Ruth Deming

Ruth Deming 

This silent killer is stalking our nation, with nearly 200,000 deaths in the entire country.

I try to remain optimistic, but it’s not easy.

Due to my age and diagnosis of diabetes, I follow a routine every morning to keep myself strong and healthy.

After a breakfast of hot oatmeal, I set out to see the world. Swinging my arms, a blue mask in my pocket, I feel like a Zen Buddhist, noticing things I ordinarily would not.

What's that sound? Stopping, I listen.

Why it's crows! Did you know that according to scientific studies, crows are among the most intelligent of all animals. They have an uncanny ability to remember faces and teach their children who is out to harm them.

Who knew?

While I try to keep a clean house -- dust and cobwebs are everywhere! -- I have other priorities.

Netflix and YouTube.

"Away" is a current favorite. A team is headed for Mars. You think you have problems!

As founder/director of New Directions Support Group, it's important to keep track of what's going on with our members.

Diversity is our middle name.

Zoom has become a household word.

Since we no longer meet at Abington Presbyterian Church due to the coronavirus, a dozen of us Zoom.

One of our members had never experienced a support group before. Shy at first, she soon realized it was a wonderful way "to be comfortable and express myself." Best of all, she just found a job as a healthcare worker.

Rem Murphy, who works at the post office, dazzles us with all the books he reads. Great Expectations, Huck Finn, and the poems of W.H. Auden: "If equal affection cannot be/ Let the more loving one be me."

I learn so much from him.

Learning! Something we can all do in these quirky times.

How many times do we walk around the block?

Outside my front door, I hear the joyous sounds of children walking with their parents.

One little girl rides a pink, battery-operated "real car."

And there goes Frank with his tiny dog, Charlie.

Perhaps we should call our neighborhood “Dogsville.”

Bucolic it is with our towering trees, fulsome red crepe myrtle, and the last of the blue hydrangeas that came with the house when I moved here 30 years ago, with my two children in tow.

My daughter, Sarah, who lives with her husband in Brooklyn, has written a book called "Gravity," about her passion for boxing.

My married son, Daniel, works from home. He helps his daughter, Grace, 10, and Max, 8, with their homework.

Make that three jobs, helping Mom with her myriad questions.

"Mom," he just wrote me. "The $70 they're charging you for anti-virus services is a scam."

Whew!

Have you spotted lantern flies?

Though attractive, they murder trees!

When I sit outside and read on my porch steps, a few come around and I've gotten into the habit of squashing them with my sneakers.

"Healthline" tells us that healthy habits may lead us to a happy old age.

These include drinking coffee or tea, exercising at least 20 minutes per day, and getting enough sleep.

Since I spend so much time indoors, I "prettify" my house.

Look at the wrapper of a tea bag. An artist designed it. Why throw it out?

Along the walls in my kitchen, I have an assortment of tea bags, a rainbow of colors.

Little miniature paintings.

Every day junk mail arrives.

If Mom were still alive -- at 97, she donated her body to science -- we would discuss the upcoming election. Since she walked with a walker, she would cast an absentee ballot.

Going “stir crazy” is a common feeling.

Close your eyes and breathe, I tell myself.

Did I mention the benefits of friendship?

Sure, we talk to folks on the telephone. The sound of a person's voice is a great comfort.

Every Saturday, we Zoom short stories and poetry at our "Beehive" writing group.

Gone are the days when we'd meet at Beatriz’s condo. We'd all bring healthy treats. Cashews and peanuts went down smooth.

Since Beatriz is downsizing, she has asked us to choose some of her colorful paintings.

Here in my upstairs office I have a still life of her pottery. In my bedroom, delectable mushrooms hover over one of my walls.

As a woman who lives alone - and loves it - I think nothing of talking to myself.

One morning about a month ago, I thought, "What am I doing living in this big house all by myself? Where are Mommy and Daddy?"

Mommy and Daddy will never return.

But as the late Mike Vaccaro, MD, my graduate adviser said, "They dwell within you and always will."

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