April 2021: Life in the COVID-19 era

April 1, 2021

What a cold, blustery day!  The high today was in the low 40’s with a stiff winter wind and blowing snow at times.  Quite an un-spring like first day of April!

As a result, I didn’t get any outside exercise today which I badly need.  I did ride my bike on the trainer for an hour this morning and walked with Lynn at the Harrisonburg mall for about two miles tonight.  I’m still way out of shape.

We were going to go to Brazil this year but tonight’s news showed how they are having nearly 4,000 deaths per day due to COVID-19 now and can’t even bury their dead fast enough.  I’m so glad we postponed that trip.  It is called the epicenter of the pandemic in Latin America. 

I didn’t accomplish much today which has been typical for the last few weeks, sadly.  I was able to help Ann’s family out a little by meeting Betsy and Freddie when they rode the bus here after school then going to Fort Defiance to get Gus from his season-end basketball meeting.  Then I took all of them home.  Ann had homecoming activities at Broadway this evening (Brrrr…) so I’m glad I could help them a little.

This afternoon I did play around some with Lynn’s new Venza, discovering some of its net features.  I can not only receive texts and read them to the driver, it can also compose and send texts from the driver’s voice.  It can locate most anything you’d give it voice commands to find (“Find the nearest McDonald’s” or “What are the directions to Kay Foy’s house?” or “What’s the weather forecast tomorrow in Roanoke?”).  It can open the back hatch with a kick of the foot under the car.  It can charge Lynn’s phone without her having to plug it in to one of the four USB ports. 

I did have an extended phone call today with Justin Rexrode, our Edward Jones Financial Representative.  Our retirement funds have done very well under his advisement.  We have about 75% of our investments with Justin at Edward Jones and another 25% with the company aligned with Rockingham County Public Schools, Lincoln Financial.  My dad lived through the Great Depression and always told me to not put all of my eggs in one basket.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

April 1                  Infected                   Died

World             130,147,630           2,839,127

US                     31,244,497              566,282

Virginia                620,801                10,268

Augusta County       5,399                       68

            Vaccinated

            Virginia            3,850,838  (1,375,802 residents are fully vaccinated)         

            Augusta County        39,801  (17,323 residents are fully vaccinated including us!)

I don’t think it’s surprising that Augusta County’s great increase in vaccinations has led to a dramatic decrease in new cases—only one new case today, no new deaths, and no more hospitalizations.  But the US and world are still under a siege from COVID-19.

April 2, 2021

Today was another frigid day for early April.  At least the forecast over the next week calls for much improved weather.  Tomorrow is our scheduled Easter Egg Hunt; the temperature for tomorrow afternoon is supposed to be in the high 50’s or low 60’s.  Next week we’re supposed to be back in the 70’s.

I need to be riding my bike outside some.  So far I’ve been limited to the trainer set up in the family room downstairs.  At least I can watch CNN while I pedal.  Today I rode for right at one hour.

Lynn had some interpreting to do today.  Her first one was at McGaheysville Elementary School and her second one was from home via Zoom.  I didn’t do a lot while waiting on her but as soon as she got back she and I went to Central and got another large load of food for the Aguirre family.  We also bought a lot of groceries at Kroger for ourselves and our company this weekend.  We then delivered the food to Elizabeth and came home to unload our groceries.   I had to make one more short run to Food Lion to get a few things Kroger didn’t have plus some McDonald’s coupons to send to Jim’s kids tomorrow in their Easter basket Lynn will prepare.

This being Friday, we also went to the Old Schoolhouse Food Truck for our weekly hamburgers.  It was a busy afternoon.

Here is some good news:  Pfizer said Thursday that trials suggest that their vaccine is effective against a coronavirus variant that first emerged in South Africa, which some experts worry might evade existing shots. They also said in a statement that 12,000 people involved in their Phase 3 trial experienced high levels of protection against Covid-19 six months after their second doses, with no serious safety concerns.  The company said Wednesday that their vaccine is safe and effective in teenagers ages 12 to 15. They plan to request emergency use authorization for those ages in the coming weeks.  Pfizer is also studying how well the vaccine works in children ages 6 months to 11 years. The first doses in that trial were administered last week.

Ever since Jim mounted the birdhouses and Lynn filled them with birdseed, the birds have been loving our property.  We’ve had a good mix of bird varieties, all very colorful.  Tonight as I looked out the window I could see a dozen or so birds vying for the seed.  In the Link’s field next to us I could see more than 40 cows and four Alpacas.  In the Mezzoni’s field there were about ten deer feeding.  It is nice to live in the country where humans are way outnumbered by animals!  In other neighbor’s fields we see horses, goats, sheep, and Winnie the pig.

I’ve seen lots of commercials mocking how people becoming their parents.  Prior to this year, Lynn never paid much attention to the birds.  Her mother loved them and spent lots of time watching them.  Well, Lynn has become her Mom.  Maybe watching them somehow reminds her of her mother.  That’s a good thing. 

Henry got the good news tonight that he was accepted into the Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School for next year.  Super!  Here’s what their website says:  One of 19 Governor’s Schools in the state of Virginia, the purpose of SVGS is to provide an integrated math, science and technology program and an integrated arts and humanities program in a unique environment.  SVGS has programs and courses designed to meet the unique needs of advanced ability and highly motivated students. Students may attend in one of two broad curriculum areas, Arts & Humanities and Sciences (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

We made some plans today for tomorrow’s family visits.  Kay and her family are expected around 2:00 and have agreed to stay for dinner.  We got some suggestions from her for dinner and also some ideas from Ann.  Jim hopes to join us for dinner.  Here’s what I sent to each of them regarding dinner:  For dinner tomorrow night we’d like to offer that we’ll have pepperoni rolls, pimento cheese sandwiches, fruit, tomato & mozzarella cheese sticks, deviled eggs, potato chips AND we’ll make a run to Chicano Boy to pick up whatever else anyone wants. We have cake for dessert and lemonade, soft drinks, or milk to drink.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

April 2                  Infected                   Died

World             130,791,581           2,849,974

US                     31,311,321              567,519

Virginia                622,339                10,279

Augusta County       5,399                       68

            Vaccinated

            Virginia            3,957,289  (1,416,919 residents are fully vaccinated)         

            Augusta County        39,803  (17,722 residents are fully vaccinated including us!)

