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  • Marilyn Saltzman

M&Ms in the time of COVID

When I worked for Jeffco Schools, our assistant Jean kept a decorative jar, stocked daily with M&Ms for all to share, on her desk. Whenever I got stressed, I’d go over to her desk and help myself. (I figured out that the little chocolates were only three calories each. Of course, after dipping into the jar a dozen times or more, the calories started adding up.)


I never thought twice about putting my hand in a jar shared by our office mates and others in the building who stopped by for their M&M fix.


That was decades before COVID.


Last Saturday at our writers’ group meeting, Cecelia pulled out a large bag of M&Ms and offered them to us. We were all masked and socially distanced at an outdoor picnic area. Hmm, I thought, do I want to reach in and grab the candies others may have touched? Probably not.


When the bag got to me, I found that it contained individually wrapped packets of M&Ms. Satisfied it was safe, I grabbed one. It made me think about the myriad of small and large ways that COVID has changed our everyday lives. There are things that I will not miss after this is all over, and some I will; things I look forward to doing again and others I may choose never to do again.


I won’t miss:

· Doing an avoidance dance down the supermarket aisles

· Washing all my groceries, including bags and boxes, when I get home

· Peering into the lobby at the post office to make sure there are only two people inside

· Using hand sanitizer before, during and after excursions

· Wearing a mask

· Isolating from others


I will miss:

· Spending more time at home and less in the car

· Having space to read, hike and play

· Calling friends just to chat

· Practicing BEING rather than DOING

I look forward to once again being able to:

· Hug friends

· Go out to lunch

· Invite people over for dinner

· Attend classes and services at Beth Evergreen

· Have in-person rather than ZOOM meetings

· Spend time at the gym and the pool

· Travel nationally and internationally


I may never again choose to:

· Eat a piece of birthday cake after someone blew out candles on it

· Go to a restaurant buffet

· Grab chips from a bowl at a large party

· Shake hands with a stranger


I hope when life returns to “normal” I can keep some of my new, healthy habits; discard some old ones that don’t serve me; and most of all, appreciate the good things in everyday life. Like M&Ms, in moderation of course, whether in bulk or individually wrapped.

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