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Front door and back porch visitors not keeping to social distance or masking recommendations.

"A kind face is a precious gift."


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If it's the fourth of July it must be Jersey corn and blueberries. No sharing food and laughs this year -- just memories.

From the porch I hear strumming and singing:

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music
Would you hold it near as it were your own?
...
If I knew the way I would take you home. Da da da da da...
[lyrics from "Ripple" by Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia; a fun version by a school choir here]

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Some days I just want to run away. But where do you run during a pandemic? And how do you run away as an adult? I keep thinking of the kids who wrapped up what they needed in a bandanna and tied it to a stick...

[childhood treasures: handmade felt tree with sequins and pinked edges / handmade carved and painted wood flower art / a favorite doll -- her dress now faded and fraying; she is "spinning" the wool she hold in her left hand]


Quarantine Still Life 40!

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I started my Quarantine Still Life drawings a month into the lock-down in late April. Somewhere along the line I looked up the word "quarantine" -- it comes from the Italian word for 'forty' (quaranta) and refers to the number of days that ships suspected of carrying an infectious disease were quarantined in port. 40 drawings seemed like a good goal. Although the stay-at-home order has been lifted here in New Jersey, the COVID-19 still lurks and planning and executing the drawings has helped to keep my anxiety at bay, so I'm going to continue.

This was my grandfather's watch. He was in his early twenties during the 1918 pandemic. It made may mum think of a story her father told her of his experience after WWII as a convoy ship Captain. He went to Paris and bought an ice cream cone and walked the streets along the Seine.

The quarantine has made time feel different -- like it is both standing still and flying by.

"Mostly this dude just exuded love. And he loved people in the best way -- by giving them his time."
(Adam Bruckner on Pastor Thomas Gallashaw of Philadelphia who died of COVID-19 at the age of 70 and is missed by the many people he shared his time with. The Philadelphia Inquirer story noted: "He died on May 31 in Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, likely never absorbing the accumulation of love and sorrow dispatched by Spring Garden’s teenagers, homeless people, and longtime clergy who were imploring Pastor Tom not to leave this Earth and the work he’d yet to do.")


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My nephew (along with some school chums) graduated from High School in his own backyard in the midst of the pandemic.

"So now I will tell you what nobody has told you before this; that we older folks are waiting for you. We're waiting for you. Did you know that? It's a fact. I look out from this stage and see a beautiful assembly of the American future.  ...  if I were a clergyman, I'd cast a blessing. But I am a writer, so I say: Be brave. Be kind. Take good care of yourself. And carry it on."
(the writer E.L. Doctorow in a 2011 commencement speech at his old Bronx HS)


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How nice it is to have fresh food -- #jerseyfresh broccoli and a roast beef sandwich from the local Italian Market. Meanwhile, those cans of crushed pineapple and green beans -- purchased in the 1st crazy days of the quarantine -- and, as yet untouched, stare down at me from the pantry shelf.


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This past week wore on me. Feeling out of alignment with the world and with myself. In the garden pots the Greek Oregano and Pineapple Sage are thriving next to the glorious, giant Geranium. The spinach has bolted so it's time to plant more beans in the growing patch.


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"Home is Here" -- Today the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration's attempt to dismantle the program protecting undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, a reprieve for nearly 650,000 young people, known as "dreamers".


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Love and a wedding and champagne toasts in the time of COVID-19.

"... And among us are these, see, the resplendent companions..." [an excerpt from "Circle, Of Friends" by poet Marie Ponsot]


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Cutting the legs off a pair of old jeans made me feel like a teenager again. Instant shorts. No precision needed. No hemming necessary. Just turn up the edge for a cuff. I didn't cut them as short as I did at 16!


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A derecho rolled through here last week and provided such a spectacular show of wind and rain that I was sure that someone was being smited. As I looked out the window, a large table umbrella from next door flew up into the air, landed upside down on my bushes, then flew up again and -- as I gasped -- came down precisely in the inch between two potted tomato plants, thereby sparing them from disaster. My power was out for three days and a few soft pretzels in the freezer defrosted so I made soft pretzel croutons: slice the pretzels thin, sprinkle with olive oil and garlic salt, and bake at 350 fro 5-8 minutes. Really good (and recipe is thanks to my brother).


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This has been my mum's perch through much of the quarantine where fresh air and a view of the increased street life from her front porch help to keep her spirits up through her illness and isolation (as do her fancy compression socks). I show her videos and photos and tell her that people are marching in Philadelphia and all around the country and the world for black lives matter and justice. She wants to know all about it and wishes she could be out there protesting, too like she did in her younger days.


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a life stilled / "you changed the world George" -- the Reverend Al Sharpton speaking at a Minnesota memorial for George Floyd, June 4, 2020. [drawn from a newspaper photo]

Excerpted from Sharpton's eulogy: "... Go on home, George. Get your rest, George. You changed the world, George. We going to keep marching, George. We going to keep fighting, George. We done turned the clock, George. We going forward, George. Time out, time out, time out..."