that is, today. You see, I went to a Methodist Church potluck dinner!

Remember those? Our Murdock church was invited to a great one this noon.

Believe me – it was so-o-o-o good! The Elmwood Methodist gals are always the greatest cooks and hostesses.

Today, they had some wonderful help with the meat. Nick Chesnut prepared smoked pork loin and Tanner Bornemeier smoked a mountain of delicious chicken. If anyone went away hungry, it was their own fault.

Maybe it was such a treat because we haven’t experienced anything like that for such a long, long time. Eating alone in my room from a black tray for more than a year became “normal” to me. At this time, that is normal once more in most Lincoln facilities.

We haven’t had the word “normal” in our vocabulary or our life for such a long time. The fact of masks and serious “social distancing” returning to our days doesn’t really bother us a lot because that has become the “norm” - well, almost normal, to us.

I am so saddened Covid is rising it’s wicked head once more. It seems to be a Phoenix – arising from what we hoped were the ashes of its existence.

New neighbors have moved into a nearby apartment. I haven’t met them yet. They were gone over the weekend, returning to the town where they lived for a “farewell” dinner.

That thought took me back to what was “normal” when someone moved “way back when.”

We moved from an Alvo farm to rural Syracuse in 1951, two years after we were married. Our close Alvo neighbors entertained us for “supper” to say goodbye. When we left Syracuse in 1964, our neighbors had a farewell for us and the Methodist church had a potluck to say goodbye. Murdock neighbors welcomed us with a “housewarming.”

That was normal in those days.

My grandsons devoured the cookies one neighbor brought a couple of days after I moved here. She was raised in a rural setting where people still treasured neighbors. That was normal to her.

The woman that lived here before me for more than eight years gave me her personal assessment of my neighbors. So far, that has proven to be quite accurate for today’s world.

We all have our own boundaries in life and I, for one, respect them.

I’ll take my new neighbors a loaf of nut bread and introduce myself, with or without my mask, I haven’t decided. I have a good feeling we might share some of the save values in life.

At any rate, it is a new day, a new month, and a new normal in all of our lives. How we deal with it will be normal for each of us.

Happy September, 2021!

Phyllis Buell, September Journeys