Wow—Augusta County had zero new cases, zero new deaths, and zero new hospitalizations.  I hope this isn’t a data entry error.  The news said that twenty states were experiencing a rise in the number of cases but Virginia was not among them.  Perhaps vaccination is starting to pay off.  The CDC did say today that vaccinated adults should feel safe to travel anywhere within the United States they wanted.  I am concerned that the number of hospitalizations hasn’t decreased in Augusta County.  It remains at 152.  I would have thought some of those hospitalized would have improved and be sent home by now.

April 3, 2021

The weather was better today with temperatures in the 50’s but not as good as it will be tomorrow and the days following.  But at least it sufficed for our family Easter egg hunt.

We’ve had Easter egg hunts at our house for decades.  Last year the pandemic stopped that tradition but today it was revived.  We didn’t have as many kids as usual but we did have six of our eight grandchildren:  Henry, Gus, Betsy, Freddie, Thomas, and Georgia.  Of course, I took lots and lots of pictures.  Lynn fixed a ton of snack and dinner food as I detailed in yesterday’s post.  Since the kids are older now, I made one part of the egg different this year.  I numbered six eggs 1 through 6, put a silver dollar in each, and hid them in some rather difficult places in the back yard.  I also wrote down where I had hidden each of the six so I could provide hints if one or more were unfound.  Actually, I expected most of them to be unfound because I hid them well.  When the kids came, I told them they were allowed to find only one of these special eggs per person.  If they discovered a second one then they had to leave it. 

It worked out well.  They did find about half of the special eggs without any hints.  The hunt was late getting started as they didn’t get here until 3:00 but from 3:00 to 7:00 we had a big family party including lots of food and fun.  Jim came around 5:00.

The six grandchildren played so well outside.  They did everything:  hunted eggs, hid eggs for the adults, played on the playground set, rode big wheels on the tennis court, did crafts with Lynn coloring cookies, played tennis, played basketball, played kickball in the field, swang on the pergola, ate lots of food, and got along very, very well.  It was a little chilly but quite bearable.  It was a very fine afternoon.  I feel so blessed.

In the meantime Lynn had fixed a pile of food.  Plus, we placed a big order at Chicano Boys’ Taco in Staunton.  Ann picked it up and we ate on the back porch.

The reason the kids were late in getting here is that Ann’s family met Kay’s family at Humpback Rock on Blue Ridge Parkway for a hike.  It was good that they got together.

Kay gave us some very good news today—she gets her first vaccine shot this coming Thursday.  Andy has already had his first so when she gets her shots all of the adults in our family will have been vaccinated.  Josh gets his second one soon and the rest of us already have two under our belts.  Hooray!

I took over 100 pictures today.  I tried to capture all of the activities the kids did while they were here.  Unfortunately, most of the shots of people were of them wearing masks.  That’s a sign of the times, I guess. 

Yes, COVID-19 is still with us and we’re lucky to have avoided it thus far.  Here are the international, national, state, and local statistics for today:

April 3                  Infected                   Died

World             131,327,017           2,858,229

US                     31,381,702              568,496

Virginia                623,881                10,287

Augusta County       5,403                       68

            Vaccinated

            Virginia            4,071,088  (1,467,640 residents are fully vaccinated)         

            Augusta County        39,983  (17,760 residents are fully vaccinated including us!)

The NCAA men’s basketball semifinals were played today.  Baylor thoroughly beat Houston in the first game.  The other game was Gonzaga versus UCLA which didn’t start until late.

April 4, 2021

Today was Easter Sunday.  Lynn and I did something we hadn’t done in a year—went to an in-person church service at Central.  Central had decided to re-open on Easter Sunday because more and more of its elderly members had been vaccinated.  Indeed, there were at least 60 people in the sanctuary today, all dispersed by six foot barriers throughout.  It was really good to see people I literally hadn’t seen in a year. 

I had some extra responsibilities with the service.  I had been asked by Yi-Ping Chen if I could broadcast the video she had put together via Zoom of choir members singing “Because He Lives.”  Plus, Pastor Won had set up a laptop with the bulletin and communion service put into Powerpoint format so it could be projected for the attendees to see.  He asked me to advance the slides during the service.  We had a minor snafu in that his laptop wouldn’t play Yi-Ping’s video but I had Lynn’s MacBook with me so I queued up the video on it and, when it came time in the service for it, simply switched the input cables to the projector.  It all worked fine.

After church we picked up soup not only for ourselves but also for the Gutshalls and Aquirre family thanks to Millie Brown.  We brought it all home so we could refrigerate it until they pick it up.  The Gutshalls came over for dinner tonight and Elizabeth and family are coming here tomorrow for another Easter egg hunt.

The weather was nicer today than yesterday so after we ate lunch Lynn and I took our standard two mile walk.  I don’t know why sometimes this walk is very easy for me and other days it hurts.  Today was a hurting day.

Jim did a Facetime call with us this morning so we could see Faron and Coen on Easter morning.  They were very talkative as usual.

I ended up staying up for the second semifinal basketball game last night and it was a good one.  Gonzaga won in overtime when one of its players hit a midcourt shot as time expired to give them a 93 – 90 win.  Now it’s Baylor vs Gonzaga in the finals.  I’m pulling for Baylor.  By the way, if Baylor does win then Josh wins the Worthington pool.  If Gonzaga beats Baylor, Thomas wins the pool.  So either way two of my favorites will become richer!  Alas, I’m in 31st place out of 33 with no hope of going higher.

We had another fine meal tonight with Ann, Josh, and kids.  Lynn fixed a prime rib roast which was delicious.  She also made asparagus a different way that was tasty.  We ate outside since the weather was nice but later in the evening it got a little chilly so we came in.  Before that, I played basketball with Freddie a couple of times. 

