Thursday, May 7, 2020

Stay In: The Not-So-Merry Month of May

by Peggy Robin

If this had been a normal May, the “Get Out” column (as the "Stay In" column used to be
known) would have been crowded with events at this time of the year, kicking off with the announcement of the Cathedral Fair on the first Friday and Saturday of May. That event has now been transformed into a virtual event,
taking place now through May 10 at There is still one important component taking
place IRL (In Real Life) at the Cathedral this Saturday, May 9th -- and that's the Food Drive.
More about that here: 

Earlier this week we had May the Fourth, a/k/a “Star Wars Day” -- as in "May the Fourth Be With You." You got that right -- the annual Star Wars holiday is based on a weak pun. (You can read more about it here.) This year, in lieu of the usual gatherings of fans all dressed up in costumes, wielding light sabers, with funny hair-dos, what we had instead was a lot of binge-watching of the series, and an online message of hope from the producers of the franchise:

Then, Tuesday of this week was Cinco de Mayo, a holiday not much observed in Mexico, except for in the city of Puebla where a battle was fought and won against French troops on that date. (More about the origins of Cinco de Mayo here: Hard to imagine that a less-than-critical victory in mid-19th Century Mexican history would go on to become a major consumer event and party-day in so many bars and restaurants north of the border -- but that doesn't mean we can't feel the loss when we're unable to celebrate it as we've become used to doing -- with a beer bash and mariachi music at our favorite neighborhood cantina. At least you can be grateful that I've spared you any attempt at a Corona pun involving the brand of beer. .

The biggest thing to finish off this week is Mother’s Day, but now instead of real hugs and kisses for Moms and/or Grandmas, and little fingers, sticky with glue, glitter and marker ink, offering up their handmade cards and crafts, they'll be holding up their creations in front of a webcam, while Mom shouts instructions at her Mom to adjust the angle of her webcam and click "join Zoom meeting with audio," so that everyone can see and hear what's going on. She may blow you a thousand kisses but you still long for a Mother's Day when your Mother is right there in the room -- not right there on the screen.

Of course, you want to make the best of it, modeling adaptability, resilience, and fortitude for the younger generation. As others have noted, in terms of testing our resolve, this is our World War II, our call to do what we must for the good of all. If only we had a song to cheer us up and guide us along. You know, the way Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again” did for the families separated by that war, when there was no telling when....or if...they would be reunited.

It may take a while for a song to emerge that can fill this outsized role. But here are some possibilities:

"One Day More" from Les Miserables - and here it is in a version adapted for the current crisis by an adorable British singing family: 

Two doctors, Dr. William Robinson and Dr. Elvis Francois, did this version of "Lean on Me" that paid tribute to health care workers:

All over Italy, people in quarantine were doing spontaneous versions of  "Bella Ciao" from their balconies in the evenings, which was lovely to see:

To show how we can still harmonize together even while we are keeping social distancing, and still be optimistic about the future, there's this Zoom ensemble of "Here Comes the Sun":

But it could be that the one great song that will become the anthem of hope for the future hasn't been written yet. Just maybe someone is sitting in a room in quarantine now, working alone, writing it down. to share with the world. If that is what you are doing now, more power to you! And please, share it soon.

The "Stay In!" column is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays.

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