I worried about visiting my parents for the Memorial Day weekend because of COVID19. I hadn’t seen them since last December. They live in northeastern Pennsylvania. We weighed the risks, watched the weather forecast carefully so any visit would remain strictly outdoors. I rented a hotel for two nights nearby in a renovated 1930s train station. A few days before driving the seven hours east to visit, I still had my doubts. I was uncomfortable knowing that I might have been exposed to the virus and not know it. Both my parents are 89-years old and their health is what you might expect at that age.
I phoned dad to ask him what he thought.
“I have old A.G.E,” he said with humor uniquely his own. “Whatever you decide is fine.”
This is not the typical story I have penned about rising property taxes or real estate developers seeking variances for new apartment buildings. This is not about potholes or bicycle lanes, protests at City Hall, the Green Party or Democratic Party meetings. This is not a story about tax abatement policies. This is a story about my 89-year-old parents.
Walter and Evelyn live about 400 miles east of Cleveland along Interstate 80. To get to where they live, you have to drive past the Plaza Restaurant at the Emlenton Truck Plaza off Exit 42 of Interstate 80 in Venango County where you’ll find America’s Worst Apple Pie. The menu lists two choices; regular, with a plain crust; and Dutch, with cinnamon and brown sugar on top. The deep dish pie is thick with fresh apples and a flaky crust. I’ve tried them both but that’s another story.
With the COVID-19 pandemic in full force, Walter and Evelyn are amongst the most vulnerable age group according to every scientific and health expert in the world. The hell with what Trump thinks.
Living so many miles from them is difficult. I can’t easily drive to their house and wave at them. I can’t leave food for them. Luckily, my brother lives close enough to check in on them daily. Many families are in a similar situation.