Henry left me with some math problems he wants to do with me tomorrow.  I’ll try to get a headstart on them before they come over in the afternoon.  The class he’s taking this year, Pre-Calculus, is one I taught almost every year I taught school.

Here are today’s COVID-19 figures:

April 4                  Infected                   Died

World             131,894,417           2,865,483

US                     31,419,597              568,765

Virginia                625,148                10,329

Augusta County       5,415                       68

            Vaccinated

            Virginia            4,174,326  (1,519,021 residents are fully vaccinated)         

            Augusta County        40,196  (17,792 residents are fully vaccinated including us!)

I’ve seen several news reports this week detailing how poorly COVID-19 has been contained in other countries, notably Brazil.  I believe 2021 is a good year to travel strictly within the United States.  I am almost sure that our trip to Portugal and Spain will be delayed until 2022.

April 5, 2021

Not only did we have an Easter egg hunt this year for the first time in two years, we had two of them!  Emily and Nathan came over this afternoon and the Gutshalls came back for a second backyard Easter egg hunt.  The Gutshalls were good sports about doing this again.  And I think all of the kids had a good time playing together again today.  The weather was gorgeous.

After the egg hunt was over, the kids were all swinging in the pergola and I had an idea for them to play a game that I used to have my General Math students do 45 years ago.  We were already sitting in a circle, of course, in the pergola so I taught them to play the game where each seat is numbered 1, 2, 3, etc.  The person sitting in seat 1 is the “King” and simply announces a different seat number.  The person sitting in that seat simply has to quickly respond with another number (not his own) and the game continues until someone neglects to respond when their number is called, calls their own number, or sputters in responding.  When a person misses, he moves to the last chair and everyone behind him moves up one seat, taking on a new number.  The game seems so simple but is surprisingly hard to play, especially when players learn to be more devious such as calling out “3” while looking directly as person #2.  From Henry down to Nathan, the kids seemed to like this game.  Freddie played for a while but it may have been a little too old of a game for him. 

I used to do this game in classes with twenty or more students in them.  It always surprised me who would do well in this game and who would not.  The success at this game did not seem to be that correlated to academic ability.  I can remember one General Math student of mine who was not a particularly good math student but once she got in Chair #1 it was impossible to dislodge her.  Today, everyone at one point made it to Chair #1 but no one stayed there for an inordinate amount of time before missing.

Lynn had lots of snacks ready for the kids which I enjoyed as well.  So when the families all left around 4:30 we weren’t the slightest bit hungry.  So we went for our two mile walk then came home and ate dinner.  We warmed up some of the prime rib roast Lynn had made yesterday which was superb.

Tonight was the NCAA men’s basketball championship.  I vowed to stay up and watch it though it didn’t start until 9:00 so I’ll have to write about it tomorrow.

This morning I spent three hours at Central doing Treasurer’s work.  Today was April 5, a Monday, so I had lots of beginning-of-month work to do.  I was successful in getting all of the four bank accounts reconciled and two of the three credit cards reconciled.  Pastor Won wasn’t there for me to give me his credit card records so I’ll do that later.  I also paid a few bills and made the deposit from today’s counters.  It was a large one since yesterday was Easter and we had a good offering from our first in-person service in 2021.  I also paid the federal taxes which are paid monthly and submitted a tax form, Form 941, which must be submitted every three months.  So it was a very successful day for me at CUMC.

I got back from Central just in time to get the eggs hidden for the afternoon Easter egg hunt.  The word “hidden” doesn’t really apply as only some of them were actually concealed a little; others were merely scattered around the yard.  But there were around 250 eggs in all in our back yard!

It was good to see Gilberto today.  Elizabeth brought him over to pick up the kids at the end of the party.  He told us he was doing better each day.

While he was here this afternoon, I also did Henry’s math problems with him.  Actually I had gotten an early start on them last night and this morning so all I had to do was check my work with his as he did the problems.  They were about exponential growth, logarithms including natural logarithms and base e, and included practical problems such as computing future worth of investments compounded at various times and car depreciation.  I enjoyed doing the problems.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

April 5                  Infected                   Died

World             132,389,797           2,873,069

US                     31,484,402              569,180

Virginia                626,171                10,360

Augusta County       5,414                       68

            Vaccinated

            Virginia            4,224,890  (1,543,719 residents are fully vaccinated)         

            Augusta County        40,789  (18,153 residents are fully vaccinated including us!)

This means that 54% of Augusta County residents have been vaccinated with at least one shot.  Yippee!  I know that’s why the number of cases, deaths, and hospitalizations has slowed to a crawl.  I hope this continues.  There are several COVID-19 mutations spreading through the United States now.  It really gripes me that some people refuse to get their shots because the only way this virus will go away is if enough people are immune to it that it has no one left to spread to.  As long as there are anti-vaxers out there we will have to live with COVID-19.  These people are not only stupid, they are also selfish.

April 6, 2021

I did stay up to watch the basketball game last night but it wasn’t a close game at all.  Baylor blew Gonzaga away to win the national championship.  And whether it was the adrenalin from the basketball game or the caffeine from the Coke Zero I drank earlier in the evening, I couldn’t sleep well at all.  One thing I’ve appreciated about retirement is getting a good night’s sleep but that didn’t happen last night.

I needed to be well rested, too, as I played tennis with Marc Kinder, Rob Cale, and Won Un today at Mary Baldwin College.  It was a very nice day to play, sunny and warm.  We met at 11:00 and played until 1:00 in 77o weather.  I was whipped when we finished.  I did manage to be on the winning team for both sets.  Rob and I beat Marc and Won 9 – 7 in a marathon.  Then Won and I came back from being down 5 – 2 to beat Marc and Rob 7 – 5.  For me, the combination of being out of shape, little sleep last night, hot weather for this time of the year, plus a nagging injury to my upper right arm made it a struggle though I enjoyed it.  I believe I hurt my arm when I played last week and today it really ached, especially when I served.

Lynn was able to schedule Physical Therapy today in lieu of having it this Friday since we’ll be in Pennsylvania then.  She had it again tomorrow.  After her PT this morning, her Cheryl friends came over to visit while I left to play tennis.

