MASHED POTATOES…with butter!

Firstly, let me say that I am very lucky during this quarantine time in Italy, because we live out in the middle of nowhere, so I can still go on my daily walks. People living in town are only allowed to venture out 200 meters from their abode and that’s it! We have acres and acres of woods surrounding our house. The only bit of civilization I see is at the beginning of my walk when I cross the street and then turn off onto the path into the woods.
Today, as I headed off, my head was swirling with thoughts. I was thinking about my friend, who had just lost her father to the virus a few days ago, and she couldn’t even travel to his town to bury him!I was thinking about how this pandemic has made many of us think about our own mortality – and begin to re-evaluate what’s really important to us.

Just as I was about to cross the street, I glanced over my shoulder more out of habit, than necessity, since normally there is very little traffic and now with the quarantine, there is virtually none. Well, it’s a good thing I did because I stopped short and jumped back to the side of the road…I almost stepped in front of a bus! Not a car, mind you, but a bus…a bus that passes by here only once a day! And I almost got run over by it!

And I literally laughed out loud! Here we all are, worried about catching this virus and possibly dying…when we could just as easily get run over by a bus! Life is that fragile…and that precious. And it always has been.

Why do we need a pandemic to remember that?

Why don’t we remember how precious life is, on a daily basis? Even I, who am lucky enough to be able to take these walks in nature, often spend most of the time in my head! Well today, I was brought back to the present moment with a start! And then I did, literally, stop and smell the flowers on my walk. And notice the primrose blooming in the woods. And the sound of the little brook I cross over every day.

Today, I was present and noticed my surroundings. 

And it was beautiful!

And when I got home, I started working on something I’d dreamed up on my walk…I wanted to send some loving kindness to my friend who lost her father. I really wanted to hug her, but with the quarantine, I couldn’t.
So, what did I do? Made her favorite thing for her…mashed potatoes! Yes, you heard me right. She loves my mashed potatoes! She says nobody makes them like I do (she’s Italian remember, so there’s not a lot of competition!) Anyway, I made the potatoes with lots of love and then drove the ½ mile to her house to deliver them. I rang the bell and stood there with my mask on (that’s the law right now) and she opened the door with her mask on.I held up my little container and said, “I can’t hug you right now, but I can hug you with these.” And handed her my gift. She said, “It’s still hot. What is it?” “Mashed potatoes,” I said.

Did you know you can see someone smile through a mask?! Her eyes lit up – and teared up a little bit too – and the two of us stood there blowing each other kisses through our masks!

I think I made her day…she sent me a message a short while later saying she and her husband couldn’t even wait till lunchtime but had eaten all the potatoes already! Well, that made my day!

So, now I am asking you to stop for a minute and ask yourself who you could do something for today.

It doesn’t have to be something physical (but it could be…like cookies!) Maybe just check in with someone. Or offer to pick up something for them at the store, since you are going shopping.

Or simply stop and let someone cross the street, even though they clearly were not paying attention!

Think of it as a reminder to yourself and others, that life is precious. And it’s the little things that really count.

Whatever it is that you come up with, I’d love to hear about it! And be sure to let me know how you felt doing it!

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