Covid-19: Summer Time Blues

A week ago, Friday, my husband Sean and adult son, Chris took our travel trailer to New Hampshire Motor Speedway. They were psyched for another weekend of NASCAR races and people watching. 

My guys caught some of the NASCAR race action before they had to come home early. For the record, I’m not blaming NASCAR.

I was thrilled to stay at home, soak in the hot tub, and catch up on reading. 

All was well until Saturday at 6 p.m. 

 “I have Covid,” Chris said over the phone. 

“Cut it out,” I said. He often jokes.

“We just took tests,” Chris said. “I tested positive.”


“I’m totally serious, mom.”

Panic punched through my short-lived calm. 

I didn’t see this coming. When Sean called earlier, he chuckled that Chris was a little sluggish that morning. One-too-many beers from the night before?

Sean was on the phone now.

“Chris had a headache this afternoon, so he went in for a nap. When he came out, he told me he had the chills. I felt his forehead and said let’s go get a test. He’s positive. I’m negative.”

I went into worried-mama-overdrive.

“Maybe he should go to a clinic? Call the doctor, the on-call? Send the new Covid medicine to a nearby CVS? Is there Tylenol in the first aid kit?” 

Sean sighed. 

“The nearest pharmacy is closed now. Maybe we should just pack up and come home?” 

They decided they would keep to themselves and make the three and half hour drive in the morning.

I hung up and began to pace. We’d come so far avoiding this awful virus that had killed my mother-in-law in December of 2020.  Sandy came down with Covid even though her small, boutique-like convalescent home had taken steps to protect residents with porch visits, masks, and plastic wall dividers. She ended up in the ICU on a ventilator for 19 days over Christmas. Her fragile health made it impossible for her to rally. Poor Sean had the unthinkable task of removing her from the vent. In just two short weeks after her death, residents at her convalescent home received their first Covid vaccines.

As soon as we could, our family got shots and boosters. Both my husband and son work in public schools and despite spikes and new variances, none of us had gotten sick.  Like most people, we relaxed wearing masks unless we had a medical appointment. In the back of my mind, I knew we could still get Covid-19, less severe with advances in science. I realize that there are more people in the country now who have had it than those who haven’t. Still, I had lulled myself into a false sense of security that we would never get it. Why would we be exempt? It’s always lurking. I guess you just never know who has it. Or, if someone has it but is symptomless. Or, if they do have it and freakin’ know, but aren’t responsible enough to stay away!

I tossed and turned in my bed that night.

I hate f-in Covid! Hate how the pandemic took my mother-in-law. Hate how it has changed the world as we know it. Will Chris have long-term effects from the virus? Will Sean get sick? What about me? Will I get it, too? 

After Sean pulled into our yard with the Winnebago, I waved to my son as he backed out of our driveway. Sean, still testing negative, decided to sleep in our camper instead of the guestroom. He was nervous about me getting sick, especially since I deal with asthma. 

Sean took another rapid antigen home test on Monday morning. Still negative. Maybe he wouldn’t come down with it? Later that afternoon, sitting in the yard, he developed a headache and scratchy throat. 

“Probably just stress,” he said. He rolled the newfangled thermometer across his forehead revealing a slight fever.

Sean went back in the camper and took another antigen test. Fifteen minutes later, he texted me a photo of the stick. “Positive. This ain’t no at home pregnancy test,” he wrote, trying to keep it light. 

That night, Sean’s temperature went up to almost 102. He popped some Tylenol and dialed the on-call at the doctor’s office. The nurse suggested he make a Zoom appointment for the next day. Sean explained how his mother had died of Covid, and that he was worried about me getting Covid because of the asthma. The nurse assured Sean this strain was much less severe than the original strain from 2020. She advised him to go to the hospital if he had trouble breathing. 

Sean sent a group text to my son, daughter, and son-in-law that he was positive. That meant the guys’ upcoming Baltimore trip to the Yankees vs Oriole’s game was officially off for him. Plans my daughter and I had to go to a spa while the guys were away also got canned. I let our friends know we couldn’t be able to come to their 50th wedding anniversary party. 

Got plans? Covid-19 will wreck them!