Before I did, I took Cheryl Kent up to Simmons Auto Repair.  She had been told by a Staunton repair shop that her car had a leak in the main engine seal and it would cost over $2,300 to have it repaired.  She had heard us talk about how competent and fair Brian and Tommy Simmons are so she thought she’d get a second opinion.  Brian concurred that she needed the work done but told her it would cost $1,700.  That’s a big savings!  She’s going to have the work done at Simmons later this month.

Ann has spring break this week with Rockingham County Public Schools though her kids aren’t so lucky in Augusta County.  They only got Friday and Monday off around Easter so they were back in school today.  But this meant that she could pick up Freddie when he got here this afternoon.  Actually, she allowed Freddie and me to play one game of PIG shooting basketball first.  I’ve played him four times in the past week and my record is 0 – 4.

After dinner tonight Lynn needed a grocery item so we went to Bridgewater IGA to get it.  Of course, on the way back we stopped at Smiley’s for ice cream.  Yum!

Josh got his second vaccine shot today.  Hooray!

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

April 6                  Infected                   Died

World             132,990,226           2,884,845

US                     31,558,576              570,231

Virginia                627,605                10,401

Augusta County       5,426                       69

            Vaccinated

            Virginia            4,277,076  (1,571,239 residents are fully vaccinated)         

            Augusta County        40,909  (18,201 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, and Ann!)

There are now 156 Augusta County residents hospitalized with COVID-19.  Vaccinations or not the virus is still going strong here.

Lynn and I are getting ready for our three day trip coming up this Thursday through Saturday.  We’re going to be meeting Butch and Mary K. for dinner in Altoona on Friday night.

April 7, 2021

Whew!  This morning the weather was nice and I decided to ride my bike in the neighborhood while Lynn went into Staunton.  I took my bike off the trainer, filled the tires with air, grabbed my helmet and off I rode.  The problem is that there is NOWHERE around here even remotely flat.  My legs hurt less than ½ mile from home.  I rode what maps out to be an 8 mile ride past Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church, down to Todd Road, out to Gray Fox road, back to Salem Church Road, up to Cider Mill Road, back to Mount Pisgah Church, then home.  In actual miles I’m sure the trip was more like 11 – 12 miles because I did corkscrews on every hill to make them more bearable.  My, did my legs hurt.  The rest of me, including my bottom, did fine.  I was exhausted when I got back home, a little over an hour later.  Todd and Gray Fox roads I am seldom on and I thought I remembered them as being basically flat.  Wrong!  It seemed like each hill had ten minutes of pain resulting in one minute of downhill relaxation.  If I knew that the Katy Trail was hilly, I would never have agreed to ride with the group from May 10 – 15.  As it is, where we enter the Katy Trail the elevation is 571 ft. above sea level and when we leave the trail four days later it is 452 ft. above with zero hills between.  That’s why I think I can make it. 

 On our Midwest trip in 2017 Lynn and I rode our bikes on the Katy Trail in three states:  Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.  The original railroad trail was called the MKT trail for Missouri, Kansas, Texas but the name got shortened to just the Katy Trail.  When Lynn and I rode we didn’t do any long distances in any of the states.  In Missouri we rode near to where the five of us are going to ride in May. 

My cousin Nick lives very near to the place we’re going to stay on May 10 and where we’ll be leaving our vehicles for when we get back.  Today was Nick’s 71st birthday so I texted him birthday greetings and asked if he’d be around on May 10 so perhaps I could see him for a little while.

I think Lynn’s bike riding days are just about over.  Her back has been giving her lots of pain lately.  Her Physical Therapist recommended that she not ride for now.  So on the trip we’re going to take tomorrow we’re not even taking her bike.  On the trails I had previously planned for us to both ride on, she’ll walk and I’ll ride.

We’ve got no plans to put a bike rack on her new Venza so when we pass the Rav4 on to Ann and family, the only vehicle we’ll have left with a hitch is my Toyota truck which Jim currently has.  It has about 150,000 miles on it so we won’t be taking it on any long bike hikes when I get it back from him.  And that doesn’t appear to be happening anytime soon.

When Lynn got back from Staunton around lunchtime she wanted to walk so my tired legs then walked two miles with her.  Actually I did fine with the walk.  Riding a bike and walking use different leg muscles, for sure.

This evening, after dinner, we took some soup from Central out to the Aquirre family.  We usually take them food on Saturday but we won’t be able to this week since we’ll be out of town.

In the news tonight, the UK variant is now the most dominant COVID-19 strain in the US now.  It is more deadly and contagious.  The CDC said they are seeing more young people in hospitals now with hospital cases increasing in more than 16 states (though not in Virginia).  38 states (but not Virginia) now offer vaccinations to anyone 16 and over.   Some good news is that antibodies from the Pfizer and Moderna still remain at a high level at six months from when the vaccine is given. 

Here are today’s COVID-19 figures:

April 7                  Infected                   Died

World             133,664,461           2,897,302

US                     31,632,180              571,081

Virginia                629,155                10,415

Augusta County       5,487                       69

            Vaccinated

            Virginia            4,344,970  (1,604,477 residents are fully vaccinated)         

            Augusta County        41,522  (18,438 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, and Ann!)

I’ll be writing in this blog from Frederick, MD tomorrow evening then from Altoona, PA the next night.  Lynn and I are looking forward to eating lots of ice cream, walking and/or riding bikes, and visiting with both my brother and sister.  My brother had a MRI yesterday that left him worrying about lots of possible things that could be wrong, but the results came back today with nothing to worry about.  He was greatly relieved, of course. So was I!

April 8, 2021

Today was the first day of our three day road trip.  It was a good one with great weather, good ice cream, and good bike riding and walking.  The day worked out just as we had planned.

