A View from the Hill: Wish list

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Alright, I’m ready. Bring on the vaccine. The one with my name on it. Marsters. Right arm, please.

Ouch! Thanks.

I know, I’ve heard – it won’t be over ’til it’s over. Still, I look forward to enjoying the numerous simple pleasures that a COVID-free environment might offer.

My friend Anne gave me for Christmas a beautiful wishing bowl in which to put notes anticipating a COVID-free life, whenever that happens. It is to this bowl that I can turn for inspiration and anticipation. “After all,” said the card that came with the gift, “anticipation is half the pleasure of doing anything.”

In that bowl now are the following:

To be vaccinated, of course.

Many hours on the boat!

Dinner at Scales!

Dinner with (grandson) Teddy at his favorite restaurant.

Boston Museum of Science visit with my granddaughter Chloe, who I never get to see because she’s in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

Road trip to visit brothers, friends, etc., with a stay at a nice hotel.

More nice hotels.

Sleepovers with Ted, Frankie, Lewis, Chloe, Hannah (grandkids) and Luna (great-granddaughter) and anyone else! Make your reservations soon.

That’s it for the bowl so far, but with my friend last night we brainstormed a few more. It was not difficult. There is much pent-up demand in this department, such as:

A day without worry.

Hugs without fear or guilt.

Not wearing a mask. (I know, Drs. Fauci and Shah, it will be a while.)

A glass of wine with a friend.

Carefree afternoons with friends where the topic of COVID or Trump does not even come up.

Car rides with other people.

Not to constantly have to dance the complicated COVID dance.

Dancing with a sea of strangers.

Being able to assess people by studying their entire faces, not just eyes. And not thinking, “I think I know that person behind the mask, but I’m just not sure.”

Not having to constantly gauge risk and danger.

Cleaning out the room that COVID has created in your brain and stocked with worst-case scenarios, near-misses, mistakes, conflicting recommendations, and a fire constantly stoked by fear.

Going to a movie, if there are still movie theaters.

Dinner at the bar with a beer, or whatever, and people sitting way too close to you, but you like it.

Entertaining friends.

Book group.

Handshakes.

Milkshakes.

Not reading daily death tolls.

And so much more.

At the same time, we may come out of this wanting to hang on to some COVID behavior. Such as:

Excuses to get out of things: “I’m really not comfortable with that.”

Wearing masks in cold weather. I kind of like that, except for the fogging glasses problem.  I hate that.

Being alone in the car. But I guess we always liked that.

Curbside pickup.

Meal deliveries. Booze deliveries.

Setting aside time to contemplate life’s great mysteries.

It has been a privilege to sit and look out the window and just think. Nowhere to be. Nowhere to go. I never appreciated that before. I know not everyone has that luxury, but even a little contemplation can yield big dividends.

And, contemplating on the lists I have just assembled, I am reminded that I am very lucky to be able to do so and that many thousands of souls lost to the pandemic cannot. I suppose all great tragedies draw to a close this way.

The lucky and the damned.

A sailor kissing a stranger in Times Square at the end of World War II.

Huge, jubilant crowds packing London’s Trafalgar Square on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918, at ll a.m., the end of World War I. Despite the Armistice, 3,000 more soldiers would die that day in combat.

And in February of that same year, the Spanish Flu would spread across the globe, claiming 50 million lives.

A final wish for the wishing bowl:

I wish it weren’t so.

Andrew Marsters is an award-winning journalist and former journalism instructor at the University of New Hampshire. He lives on Munjoy Hill.