Quarantining sucks. All I want to do is sit side-by-side in our loveseat recliners with our bowl of popcorn and watch our murder-mystery programs. I didn’t mind sleeping alone when Sean was away, but I hate the fact that we’ re suddenly just housemates, sleeping apart. We’re relegated to seeing each other on the back deck, sitting more than six feet apart. I slide his paper plate dinner to his end of the table.

A week later…Chris tested negative today! I’m grateful he bounced back fast. It’s been five days since Sean got it. We are thankful that his case has been “mild” with symptoms of a lousy cold. He is feeling better every day, but will keep masked until he tests negative. So far, I am healthy thanks to Sean’s diligence and distancing.

This Flag is Your Flag, This Flag is My Flag

My fellow and female Americans, fly your flag as your right at as an American. Not as a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Believer or Atheist, Straight or LGBTQIA+ person but because you are an American!

I noticed at our family’s Fourth of July picnic that not all of the 71 in attendance were wearing red, white and blue clothing this year. I’d say about half of us, including older ones like me, donned patriotic wear. I wore my flag-striped, tie-dyed T-shirt I reserve for the 4th. A number of our under-forty group, however, looked as if it were just another picnic, not America’s 246th birthday.

I believe the lack of American flag colors this year reflects the general malaise of our country’s many woes. Yes, there are a lot of challenges right now: a lingering pandemic, climate change, pro-life vs. pro-choice, and other political dilemmas. 

I just feel sad that our beloved stars and stripes has fallen victim to the polarization, revered or reviled by two camps.

There are those who go overboard and wave it frenetically, clad in “Family, Faith, Firearms” T-shirts. They stick or tack Old Glory on plywood signs scrawled with a former president’s name, already campaigning for his re-election in ’24. The more flags the better, whatever the weather or condition, seems to be their m.o.

Then there are those who maybe because of this, and perhaps in general disappointment with the political climate appear repulsed (?) by the American flag. I’ve heard many say the American flag has been “commandeered” even “hijacked” by “them.” “Look how they’ve raped (this country),” one person told me.

I know a few folks who refuse to fly the flag in their yard. Yet, when one does, it may come with a kind of wariness. What will people think? A young businessman who sells plants in an area where half of his neighbors are prolific flag fliers, apologized to us for flying the American flag in his front yard.

“Don’t apologize,” I said. “It’s your flag, too.” Did we seem the type who needed soothing because we talked a little politics over our plant purchase? That bothers me. Has the flag, it self, become yet another taboo item we need to be mindful of in common conversation?

I know of an “open and affirming” church that took down their American flag where it once flew beside the rainbow flag over their front door, “because some thought it was offense.”

This makes me sad and mad. Why do we have to be so divided, even down to our American flag? The American flag belongs to all of us! Not one “side” or faction. No one gets to own the flag or make it a symbol for their “side.” No one should despise the flag because they are unhappy or even disillusioned with the way the things are going. Rally, mobilize, and go vote, but please don’t give up the flag! We shouldn’t need to apologize nor defend ourselves if we choose to display, wear, or salute the flag, either.

My fellow and female Americans, fly your flag as your right at as an American. Not as a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Believer or Atheist, Straight or LGBTQIA+ person but because you are an American! Display it at your home, on the road, at your campsite. Carry it in parades along with all other multi-colored, meaningful banners. Fly it at your church, synagogue, or mosque to show you are truly open to all. Protest with the flag by your side, or by kneeling in front of it to amplify your concerns for things that need changing in the country. Go ahead and do these things because people fought and died for you to be free under this American flag! Long may she wave, representing you and me.

How to Cope after Yet Another Mass-Shooting in America?

This last shooting in Oklahoma, on the heels of the last two, really flattened me last night. Watching President Biden’s speech “Enough!” He described in great detail, horrible scenes he and his wife have witnessed and learned of in just the past three weeks. They all should haunt us and motivate every single person to scream out and demand, “Enough!” Let this sit with you. The classroom scene of an eleven- year- old- girl smearing the blood of a nearby, slain classmate onto her own little head to pretend she was already dead, so she wouldn’t get shot…

Biden has incredible strength and faith to keep going. This isn’t about Biden, or the ever-present political divide, it’s about how to cope now. What can be done when there seems to be no safe place to avoid carnage? Our schools, shops, hospitals, businesses, churches are all vulnerable. How do you not feel like leaving, taking your family and friends out of here? Or hunker down off-grid? It’s a fantasy, I know. I was beyond crying last night, in a very dark place. I was having a hard time keeping the faith.

