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Today’s the day that many of us enjoy a silly holiday. Actually, with the year that we have just endured, a little silliness is good. But for Maury and me, April 1 is our 59th anniversary, which we’ll celebrate in a scaled-back fashion, as everything else has been this year. No parties, family celebrations and not even a movie downtown. We’ll bring home a nice dinner from one of our local restaurants, as a gourmet cook has not materialized in our home in 59 years.

Looking back, no one envisioned COVID-19 hanging around with such brute force for over a year, nor did we think we’d be fortunate enough to have multiple effective vaccines for this novel virus. So, on our April Fools’ anniversary, here are some not at all foolish things that COVID-19 has taught many of us. Even in very rough times, adapt, be hopeful, trust science, stay connected to those who matter and appreciate what you have.

Given our stage of life, Maury and I weren’t weighed down with childcare problems, being “essential” or full-time jobs, but many of those in-person tasks that we always thought had to be done in-person, actually don’t. Our groceries, medicines, computer supplies, reading material and even social life were easily arranged without physical contact.

Zoom and its tech cousins became essential for family, friends and business. Sadly, we haven’t seen a family member in person for almost one and one-half years, and while you can’t hug an iPad, technology has provided short-term decent substitutes for meaningful communication. Zooming with family in London was an enlightening way to see how COVID-19 affects people “across the pond.”

We always appreciated Ritter Park’s walking paths, but this year we chalked up over 1,000 miles as walks became a part of our daily activities and gave us the opportunity to notice the small changes of seasons, foliage and birds, while occasionally seeing friends at a safe distance.

But what happens when two long-married people are together almost constantly 24/7 for 365 days? If they are lucky, they have a great year. They know each other’s interests and views, who wants the sports pages of the newspaper first and who must have the first section, who wants their eggs sunny side up and who won’t touch them, who can’t wait for another “bloody shoot ’em up” movie and who wants to watch “The Crown,” who has limitless patience and skills when it comes to fixing computer glitches and who remembers family birthdays and anniversaries. They both understand that a sense of humor and hugs can change moods and that planning for good times ahead is absolutely necessary. Yes, we’re back to booking future airline reservations to see family, which thrills us.

But most of all, we know that while our anniversary celebration will be muted this year, we are so very fortunate to have been married to each other for 59 years and that, together, we weathered the pandemic year safely, happily and with love. That is no April Fools’ joke.

Diane W. Mufson is a retired psychologist and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch opinion page. Her email is dwmufson@comcast.net.

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