These past six months I have lived in isolation. No Mass, no shopping, no volunteer work, no social life. I am old, I have a serious respiratory illness for which I take a daily medication that suppresses the immune system. According to medical advice, I shouldn’t go anywhere public unless really necessary. A neighbor shops for me, my beloved Sophie (a Yorkie) keeps me company, and I look forward to the weekly workday of my yardman. I haven’t been to Mass. I tried once, but the mask made it impossible for me to breathe and I had to leave.

There was one really lovely day. I called a couple who are dear friends about a month ago. “Please visit”, I whimpered. “We’d have to sit on the porch, but maybe we could manage”. They arrived with a floor fan (anyone who knows what August is like in South Georgia can imagine), a cooler, and wearing masks. When we reached the porch, they removed their masks and withdrew from the cooler a lovely bottle of Shiraz, and plates wrapped in plastic and laden with cheeses and crackers, and the floor fan was plugged in. Afterwards, we had wonderful Meyer lemon cookies straight from the bakery. My friend wore gloves to distribute our plates and disposable wine glasses. No gourmet banquet at the Ritz-Carlton could have competed.

I’m not so very unusual. Older people who live alone and are usually active now are not. They may not want to ask for some kind of improvised visit. I might mention here that only one or two people have phoned during this time. I am lucky in having a kind neighbor shop for me. And I am blessed in having such good friends. Not everyone can say that, however. If readers know someone who might appreciate an improvised visit or even a phone call, it might be good to remember, “I was in prison, and you visited me.”