“I love seeing all the people in the park,” my sister told me on the phone the other night. “I can tell who is together because they are walking in little clumps!”
I love that idea: little satellites orbiting the park — usually with a dog — keeping a safe distance from the other orbiting clumps nearby.
My sister is in a clump consisting of herself, her husband, their two children, a dog and a cat. (I’m not sure if the cat considers himself part of the clump or not. Possibly not.) The kids are doing their homework in record time, sports are discontinued but music lessons continue. They are playing a lot of ping-pong and canasta.
My cousin, Dane, is in a clump of one so I was kind of worried about him and called him up. He seemed to be doing OK, all things considered. He’s laid off but getting a lot of house projects done. I caught him when he was out walking.
“I’m on my annual walk,” he told me.
“No, I meant daily. I’ve been walking every day.”
I was prepared to believe it was annual as I don’t generally think of Dane as being big on exercise. But I’m glad to hear he’s taking care of himself. I think that’s what we all need to do, as best as we can.
I’m in a clump of three these days — it’s just me, my husband Peter, and my anxiety. It wouldn’t be crowded with just Peter and me but it’s true what they say — three’s a crowd. I get free-floating anxiety and these times seem to promote it. Peter is amazingly patient with me, although he gets anxious when I get anxious and the atmosphere starts to get a little electric in the house. That’s usually when I go for a walk. A walk helps. But peppermint ice cream is what really works wonders.
My consumption of peppermint ice cream has shot through the roof.
In the past, Peter has accused me of being an ice cream snob. I scrutinize the ingredient list. I try to buy ice cream with fewer thickeners and additives and more natural ingredients. But none of this matters if it’s peppermint ice cream. There are no rules for peppermint ice cream. Everyone knows that.
I don’t even read the ingredient list because what do I care? It’s peppermint ice cream! It’s bright pink and has little pieces of peppermint candy right in it! No matter how bad the news of the day might be, a little peppermint ice cream is certain to make things better. No matter how anxious I might get, I can always eat peppermint ice cream.
Two days ago we went to the grocery store. We are trying to minimize our trips and hoped to buy enough to get us through three weeks. We donned our masks, packed our hand sanitizer, and went together — I bought all the produce and Peter bought dairy and dry goods and we reconvened in the parking lot, feeling like we had just completed a major expedition.
Back at home, I was rinsing off the huge supply of fruit and vegetables while Peter unloaded his bags. That’s when I noticed.
“You only bought one carton of peppermint ice cream?”
“Well, yeah, but we have one in the freezer.”
“That one is almost gone.”
“Oh. How much peppermint ice cream do you think you’ll need?” Peter asked me. This was a difficult question to answer. How much peppermint ice cream will I need?
I’m hoping not too much more.
Till next time,
Carrie Carrie Classon’s memoir is called “Blue Yarn.” Learn more at CarrieClasson.com.