Celebration

“Well, at least this is a memorable birthday.” My son isn’t one to shy from the obvious. He mimics a hundred-year-old bloke reminiscing: “Yees, I’ll never forget my 30th: Spain was closed, pubs…restaurants. We stayed in and ordered Papa John’s pizza.”

Prospective son-in-law loves Papa John’s.

In the end, I believe I was truly inspired in my choice of birthday gift for prospective son-in-law. Although I couldn’t find an actual Papa John gift card, I made one. Years of watching Valerie Singleton transform washing up liquid bottles into fully functioning space rockets with sticky tape has not been wasted on me. 

“Anyway, I was thinking.” These words spoken by my son, always create a ripple of anxious expectation. He thinks a lot: bit of a loose cannon in the thinking department.

“This year we’ve had fires in Australia, floods here in the UK…” I think I know where he’s going with this. “…now disease. It’s like the Seven Seals of the Apocalypse…” 

His words instigate a flurry of ‘phone scrolling from the young ‘uns. He’s not wrong. We bounce words like war, pestilence, fire and flood across the birthday table, finally deciding that, at the core of these catastrophic events, is our ‘use’ of the world and its resources. Thinking is good. Action even better, methinks. 

Mothers’ Day and I’m reading The Guardian from cover to cover – mainly about Coronavirus. My eye is drawn to a small article about a plague of locusts swarming across parts of Africa. Oh shit!

It’s a glorious day – my day – and I want to go for a walk. I choose the beach. Outdoors is okay, reassures virologist daughter. However, keeping our social distance proves more difficult than we thought: promenade is swarming with people and families sunning themselves outside beach huts. The thought that any one person we pass could carry the virus blights our walk. Dad has COPD. We head home.

At home I reflect on a snippet of conversation overheard on our walk: “When all this is over, I believe people will appreciate things more.”

I consider what I appreciate right now: my neighbours who’ve set up a WhatsApp group so that we can support each other; my local supermarket staff; NHS staff and key workers; all my family and friends.

Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate – so much to celebrate, if you think about it. 

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