We left home around 9:00 AM knowing that our first stop was at Moo Thru Creamery in Remington VA which was 1 hour 50 minutes from home and they didn’t open until 11:00 AM.  Indeed, we got there a few minutes early and had to wait for them to open.  It was worth the wait.  Lynn had a sundae made of dark chocolate ice cream with peanut butter sauce on it (no surprise).  I had one scoop of cookies and cream and one scoop of sweet cream ice cream topped with caramel sauce.  Their ice cream was great–almost as good as Smiley’s.  With Smiley’s grade of A+, I’d have to grade Moo Thru as a solid A.  The only issue was that our sundae’s were supposed to come with a brownie in them but their brownies weren’t ready when we were there.  They have us a couple of donuts instead. 

From Moo Thru, our next stop was 90 minute north just over the Potomac River on US 15 into Maryland.  The venue was Point of Rocks, a town along the C & O Canal Towpath.  We’ve ridden bikes on lots of other sections of the Towpath over the past ten years but never on this section.  As I mentioned yesterday, Lynn can’t ride her bike due to her back injury so she walked on the path.  She was delighted to use her Apple earpods for the first time and reported they worked great.  Meanwhile, I rode my bike four miles west, then turned around and rode four miles back to the car. 

The trail was in excellent condition.  Indeed there were plenty of other walkers and bikers on it today.  I believe that the conditions I rode in today accurately mimic the Katy Trail I’ll be riding on in May.  I tried to ride hard, anticipating that the four guys I’ll be riding on the Katy with will want to ride at a pace of at least 8 miles per hour which is what I did today.  Lynn and I both got our hour of exercise and we were both pleased.  I took lots of pictures as I rode.

My legs did hurt some but not nearly as much as yesterday as I struggled with the hills around our house.  I do need to do training runs like this one several more times this month.

Our next stop was only 10 minutes away at the Rocky Point Creamery.  Like Moo Thru, this was advertised as a farm to cone establishment.  It didn’t disappoint.  I did like the Moo Thru ice cream better but my cone of sweet cream was still delicious.  Lynn also had a sweet cream cone.  We both agreed to rate Rocky Point as a B+.  If anything, their ice cream tasted lots like the kind you’d buy at a grocery store.

While we were at Rocky Point Creamery eating our cones, another couple was parked nearby and we struck up conversation with them.  They were from Bethesda MD and were heading to a goat farm just across the Potomac in Virginia where you could buy goat cheese and hold and pet the baby goats.  We decided that we had plenty of time to spare so we headed for George’s Mill Farm in Loudoun County. 

Though we didn’t buy any goat cheese there, Lynn did pet the goats and I took pictures.  It was a nice diversion.

From George’s Mill we headed to the Hilton Garden Inn in Frederick.  We got there around 3:55.  As we were checking in there was a sign which said “Sorry but the water will be off from 4:00 – 8:00 to make repairs.”  Both of us needed to use the restroom so we hustled to our room just in the nick of time. 

Then we headed out to explore Frederick a little.  On the way we went to a Ross store because Lynn had some shoes to exchange.  We had previously agreed to eat dinner at the Black Hog BBQ in downtown Frederick.  It was a good choice.  I had a 1/2 slab of ribs and Lynn got Texas brisket.  We exchanged our meats with each other along with the sides.  Both of us ended up with way too much to eat.

Frederick is a neat town.  It is an old town but the parts we were in were not run down at all.  In the suburbs there are sidewalks everywhere to walk on.  We saw several nice parks and drove to one where we hope to ride/walk tomorrow morning if the weather permits.  There were hundreds of people in the park playing baseball, t-ball, soccer, tennis, etc. 

When we got back to the hotel, we decided to walk the 0.6 mile distance to the nearest McDonalds.  Lynn always likes McDonald’s sweet tea when we travel so we got tea tonight for her breakfast tomorrow morning.  It was a nice walk.  We took advantage of the nice sidewalks in this community.

A full day it was–and a great one.  The worrisome thing about tomorrow is that there is a 40% chance of rain.  We’ll just play it by ear.  The first ice cream stop tomorrow doesn’t open until 11:00 so if we can’t ride in the morning we’ll have to find something else to do.

On our way this morning Kay called with some great news: she had just gotten her first Pfizer vaccine shot.  Now all of the adults in my immediate family have received some or all of their vaccines.  In three weeks everyone will be fully vaccinated.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

April 8                  Infected                   Died

World             134,498,401           2,914,168

US                     31,714,311              573,819

Virginia                631,083                10,436

Augusta County       5,553                       69

            Vaccinated

            Virginia            4,414,376  (1,639,623 residents are fully vaccinated)         

            Augusta County        42,325  (18,849 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, and Ann!)

The number of cases in Augusta County shot up by 66.  That’s a huge number compared to the previous several days.  I’m not sure what caused that.  There are still 156 Augusta County residents hospitalized with COVID-19. 

April 9, 2021

We awoke to drizzle so we initially thought our plans of riding bikes and walking on Frederick County’s Bellanger Creek trail were going to have to be ditched.  While Lynn took her shower, I drove to the bakery we had picked out, Stone Hearth Bakery in downtown Frederick, and picked up a cinnamon roll for her and an apple strudel for me.  Both were good choices.  By the time we had finished our breakfast and verified that checkout time wasn’t until noon, the rain had stopped though the clouds still looked onimous.  But weather.com said it wasn’t going to rain anymore so we trusted the forecast.

It was a good call.  The trail was only a few blocks from our hotel.  The website advertised the trail as a paved, level, 10 foot wide multiuse trail for 4.2 miles.  It turned out to be a great trail, just as advertised.  It was a little cool, in the 50’s, and there were a couple of places where the rainwater had actually covered the trail but getting around these big puddles was easy.  The trail was very smooth and easy to ride on.  I rode right at six miles.

Near the end of my ride Jim called and said he would be coming to our house midday on tomorrow, Saturday. 

Our initial travel plans were to go to two creameries today and another one tomorrow on the way home.  The third one wasn’t really on the way home; in fact, it was near to the other two.   So, when we found out that Jim was coming, we changed our itinerary to include three creamery stops today.

The first one was called Smith Mountain Creamery in Middletown, MD, about 30 minutes away from our hotel.  The people here were very nice and their ice cream was great.  Lynn had a flavor called Monocacy Mud, named after a nearby river.   It was made of chocolate, caramel, and pecans.  I had Sea Salt Caramel.  We both agreed their ice cream was an A.

