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Carol Perkins: Looking to the Future

Previous Column: No easy answer for parents

By Carol Perkins

I have started to pretend. Having done much of it in my life, I don't have to try very hard. Lately, I've pretended that I rented a condo, went to the beach, sat on the balcony, and felt the breeze from the ocean or the gulf. I read, slept, and relaxed. Then I realized that I could buy a sound machine and do the same thing here: read, sleep, and relax. I've had enough of those to last a lifetime. I need some action. I need the ocean.

I pretended Jon and his family drove all night from Texas so they wouldn't have to stop along the way to stay in a hotel. When they arrived, they filed out the car and rushed to us as if it had been years instead of almost seven months. Seven months is an eternity for grandparents.

After hugs and declarations of how much they had grown, they ate a huge meal with their favorites. Then we sat outside on the patio and talked. Later, Carla and her family arrived from Tennessee and we pretended we were on the summer vacation we used to take. All of this is too risky.

I pretended once that Guy and I were on a cruise.

He circled the buffet every few hours while I found a chair in the shade, sleeping or reading. We explored little towns in the Caribbean, and I bought fake jewelry that the store owner assured me was real. We slept to the rhythm of the ocean under us and began our day with a new adventure. This won't happen for a long time.

I pretended my friends and I resumed our monthly lunches. I visualized us sitting around a table, laughing and telling tales. We discussed our latest aches and pains but then focused on what we are going to do or where we want to go. I miss my friends. Our talks and laughter. Being together is too risky. None of us would fair well with the virus, so we are waiting. Waiting and Waiting.

When I see so many others gathering and enjoying family and friends, I wonder if I'm too cautious. Maybe I need to throw fear to the wind and carry on as I would under normal circumstances. Then I come to my senses, stop pretending, and tell myself that doing so would be unfair to my family. I must follow the advice of our governor and doctors and wait for a day when I no longer have to pretend. In the meantime, looking to the future helps me get through the present. We're all in this together.

Carol's most recent book, based on a true story, The Case of the Missing Ring, is available through Amazon, both paperback and ebook. You can contact her at

This story was posted on 2020-07-24 06:58:48
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Joining Carol Perkins in pretense this summer

2020-07-24 - Atlantic sunrise - Photo by Jane Todd, 2019.
My sister Jane and I join Carol Perkins in pretense that we're at the beach, feeling the sand on our feet, and the breeze coming in off the Atlantic. We stroll, think, read, sleep the night through, relax, eat, relax some more. Carol and I can remember Metcalfe County High School teacher Mr. James Ennis who stood before a class of 30 or so sweating geography students in the August heat and humidity in the un-airconditioned building and said, "think Alaska, think cold!" So if we survived that heat, we're good pretenders and we can be oceanside in a minute.

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