It wasn’t until last March 20 that Marsha and I realized there might be more than 15 cases of COVID-19 in the United States. The bad bug wasn’t going to mysteriously melt away in April when it got warm.

If you’re still waiting for a call to get your COVID vaccination, you have probably jumped through more than a few hoops. Photo courtesy of Robert Skoglund

We learned these eye-opening things when our young friend Peter called. We had asked him to fly down from Maine and drive our car home from Florida. When he told us that it wasn’t safe to get on a plane, we threw everything into the car and did something I knew I should never do again – which is drive home from Florida.

To Scranton on 81 is a snap, but most of 84 between Danbury and Hartford is a cow path where budding NASCAR drivers refine their skills.

How has the coronavirus changed your life?

If you think like I do, you must resent vacuuming every day when the only person likely to peep inside would be an ambulance driver. In the summer we were able to put on our masks, sit 25 feet apart and chat in the back lawn. When it got cold, friends drove their cars up the lawn to the dining room and we’d chat on phones through two panes of glass. An occasional grandmother would have to get out of her car to press a cellphone against the window so Marsha could see pictures of grandchildren.

If you’re still waiting for a call to get your COVID vaccination, you have probably jumped through more than a few hoops. To put it in perspective, think back to the first time you drove a car. You can also remember standing up to get married. You might even remember your retirement party. And for the rest of your life you’ll remember the happy day when you got your call to be vaccinated.


Once again you’ll be able to step into the hardware store. No more excuses for not fixing the toilet tank that is constantly running.

You can imagine how Marsha misses pinching and squeezing all the produce at the market. I haven’t seen a grape in almost a year, because “if someone else puts up your order there is no way of knowing what you’ll get.”

All of that is soon past. By spring you’ll even be glad to see friends who don’t wipe their feet.

Marsha is finally scheduled for her vaccination at a convenient location, but getting the appointment wasn’t easy. For weeks she called several numbers that friends said worked for them, only to get a recording referring her to another number. She was the only one in her crowd who wasn’t vaccinated. I know how she felt. In 1955 a St. George girl who wasn’t married by the time she was 19 was an old maid.

While Marsha was calling to get us an appointment, my friends at the Veterans Administration told me to come up to Togus at 1400 on Thursday for my vaccination.

It was a slick operation. The route on the VA grounds was well marked and I ended up in a line of cars. A young woman with a clipboard checked us in. I screwed down my window, and she said, “Put your car in park.” She obviously knew about old geezers in cars.


I said, “I can’t. This is an old car with a standard transmission. There is no park.”

She said, “Put on your emergency brake.”

It was already on so I nodded and crinkled my eyes. It has been almost a year since many of us have seen lips or teeth. When we do venture close enough to make out facial features, we have learned to express a manifold of emotions by simply squinting.

She told me that my mask was worn out and got me a fresh new one – which I’ve had a chance to flaunt down at the dump.

She was joined by three more technicians. One said, “Can you roll up your sleeve?”

It was already pretty well rolled up but I gave it another tuck. She didn’t need to know that I’d been practicing rolling up my sleeve since 8 o’clock that morning.


I was told that I might have a sore arm in the morning. I smiled. What would make it different from any other morning?

After the shot we waited 15 minutes in another line. I was told to blow the horn in case I had trouble or passed out.

They gave me a sheaf of papers that tell about the chemicals that were in the shot and the after-effects that I might experience – and a paper to bring when I came in 30 days later for the follow-up.

Only six or eight very young women ran the operation. I thanked each one and told her that she was doing good. Let’s hope that they’ll someday be managing the entire country.

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at:

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