By the time we had eaten our second cones of the day, we agreed that it would be hard to actually rate all five of the creameries in order.  Plus, our order would have been different.  Suffice it to say that each had great ice cream and some had other perks such as flavored ice cream cones.  At our next stop, Misty Meadow Farm Creamery in Smithsburg MD, for example, I had mine in a chocolate waffle cone.

At Misty Meadow Creamery, Lynn had a chocolate peanut butter milkshake.  I had caramel, sweet and salty in the chocolate cone.   Misty Meadow Farm Creamery was about 30 minutes away from Smith Mountain Creamery.

All of the creameries are off the beaten path.  It makes sense since all are at farms with the cows providing the cream right there.  None were that hard to find, especially with Google’s help.  Our third creamery of the day and fifth of the trip was Windy Knoll Farm Market and Creamery near Chambersburg PA.  It was less than a half an hour from Misty Meadow. 

This stop was a little different because the market had other things to offer such as candies, breads, and other grocery items.  It was run by Mennonite girls who did not wear face masks.  They had some interesting ice cream flavors.  Lynn got a cone of “Triple Chocolate Earthquake” in a pretzel cone.  I started to get “Salty Caramel Crunch” but when we asked what made it crunchy they said it was toffee which Lynn said might have nuts in it.  So I settled for cookies and cream in a sugar cone. 

Once again, the ice cream was delicious.  Every stop on this trip had excellent ice cream and provided us with reason to come back anytime we’re in the neighborhood of any of the five creameries.

The drive from Misty Meadow to Altoona was about a two hour drive.  Though it didn’t rain on us, several of the mountains we crossed were foggy.  Lynn did a fine job of driving and we were in our hotel by 3:30 in the afternoon.  We changed clothes then headed over to my sister’s house where Butch was already waiting for us.

The four of us had a good visit at her house.  Butch had brought some of Ann’s jewelry he wanted Mary K. and Lynn to take.  Mary K. took some and Lynn got the rest to bring to her sister Kay who is doing some kind of craft with this type of jewelry.

Mary Katherine told us she was pretty sure she would be moving to a house near her daughter Kit’s house.  She had told us about this house before.  It is all on one level.  Though I don’t believe she’s signed the paperwork yet, I did get the impression that the seller and she had come to terms.  The four of us plan to visit it in the morning after breakfast.

After visiting at her house for an hour or so, we loaded up in Butch’s Tesla and drove to Marzoni’s Restaurant where we met Colin, Kit, Leo, and Nora Dangler plus Joseph, Christine, and Paxton DeLeo.  The rest of Joseph’s family was away at college.  The eleven of us had a marvelous dinner which featured lots of good conversations and laughs.  For the most part, the four of us just sat back and listened to the younger ones talk.  It was lots of fun.

Of course, I got pictures of everything we did today.  I did leave my camera in Butch’s Tesla but I’ll get it tomorrow.

Lynn and I got back to our hotel around 9:30, making stops on the way there for gasoline and for her McDonald’s sweet tea for tomorrow morning.  It was a very, very good day again.  I am so thankful that I have the opportunity, money, and health to have busy and fun days like today.

All eight adults in our dinner party were vaccinated.  That made things almost normal.  Thank goodness!  Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

April 9                  Infected                   Died

World             135,297,064           2,928,575

US                     31,802,772              574,840

Virginia                632,625                10,451

Augusta County       5,561                       69

            Vaccinated

            Virginia            4,514,282  (1,683,673 residents are fully vaccinated)         

            Augusta County        43,129  (19,160 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, and Ann!)

April 10, 2021

Our road trip ended today as we came home from Altoona.  After we awoke and loaded up all of our belongings wet met Butch at a bakery, D’lites, in Altoona.  There we had a great breakfast with each of us eating a huge and delicious cinnamon bun.  Butch and I each had coffee and we bought a cinnamon bun for Mary K.  Plus, the store gave each of us a complimentary small cupcake (which all of also donated to MK).  The bill for all of this was under $18.  This was a nice find for the next time we come back to Altoona.

Afterwards we drove to Mary K.’s house and had another good visit with her.  Then, all four of us drove (in two cars) to the house Mary K. plans to buy then on to Kit and Colin’s house.  None of the three of us, Lynn, Butch, or I, had ever been to it.  They have a nice home.  Kit wasn’t there when we got there–she had an interview at her office to hire a new receptionist for her dental practice.  She did return before we left, though.  In the meantime, we had a nice visit with Leo, Nora, and Colin. 

By 11:30 Lynn and I were on the road home.  The drive home was a little over 3 1/2 hours.  As with the rest of our trip, Lynn drove.  Butch had returned my camera when we met and I had a chance to copy my newest pictures from it to Lynn’s laptop while she drove.

The weather was very nice by the time we got to Virginia, considerably warmer than Pennsylvania.  We had talked to Jim a couple of times since he came home from Roanoke in the morning to work on the Gutshall’s lawnmower.  He spent the whole afternoon working on it.

When we got home we learned that Josh had spent the night at the hospital last night.  Apparently he had lost feeling in one side of his body yesterday and the doctors at the hospital wanted to make sure he hadn’t had a mini-stroke.  They did a bunch of tests on him and think now that he had a tiny clot that may have caused it.  He came home this afternoon, thankfully.

We got hamburgers tonight from the food truck at Valley Pike for us and Jim.  He had sharpened the blades on my mower in addition to doing all the work on the Gutshall’s.  After we ate the burgers we took him to Smiley’s for dessert.  Imagine that!

Our final decisions about ice cream were 1) all of the creameries had great ice cream  2) it was great to find five new places to get treats at the next time we are in any of their neighborhoods  3) the variety of flavors varied greatly at the creameries.  For example, it was hard for Lynn to find ice cream at any of them (except Smiley’s) that had chocolate and peanut butter  4) some creameries had much better variety in choice of cones  5) Smiley’s is still #1!

When we got home, I got lots of good picture work done with my pictures from our trip.  I ended up with 150 photos.  Here at home I made backups of each and selected a subset of them for my “Favorites” folder which is displayed as a screen saver on my computer.

