I Felt like a Pandemic Fugitive…

Sunday late afternoon as we walked down our road for the umpteenth time a car passed by without competition. As it passed by its tires seemed to stick to the pavement with each rotation… thwap thwap thwap. The sound loud enough to challenge the honk of two geese protesting our advancing steps. Ah the sound of snow tires in May.  Just one of the many delays the COVID public health crisis has caused many of us. We also have procrastinated making our appointments to have our car tires changed as it didn’t seem like it would be possible and certainly not a priority. After all, where are we going?

 We decided on Monday, yesterday morning it would be time to get the service safely done. Mondays are great. Even if we feel adrift from any sense of normalcy and schedule Monday still offers the possibility of a schedule if not demanding it. Old habits are hard to break. However, nothing is simple. Nothing is simple right now and I suspect for many more months to come. An early morning call to the garage just twenty minutes away confirmed our scheduled appointments for the day in a tag team sort of arrangement.  I started to shake at the thought of leaving my house and safe haven, yet excitement began to build in anticipation of being out in the world again. A small yet Herculean effort would get the job done today. I haven’t made three trips anywhere since well I just don’t remember when at this moment. A number of many weeks anyway. Three trips back and forth over the course of the day was rewarded by our snow tires wrapped and stored until next year and next time. 

Driving home from the garage and the final appointment of the day my car felt like it had been transformed into a Shelby. Well, maybe not a Shelby but my SUV felt as free and smooth as a horse embracing spring after the many winter months cooped up in a stall experiencing the freedom a pasture affords. I felt it too as I turned on the radio listening to my favorite station and artist.  I thought back to many years ago when Bruce Springsteen and Born To Run filled my college quad as it streamed from every dorm room with the exception of traces of  Boz Scaggs and Fleetwood Mac. Exactly this very time of year in early May as classes were finishing and finals were nearly at hand our greening campus came to life.  We had “reading days” after classes were finished and before finals giving us the opportunity to properly prepare for exams. Reading Days? Yes. Sunbathing in the Grotto, hydrating at the “The Rat “(our campus bar) and a constant stream of Springsteen in the air…” reading days.”

Many years later in a different place and certainly a very different time I briefly found that feeling of freedom. The banjo music streamed loudly from my radio permeating every molecule of air in the interior of my car embracing me while sheltering me at the same opportune moment. I couldn’t imagine a better instrument than the popping sound of a banjo to help me navigate the Vermont windy roads.  The sound of the banjo began to soften as Springsteen continued to perform Jesse James. I felt a bit like an outlaw myself yesterday as for just the duration of a song, I was a pandemic fugitive…I enjoyed the moment, the journey and the memory…

Snow is in the forecast for the North Country today …nothing is easy right now

Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

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