My wedding anniversary comes around every March. This year March marks another anniversary: a year since an airborne virus entered our sphere and upended normalcy.
My anniversary date, March 14, 2020, landed on a Saturday and was also the date for the Kiwanis Bite of the Methow held annually at the Winthrop Barn. Since my husband was the chairperson for the Bite, he had been crazy busy with the process of creating a successful event. The auction items were collected. The vendors had their food supplies ordered. The decorations were purchased. The tent was requisitioned.
The Bite was ready — the major fundraiser for an organization that supports kids and community. Then, along came coronavirus, confusion, decision-making, and, ultimately, cancelation: No Bite.
With the night now free, we debated about going out to dinner, realizing that everything was going to change on Monday, March 16, and we did not really know what that would look like. We chose to go to the Arrowleaf Bistro for a lovely dinner to celebrate our anniversary — our last special dinner out for an entire year.
Looking back, I remember what a friend of mine “whispered” in my ear. She had information from a son who is involved in international banking and well connected to people who “know things” back East. She said, “John told us that this virus thing isn’t going away for at least 18 months.” She followed that proclamation, “But don’t tell anyone that.” No sense spreading a rumor of what sounded like an improbable outcome — a year and a half. No way!
I colored cat pictures for 30 lockdown days starting April 3. Mazama Store employees stared out of the walk-up window with shell-shocked eyes above their masks. Winthrop’s downtown was lifeless. The grocery shelves were wiped out of the darnedest things: onions, potatoes, toilet paper, rubbing alcohol.
The reality of planned events being cancelled began to set in. Gone:
• Family celebration of our already daunting 7-oh birthdays.
• Participation in Young Writers’ Workshop at Liberty Bell High School.
• Brandi Carlisle concert with VIP seating at the Gorge.
• Trip to hometown in Montana intended to show my sons my old stomping grounds. Book signing of “Petting Tigers” at Elk River Books in Livingston.
• Gift staycation at Twisp Terrace Lodge — massage, swimming pool, romantic dinner.
• Book presentation at Village Books in Bellingham.
On and on it went…
As months ticked by, 18 months began ever more realistic — 2020 was going to come and go, and it did. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, all taking a hit.
As Valentine’s and another wedding anniversary approached, the question was “What will we do?” I’ve become a fairly decent cook with plenty of time to practice over the months in isolation. Maybe just a special dinner at home? Last time we headed to town for a pub dinner, we hit a deer and my poor car is still not fixed. Best to stay home.
Then, Beth called from Twisp Terrace Lodge about our gift certificate. Would we like to use it for one of the special dinners in their Winter Garden Bubbles? It sounded like the perfect early anniversary celebration and a promise of better days ahead.
Eric and Beth Blank created a magnificent setting on their terrace with seven geodesic domes: each dome equipped with heating, mood lighting, Bluetooth speakers, and spectacular views. Beth explained that they at first had trepidations about their idea to have five weeks of theme night dinners and wine pairings — until, their voice mailbox and email inbox were full with positive responses. In short order all nights were sold out!
Our Italian night dinner was without comparison — a blessed relief from the barren months of COVID. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe John’s prediction will hold true and in six more months we will breathe a sigh of relief in our brave new world.