We learned today that our friend Gilberto, who is finally making a decent recovery from COVID-19, learned yesterday that his mother had succumbed to it in Mexico.  So sad!

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

April 10                Infected                   Died

World             135,945,439           2,938,750

US                     31,868,478              575,568

Virginia                634,325                10,458

Augusta County       5,571                       69

            Vaccinated

            Virginia            4,615,336  (1,736,603 residents are fully vaccinated)         

            Augusta County        43,909  (19,539 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, and Ann!)

There are now 169 hospitalizations in Augusta County from COVID-19.  Where are they putting them?  A better question is when will this number keep climbing?

The weather forecast for the next week is for highs in the 60’s each day and no rain.  Tomorrow is supposed to be the warmest day with highs reaching the mid-70’s.

April 11, 2021

Today seemed like a typical Sunday in years gone by:  I played the piano for Sunday School, we went to church, had Ann’s family over for dinner, and took a walk in the afternoon.  Of course, all of these events now are tempered by COVID-19.  The piano playing I did was via Zoom.  We did attend church service for the second time this year, though only about 30 others joined us there, nearly all of whom were vaccinated, I’m fairly sure.  We did take our usual two mile walk today in the neighborhood.  For the family dinner, we ate on the back porch then enjoyed watching the kids play in the back yard.

Butch had given to Lynn a huge stash of Ann’s old costume jewelry.  This afternoon, Kay and Donna came over and took some of it and tonight Betsy and Lynn did some work with some of the remaining itemsand Betsy took a few items home with her. 

Augusta County starts back to school four days per week on April 15.  Students don’t attend until then.  However, Henry and Gus have soccer tryouts everyday this week in the late morning and early afternoons.

Lynn has Sirius radio in her car and usually listens to channel 70 which plays old love songs from the 70’s and 80’s.  When we were on our trip this past weekend I heard a song on there I hadn’t heard for decades, “If a Picture Paints a Thousand Words” by Bread.   It brought back memories that I used to play the song many, many years ago.  The song was released in 1971 which makes it 50 years old.  I probably played it in the early and mid 70’s.  When I played a lot back then I never had sheet music, I just played the songs over and over until I knew them.  I guess you’d say that they became part of my “muscle memory.”  What really shocked me today is that in a matter of 20 minutes I could play the entire song again.  I know I haven’t played it in 40 years yet it was still lodged somewhere in my memory.

I think it is so strange that I can resurrect melodies and chords on a piano that have been buried for decades yet sometimes can’t remember what is on tomorrow’s schedule or the name of a person I’ve known for years. 

Lynn’s back is not making much progress, in my opinion.  Lynn herself says that it is much better now but I’m not sure I’d say that.  Tonight, for example, by the time dinner was over her back was exhausted.  She did have to do a lot of standing in order to prepare dinner this afternoon.  By this evening she was in pain.  I ran the electric massage machine on her back for a few minutes before she went to bed which she says helps.  She is just having to live with lots of pain and that’s not what she’s been used to all her life.  I wish it were better.  The physical therapists tell her she’s doing better so maybe this is true but I see the other side of the coin.

This afternoon after Lynn and I had walked I decided to take my bike on the same two mile hike.  Walking you don’t notice the hills but riding my bike I certainly did.  Plus, my bike has some issues I need to get fixed before our big bike hike such as it won’t stay in a lower gear unless I hold the gear lever in place.  Otherwise it defaults to the highest gear (most difficult to pedal).  As if climbing hills wasn’t already tough for me!

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

April 11                Infected                   Died

World             136,619,412           2,948,908

US                     31,918,591              575,829

Virginia                635,552                10,472

Augusta County       5,581                       69

            Vaccinated

            Virginia            4,718,671  (1,792,546 residents are fully vaccinated)         

            Augusta County        44,585  (20,042 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, and Ann!)

April 12, 2021

Today was a typical but busy Monday, especially in the morning.  It began for me doing my weekly treasurer’s work at Central.  I hadn’t been there in a week so there were lots and lots of bills to be paid plus one credit card to be reconciled.  Plus I had today’s deposit to make.  All went well.

I hustled home and headed to the dump since I wasn’t here on Saturday.  As always, I got our trash plus the Gutshall’s.  That chore also went without a hitch.

Next I decided that it was past time to cut the grass.  I had been charging the battery for over 24 hours so it started up easily.  I didn’t have any spare time because I started at 11:30 and had to be at Central at 1:00 to unload a Blue Ridge Area Food Bank truck.  So I only had an hour to cut but still got 98% of what needed to be cut then.  I got the rest cut when I returned from unloading the Food Pantry truck. 

The weather today was nice but not as warm as yesterday.  Lynn spent time in the pergola with two sets of her friends.  First, the two Cheryls (Kent and Wright) came out this morning and visited with her.  In the afternoon, she and Ginny Bauman walked first then chatted in the pergola.

Lynn wasn’t finished walking, though.  After dinner tonight she and I walked our standard two mile hike.  She got a new FitBit today and wanted to make sure it worked as it should; it did.

There were more cases today of shootings and killings.  It is so disturbing to me that anymore anytime a person disagrees with someone else, police arresting young black men, high school students feeling depressed, or racism taking control of a person’s emotions, the answer seems to be to grab a gun and start shooting people.  Today’s news had a story of a police killing a young black man when he put up a little resistance to the arrest.  Apparently the policeman meant to grab her taser but instead used her revolver.  And, there was a shooting at a Knoxville high school with one person dead.  It is just too easy to access guns, especially those like the AR-15 which can fire multiple bullets in a matter of seconds.  I saw a Facebook post to the far right crowd asking them why they felt safe enough to not wear a mask in public but fearful enough to always pack when they leave home.  Makes no sense.

We found out today that the local health department is now vaccinating anyone 16 and over who wants it.  We think Ann is going to wait until next week to get Henry taken care of so he can go through soccer tryouts and his first day back at regular school (Thursday for Augusta County students) without an interruption.  The sooner the better as far as I’m concerned.