I know I can’t stay in this place. I got up and took out my journal. It helps to scribble-scream out frustrations, worries, anger. This led to a prayer, confessing my anger, worries, wavering faith. And lack of faith that things are going to change here, in America. Are we being punished as a nation for our waywardness? Our sins? Is there any way out?

I’ve been in Bible study for several years…Some of what we’re living through now seems pretty Old Testament at times. Yet, I can’t believe in a punitive God. I believe we’ve been given free will. I’ve come to believe in a loving God, who weeps with us. I also still believe in a loving God who hears us when we cry out in prayer, and gives us strength.

“Hear me crying out this morning, Oh, God. I come to you today in great despair, anger and worry. I pray for my country, its leaders, those who’ve lost loved ones in the past three weeks in horrific shootings, my loved ones, and myself.

Forgive our nation for turning away from You, for selfish pursuits, for our huge divide. We need to change, to mend, to heal. Please strengthen leaders to do the right thing for all people, not just for some. Comfort and strengthen families suffering beyond-catastrophic loss from unchecked gun violence. Protect our loved ones who bravely work and teach our precious children and youth in our schools. Who lead congregations, heal our sick, operate businesses, etc.

Lord, help me not to panic and be a defeatist in my thinking. Strengthen me to be brave, encouraging others, and to live the full life you’d have me to live, instead of wanting to wring my hands and retreat.

In the Name of Everything Holy,


Former police officer/current school security guard advocates for more armed school security staff

“An armed security force is not the ultimate answer, but used in conjunction with greater mental health awareness and treatment is a tool to reduce the number of children that are being murdered in our schools,” Sean Moriarty, retired police officer, current school security guard

In the wake of yet another school massacre where nineteen children and two teachers were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, my reactions mirrored those of many drained Americans. “When will this stop?” “Those poor families.” “What can we do as a country to stop this?”

My query on facebook, Why are there not armed security officers in every school in our nation? brought out mixed reactions and opinions. I thought it was pretty obvious we needed armed school officers in every school now—at least while we wait for real change in gun laws, in our mental health systems, and in our collective hearts in this country. I admit I posted from a deeply personal place. My husband, a retired police officer, is currently working as an unarmed security officer in an elementary school. Both my son and his girlfriend are new teachers. So many beloved friends and relatives are teachers.

What you are about to read though, is not my hand-wringing. Instead I bring you the sound opinion of a viable, immediate solution to our vulnerable schools. Here is my experienced and level-headed husband, Sean.

This is my professional opinion coming from over thirty years as a police officer with several of them as a S.W.A.T team member/commander and firearms/ tactics instructor. For those who say ban gun sales, that ship has sailed. There are an estimated 400,000,000 guns in this country. I strongly believe in regulated gun sales with an emphasis on background checks and mental health assessments. There should be no sales to unpermitted persons and no sales to anyone under the the age of 21.

Now onto armed security in schools. First let me say that those advocating for arming teachers are not thinking it through. The amount of training needed to shoot in a combat situation (which is exactly what a school shooting situation is) is not realistic for teachers. They have enough on their plates educating our children and keeping up to date with their own education and school mandates. A highly trained (emphasis on highly) armed security force can not only be a deterrent but effectively respond to a situation.

An unarmed security guard in a school is basically a bullet trap designed to slow the assault down enough to put the school in lockdown.

-Sean Moriarty, retired Police officer, current school security guard

As I said, the guns are out there so it is a pipe dream to think halting sales will stop this madness. The (armed) security force would have the time and opportunity to train during the summer and other school breaks, along with professional development days. An armed security force is not the ultimate answer, but used in conjunction with greater mental health awareness and treatment is a tool to reduce the number of children that are being murdered in our schools.

An unarmed security guard in a school is basically a bullet trap designed to slow the assault down enough to put the school in lockdown. I will do whatever I need to do protect the lives of the children at my school but I could do a much better job if I was properly equipped.

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Contact Your U.S. Senators and Representatives – Everyday Advocacy. Reach out to your local Board of Education.