We just got back from Washington DC. I was there for a reunion with old college friends who I worked with on The Hatchet, our award-winning newspaper back in the 60’s at The George Washington University. I was a humor columnist and that’s where I got my start in journalism.
Mary Ellen and I had a super time. I just hope the event wasn’t a super-spreader. I came home with Covid. 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 DC, I was excited about the get-together, but meeting up with Covid again was not the reunion I was looking forward to. This was my second bout with the illness. I have been lax lately guarding against a new infection. The only reason I was going to wear a mask to the reunion was that the last few columns I wrote in 1969 were not very funny. I wanted to be sure I wasn’t immediately recognized. Journalists have really good memories.
When we arrived home and I complained of a sore throat, Mary Ellen initially blamed it on my incessant talking for three days, but after taking my temperature she made me take a Covid test. When it was positive, my wife went into panic mode. Not because she thought I would get gravely ill, but because she has her own reunion coming up and doesn’t want to miss it. She went into action.
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?” questioned my wife.
“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 me 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 channel documentary about elephants.
“I THOUGHT WE WOULD WATCH THAT TOGETHER.” She said.
“OKAY, 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! Okay, 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 wish I had asked if I could come out of my room.
– Dick Wolfsie spent his career sharing his humor, stories and video essays on television, radio and in newspapers. His columns appear weekly in The Paper of Montgomery County. E-mail Dick at Wolfsie@ aol.com.