writer traveler photographer

March about to march in

Bob Brooks Photo, courtesy of Yarmouth County Museum & Archives.

Funny how significant events in our lives are lodged somewhere in our skulls then surface when mentioned. For example, I can recall to the hour where I was, who I was with etc. on the day President Kennedy was shot, the horrors of 9/11, and the day of the circus ship fire in Yarmouth. (I wrote a story for The Nova Scotian about that fire and Shirley the Elephant many moons ago.)

At the moment, however, I’m thinking about when the reality of COVID struck home. Although, in this scenario, we had some warning. At the time (last February), I thought folks around the world were over-reacting. Wouldn’t happen here. Then it did. Happen here. I was in Halifax with my sister, Carmen. It was Friday, March 13th. We were staying at my daughter and son-in-law’s home in Dartmouth, happily looking forward to their return the next day from a trip south. Carmen and I also had tickets for a concert (Symphony NS) Saturday night.

Then two things happened late Friday. Margo emailed us to say they would have to quarantine as soon as they landed and we could not be in their home. Within minutes, we were notified that the concert was cancelled. COVID had entered our lives.

We made arrangements to stay at the Atlantica Hotel uptown, moved there Saturday morning, and tried to figure out what, exactly, was happening. We couldn’t. So we decided to occupy ourselves by visiting Pier 21 and the AGNS on Saturday but–they, too, closed, as did every other museum and gallery in the city. It was surrealistic. (As you can tell, the photo above has nothing to do with the story, save it’s slightly weird–as was the situation we were in at the time.)

Sunday morning the owner of Old Creel Canoe & Kayak agreed we could still meet so I could pick up the light-weight canoe I had ordered earlier in the winter. She was as black as inky waters can be when there is no sun. I named her “Miss Ebony.” It was the saving grace of the weekend. Within eight hours we were back home and on the water together.

Meanwhile I’ve been thinking about “saving grace.” My trusty Merriam-Webster defines this as a good quality that makes a bad or unpleasant person or thing better or more acceptable.

It’s a challenge to find in relation to COVID but I’ve discovered that once I started looking for the “saving graces” I’ve experienced through the pandemic, they are everywhere. It’s like Mary Oliver’s “heavengly invisibles” that I’ve babbled on about before. We just gotta have our eyes (and hearts) open.

An obvious saving grace for me is to disappear at “The Shack”, Barrie’s Air BnB. I’m heading there for three nights and four days to sleep, read, and ponder. Not sure what the pondering will be about but it doesn’t matter, does it?! The photo above is one I took the last time I was there. It was minus 12 degrees C … yet the greenery was alive and well.

Notice I didn’t say I was going to write. haha. Might. Might not.

Would love to hear about moments in your life that are etched in your memory. Or thoughts about COVID. Or anything that comes to mind. Comfort foods? Fabourite colour? Pet peeves? Wants and wishes? The sounds of the wind today?


  1. February 25, 2021    

    Funny this popped up today just as I was thinking about last year at this time. At the end of February I found myself in the hospital – dragged there by my husband who, thank goodness, realized I was in dire straits. I was not so aware. After drawing a gallon or two of blood and a few other tests, the ER doctor in Sussex said she thought I MIGHT have meningitis and shipped me off to the Regional Hospital in Saint John. I vaguely remember the ambulance ride. I spent the night in their ER with more tests and general misery going on. I do remember a young Resident coming in and asking me what my wishes were regarding resuscitation, should it be needed. THAT put things in perspective quickly.
    The next morning I was transferred upstairs to the Internal Medicine ward. I won’t bore anyone with the details or about the insane roommate that should have been on the psych ward. I will say that the nurses had the collective patience of Job with this unruly woman. I also discovered that in some rooms, men and women were housed together. How awful!
    Anyway, it was determined that I didn’t have meningitis but that I was suffering from a wicked case of sepsis. I was transported back to the Sussex hospital where I remained for over a week on massive doses of medications and fluids. By the time I got home (having “celebrated??” My 70th birthday there) I was still only vaguely aware of the existence of Covid and had NO idea of the consequences. It was actually late March or early April before I had recovered enough to begin to comprehend what a pandemic was and what it might mean for those I cared about and more. Not a great experience, I must say. I am grateful for my recovery and for the fact that I got out of the hospital before visiting restrictions were put in place. I appreciated the daily visits from my husband, some dear friends, and best of all, my dog, Harley, to lift my spirits and help me along the road to recovery.

    • February 25, 2021    

      Holy Moly Ceci! What an ordeal. I vaguely remember this. But your recollections wouldn’t be dim at all. Wow. Cannot imagine what it would be like to have an intern ask me about my wishes regarding resuscitation. Thanks for sharing.

  2. February 25, 2021    

    You write such interesting articles. Thank you. My older daughter, Krista, was born the day President Kennedy was assassinated – almost to the minute. I refrained from taking the nurses’ suggestion to call her Jackie!

    • February 25, 2021    

      You’d not soon forget THAT date Rose-Marie! And I’m happy you didn’t name your daughter Jackie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Welcome! This is where I occasionally post a story that's not filed under My Work ... or give a behind-the-scenes commentary (when fit to publish.) You'll also find notices about upcoming workshops, such as memoir or travel writing. Enjoy your visit and come back often. Better yet, subscribe!

EDITORS, please click on My Work and Photo Gallery in the menu bar to get the big picture of what I do.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.