Ten days in Surfside, Florida, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Daily walks along the paved trail following the beautiful sandy beach, heavenly weather, exquisite dining, and great shopping presented a most congenial environment for suffering another birthday. And then, HOME, to a pile of mail, unanswered emails, no groceries in the home, Othello my dog giving me the STARE which means my company was missed but I interpret it as my guilt in leaving him, and life goes on. There is a difference, however, that respite makes and I think in this winding down of the COVIC era, I understand the need. It occurred to me while I laid on the beach, how regimented my life has been for the last fifteen months. Planned shopping, masks on, six feet apart distancing, virtual meetings, virtual doctors appointments, shopping by email or insta-cart, and the list goes on. I think the limitations on our large family get-togethers caused the most stress. I understand that many suffered extensively from the virus and I pray for their ability to recover from their pain, Still, we all should now look at the blue sky with wonder when it’s blue, and tolerate gray skies better. My respite was ten days; but we all suffered fifteen months with no respite. While I ate in sidewalk cafes in Florida and watched the happiness of those going past my table (all masked), I felt the excitement in the air of connecting to other people. I heard the laughter, and, for me, the very different street wear of those around me. I often felt quite a New Englander wearing sensible garb. I did get a little sun poisoning while there creating a lovely red rash on my thighs and shoulders; nothing a little Benadryl couldn’t soothe. My fair skin can be such a bother when the sun is blazing. Still, I certainly got my dose of vitamin D. And I wrote daily. Why not? I was recharged. I will not let such a long time go again before I vacay. The effort to overcome my inertia and travel was well worth it. I had my vaccine and wore my mask, but still had to push myself for this opportunity. I send love to Rafe, Kerstin, Julian, Kim, Tristan, etc. for their care of Joe, Me, and Othello.

K. B. Pellegrino, Author

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