This email exchange started the day:
Social Distancing: Coronavirus memory #1.
“Ponce, get out of the garden!”
I could hear it!
I remember that!
We would all laughhhh!
This exchange went on for hours. Here and there. Back and forth.
Allee alee in free!
I do that ten times!
PA Bro, apparently just tuning in:
Three step mickey!
Heavens to Murgatroyd!
Dollars to doughnuts!
Red light, green light!
Five of us siblings from all over the place shooting little, pointed darts at each other, making each other laugh across the miles. What a lift to the day!
This stuff doesn’t make sense to you? Who is Ponce? Who is talking? Who is Miss Nabors?
Well, I’ll tell ya. Ponce was the neighbors’ dog. And Mr. P.—that’s who was shouting, not talking. How many times did we hear that? We couldn’t see the drama. This family lived on the other side of a tall hedge, but the hedge wasn’t soundproof. And apparently, Ponce was a slow learner. Or he liked the garden. Or the yelling. But we five would be on the other side of the green divide, doing normal, everyday, low-key kinds of things like playing catch or falling out of trees or climbing down the side of the house, and suddenly: Ponce! Get out of the garden! Pause. Stare. Laugh.
Miss Nabors? You don’t want to know. But her name evokes—hm! It evokes.
And we played Three Step Mickey. We played Relievo. We played Red Light, Green Light. Hours of those games with kids in the whole neighborhood. George and Shawn and Buddy and Tom and whoever else showed up. Didn’t you do that, too? Baseball in the yard, and the tree was first base. Hit the boxwood, and you’re out. We hit the boxwood. We were out. Did you have a rule like that?
But this exchange, from which we are so far missing our oldest sib, PA sis—where is she?— probably climbing a mountain, chopping wood, or feeding the hungry, but she’ll join in—is only good within the five of us. You hadda be there.
Mom’s in here, too, Mom, who didn’t know about it at all until I read the so-far exchange over the phone to her. Now she knows, and laughs, too, and maybe keeps checking. The five of us and her, we make this circle, we make this group hug across the miles. Exclusive and inclusive. How can we not love each other in the ways that only we can? Precious and exquisite and oh, my gosh!
Gentle humor, sly humor, secret humor—I haven’t included it all. You can’t get the meanings or the people. What does, Hi, I’m Andy M. mean to you? But do you have an Andy M. or a secret passcode or a phrase that’s all about your important duo, or, as in our case, quintet?
Without the lockdowns, without the virus, we wouldn’t have had this exchange. We’d still love each other, sure, but we wouldn’t have had this exchange, and this exchange is dear.
Do this. Send out a telling phrase to those people who just get you the way no others can. Answer the reply with another silly thought. Silly, dynamic. Lift every one up. Time is precious, these people are precious. Retighten those ties that bind and have that group hug, that group laugh. Your exchange will be a keeper. It will lighten your day, your week, your life.
Allee allee in free!