Geoff and I celebrated our thirteenth wedding anniversary on June 23. Our family clearly loves the spring wedding anniversary with Geoff’s sister and husband celebrating theirs on June 6, his parents on June 15, my parents May 31, and my brother and wife on June 17. This spring we also tested negative for COVID-19 and its antibodies. Unfortunately, we got tested because we believed we had been exposed when Geoff traveled home from Colorado and was very sick back in late February. We were hoping for the antibody superpower and the ability to help others. Our current feelings of helplessness also may stem from Geoff’s inability to run Eastern Adaptive Sports, his nonprofit summer adaptive sports program; nor can we resolve the political division at the highest levels of government, save the economy, or create lasting peace and better understanding given the latest levels of violence and racial injustice in America. There is a lot of stress our country and its people– regardless of ability or disability– are managing right now. At this moment, I am grateful for the power of the parade.
The other night we went to a drive- in movie at our local Loon Mountain. It was a local fundraiser for our Community Fund, which anyone can apply to in times of need, or someone can apply for someone else, just one more aspect of our little mountain town I love dearly. We are fortunate to have Geoff’s family convertible from 1971 in our possession, so it’s the perfect car to parade around town, attend drive in’s, and actual parades, etc. What I’ve learned when one has an old car, one also must drive around with a set of jumper cables or a power pack. It’s awesome. So awesome that when we were leaving the drive in the other night in our 1971 Caprice Classic, chock full of our kids plus two, I couldn’t help but notice the drive- in rookies with the dead battery.
I suddenly jumped into full “Superhero: This is a Problem I Can Fix Instantly” mode. Not only did I know the two dads glancing sheepishly around, I hopped out of the car, popped the trunk, grabbed my power pack, and was sending juice to their battery before they even realized what was happening. They were grateful, of course, as the engine roared to life, I returned to my own vehicle, and we sailed away into the darkness and 47-degree frigid temperatures. But for the first time in three months, I solved a problem for another person. It felt so good.
Perhaps you have witnessed the recent birthday or graduation parades, the only real viable way to appropriately socially distance oneself from others. Our daughter didn’t want a birthday parade because she doesn’t like the idea of everyone looking at just her, unless of course she is skiing down a racecourse. She explains, “But, Mom, then I’m just skiing. In a birthday parade, I would need to stand there and wave and smile and, well, that’s a lot of work.”
Geoff on the other hand LOVES the parades because he gets to go driving in his convertible. Of course, with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on his hand controls, he isn’t exactly flashing any Mr. America pageant style waves, but his dimpled smile is always pretty parade perfect. He has driven NH dignitaries, WWII Veterans, the occasional Miss New Hampshire, and, mostly, just us around, top down always, regardless of hot summer sun or chilly breezes in the backseat. Our kids have grown up knowing that sunglasses, hats, sweatshirts, and blankets are all part of what they need to travel with Dad in the convertible.
Despite NH opening up more, we are not quite ready to join the throngs of people waiting to eat on outdoor patios or side streets. Of course, my heart breaks for these businesses just trying to stay afloat throughout this pandemic, but we have grown used to minimal socializing on our front porch or by our campfire or those porches and campfires of friends. We will continue to support our local eateries with occasional take out and gift cards for our kids’ teachers. So maybe our anniversary celebration this year will be a simple convertible ride through our mountains, along our roaring rivers and curvy back roads. Maybe we will see a moose or a mama bear and her cubs. Maybe we will stick the kids and the dog in the backseat, or maybe we will leave them at home. But that convertible front seat 15 years ago is where we shared our first kiss, and I can think of no better place to celebrate our love all these years later– pandemic or not.
Heather Ehrman Krill is a writer- wife- teacher-mom who lives in the White Mountains of NH with her husband, Geoff, a paraplegic and professional skier, and their two children, Carver and Greta who are 10 and 9. Please check out her novel True North, website www.heatherkrill.com, author FB page Heather Krill, and @heatherkrill1 on Twitter.