We just got back from Washington, D.C. I was there for a reunion with old college friends who I worked with on The Hatchet, our award-winning newspaper back in the ‘60s at The George Washington University. I was a humor columnist, and that’s where I got my start in journalism.
My wife Mary Ellen and I had a super time, but I hope the event wasn’t a super-spreader. I came home with COVID-19. Who did I get it from? I don’t know, but even if I did, I am a good reporter. I would never reveal my source.
When we left for D.C., I was excited about the get-together, but meeting up with COVID-19 again was not the reunion I was looking forward to. This was my second bout with the illness.
When we arrived home and I complained of a sore throat, Mary Ellen blamed it on my incessant talking for three days, but she made me take a COVID-19 test. When it was positive, she panicked because she had her own reunion coming up and didn’t want to miss it.
The first thing she did was isolate me in my home office and forbid me to leave it. All our communication was through the closed door. I was never to open it. For a guy who is hard of hearing, this was tough.
“WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR DINNER?” my wife asked loudly.
“Does it have to slip under the door?” I asked.
“YES, HOW ABOUT A DOZEN WHITE CASTLE SLIDERS?” suggested Mary Ellen.
She ended up leaving all my meals on a table in the hallway. I had to exit my office, wearing my mask, and then return to my room, quickly shutting the door.
“HOW’S THAT SLOPPY JOE?” she asked.
“I dripped a lot all over the carpet.”
‘DICK, YOU ARE ALLOWED TO TAKE OFF YOUR MASK WHEN YOU ARE EATING.”
Mary Ellen would often ask what I was doing to keep busy. I told her I was watching the National Geographic special about elephants.
“I THOUGHT WE WOULD WATCH THAT TOGETHER?” She said.
“OK, I’LL WATCH BASEBALL,” I told her. “YOU HATE BASEBALL.”
“DICK, WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME?”
“I forgot who was hard of hearing.”
By the third day, I missed seeing Mary Ellen. I heard the shower running, so I figured it would be safe to talk to her outside the glass sliding door. When she saw me, she used her finger to scroll a message on the fogged-up glass. I hoped it would be a note about how much she also missed seeing me. It said: GO AWAY! OK, this was not a “Love, Actually” moment, but at least we were communicating.
I am better now, and Mary Ellen is headed for her reunion. Before she left, I wished I had asked if I could come out of my room.