A boomer copes with Covid in Small Town USA

We asked all of you— BoomerCafé’s readers— to let us know how you’re getting along and what you’ve learned after three-quarters of a year into this pandemic. From Pfafftown, North Carolina, just a few miles from Winston-Salem, Terri Kirby Erickson opened her mind to all of us as she and her family cope with Covid in Small Town USA.

Late last night, I stood on the patio of the home my husband and I built with money we worked hard to earn… and watched a meteor streak across the starry sky and disappear into a flash of fire.

This morning, I awoke in my warm bed and the first sound I heard was a flock of honking geese flying over our roof. I enjoyed a good morning kiss from my husband, who is working from home these days, and had a breakfast of raspberry yogurt and walnuts while reading the newspaper and watching birds gather at our backyard feeder.

Autumn’s natural color around Terri’s home.

And not long ago, our daughter came over for a visit. We sat six feet apart in the garage, door open, and we all wore masks. We didn’t hug, although we really wanted to. Since my husband and I are over sixty and have underlying health conditions, and her fiancé is immune-compromised, it is necessary to take precautions (not just for our sake, of course, but for the health and safety of anyone with whom we come in contact). It was wonderful to see our daughter. I miss seeing her lovely smile more often. It seems so unnatural not to embrace my own child.

Terri Kirby Erickson

I spend most days writing poetry, cleaning my house, cooking, and talking with friends and family on the phone. My husband and I grocery shop together (always masked), take long walks, and go golfing (he plays and I tag along). I seem to watch a lot of PBS and CNN, both networks valuable and necessary for different reasons. I read a great deal, and spend time thinking about who and what I’ve lost in the past year-and-a-half or so. But I also think about who and what I still have.

I try not to dwell on sadness and grief, although those emotions remain with me— particularly in the aftermath of the deaths of my beloved parents in last year. I try to concentrate on the love we shared, how enriched my life has been, and continues to be, by those who are no longer with us, but still deeply cherished. And I pray for healthcare workers, and for people who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, and for those who are suffering debilitating effects from this dreadful disease. I pray for those who are alone and frightened, those who have lost homes and jobs, and I pray for children who are suffering from not being able to go to school or be with friends.

Yet, even in the midst of political and social unrest and a pandemic that requires too much isolation, and despite fear of the present and the future, there is so much beauty in this world, and miracles are happening all around us. Somehow, the leaves know how to turn vibrant and drift to the ground when they are done. Squirrels are gathering acorns, birds are flying south. Nature is still going strong.

Terri’s husband, Leonard Erickson, on the golf course.

As for us humans, there are reasons to hope. We soon will have a new president and vice president, who we pray will help change the hateful tone in this country of the past four years. And, vaccines are on the way.

In the meantime, I remain grateful for my loved ones, for every second, however fleeting, when joy and a sort of lightness of being prevail over fear and worry and sorrow. I am grateful for comets, wild geese, and raspberry yogurt, as well as my home, my work, a sense of humor, an abiding faith, and every blessing that comes our way.

I’m thankful for being alive right here, right now, because this precious moment in time will never come again.


Terri’s most recent book is A Sun Inside My Chest, available at Amazon and other book sellers.


  1. As soon as I began reading this, I thought of the times you and Leonard stood on the deck behind your house as I sat on mine next door. I think of you guys often and am glad to see that you are both okay. We too agree with everything you said about the country and this terrible virus. Let’s hope we turn the corner soon. Your words here calmed me completely as they always do.

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