On the news tonight was a feature about a new rise in COVID-19 cases in America, especially in Michigan.  The US is back to 70,000 new cases per day.  In Detroit, 40% of the new cases were in people ages 20 through 40.  The UK variant is now the dominant strain.  It is more contagious but not necessarily more fatal to those who get it. 

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

April 12                Infected                   Died

World             137,214,246           2,957,205

US                     31,977,893              576,258

Virginia                636,862                10,486

Augusta County       5,580                       69

            Vaccinated

            Virginia            4,768,777  (1,817,033 residents are fully vaccinated)         

            Augusta County        44,631  (20,073 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, and Ann!)

Augusta County now has 160 hospitalizations due to COVID-19. 

I found out that the Staunton bike shop, Black Dog Bikes, wasn’t open on Mondays so I couldn’t take my bike in to be worked on.  I plan to take it in tomorrow.  I really need to ride more to get in shape. 

April 13, 2021

Today was exercise day for me.  The weather was perfect for being outside with temperatures in the mid to upper 60’s.  I started with tennis at 10:00 with Rob Cale, Marc Kinder, and Lewis Moore.  We played for a little over a hour and a half, 3 sets, and we switched partners after each set.  I played OK and ended up the day 2 – 1 in sets.  My arm hurt a lot at first though it did get a little better.  I’m hurting again tonight, though.

I had taken my old truck to the Mary Baldwin tennis courts because I put my bike in the back.  Black Dog Bikes didn’t open until 10:00 so I had to wait until after our tennis was done to take my bike there.  I dropped it off.  The bad news is that I was told it would likely take a week or more for it to be repaired.  Oh well, it needs the work.

When I got back home, Lynn wanted to walk so we did our two mile hike.  I’m puzzled as to why yesterday nearly every step ached but today, after playing tennis for an hour and a half, my legs felt good the entire walk. 

In fact, I felt fine when I returned so I later took Betsy’s bike (Lynn’s old one) out for a spin in the neighborhood.  I only rode for about two miles but it felt good.

I also was able to help Ann and Josh by picking up Henry and Gus from their soccer tryouts today at Clymore Elementary School and take them home.  I’m going to do the same again tomorrow.  Tomorrow will be their last day before returning to school four days a week.

Lynn called my cousin Kay Grace this evening because Kay is scheduled to have some major back surgery tomorrow in Roanoke.  She’s supposed to have a plate and four screws inserted.  That sounds painful.  Actually Kay has been in the hospital since Sunday getting prepped for this surgery which is supposed to last several hours. 

The CDC and FDA called for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to be halted temporarily.  Almost seven million people have had the vaccine now but apparently six women developed an issue with blood clots.  One of them died from the clots.  None of our family has gotten the Johnson and Johnson one and the clots have not happened with anyone with the Pfizer vaccine.  This pause may last for days or weeks even though the chance of this happening appears to be less than one in a million.  On the news tonight the point was made that one person has died from this vaccine but 1,000 people die every day from COVID-19.

Lynn and I went to Central UMC tonight to pick up some food for the Aguirre family.  We then drove to their house and gave it to Elizabeth.  Their house is very sad right now because Gilberto’s mother passed away in Mexico due to COVID-19.  He’s not able to go there now.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

April 13                Infected                   Died

World             137,996,858           2,971,030

US                     32,068,437              577,166

Virginia                638,910                10,506

Augusta County       5,597                       69

            Vaccinated

            Virginia            4,826,281  (1,853,400 residents are fully vaccinated)         

            Augusta County        44,849  (20,127 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, and Ann!)

April 14, 2021

Today was more boring than the past few, probably due to the weather.  It was overcast and drizzly most of the day with temperatures in the 50’s and low 60’s.  So it was not conducive to doing anything much outside.  Henry and Gus had soccer tryouts despite the weather but fortunately during that time period it didn’t rain.

Lynn had a dentist appointment this morning so I got her to drop me at Central on her way.  I was able to pay some bills and update the Schwab investment spreadsheet for the first quarter.  That was really all I had to do for my weekly bookkeeping work and I shouldn’t have to do more until next Monday morning.

This afternoon Lynn had Physical Therapy.  Our weather app, Dark Sky, said it wouldn’t rain for the upcoming hour so I decided to get a bike ride in.  My ride was 6.6 miles long and VERY strenuous.  I rode up to Mount Pisgah UMC, then on Cider Mill Road to the four-way stop, then went to the Gutshall’s house at 618 Salem Church Road.  Then I came back home on Salem Church, Morningside Drive, and Leaport Road.  This route had multiple huge hills on it including the one from the Gutshall’s house up to Salem Lutheran Church and the real killer, the ride up Morningside Drive near the windmill.  I pedaled the entire route though I stopped several times on the big hills to catch my breath.  When I got home I was exhausted.  Riding 8 miles on the C & O Canal Towpath was nothing compared to these 6.6 miles.  Google Maps says there’s a 400 foot difference between the highest point and lowest point on this hike.  Plus, I had to use Betsy’s bike again because mine is in the shop.  It is the same brand and has the same seat as mine though the handlebars are higher.

Tonight the pause on using the Johnson and Johnson vaccine continues.  The CDC said they recommend holding off so they can examine the data.  Still, there have been less than one case of blot clots for every million people vaccinated.  All were women aged 18 to 48 who got sick within two weeks of being vaccinated.  This has slowed the vaccination rate, of course, in the US though there are apparently still plenty of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines available.

My cousin Kay came through her surgery OK today.  Her son Michael called Lynn and told her she was in more pain than he’d ever seen her but was still already asking to go home.  I hope her pain quickly diminishes. 

Lynn and I wanted to walk after dinner but it was raining.  So we went to Harrisonburg so she could return some shoes to Ross.  On the way back we stopped at Smiley’s.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

April 14                Infected                   Died

World             138,801,364           2,984,272

US                     32,145,473              577,979

Virginia                640,211                10,510

Augusta County       5,606                       69

            Vaccinated

            Virginia            4,904,288  (1,896,053 residents are fully vaccinated)         

            Augusta County        45,235  (20,200 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, and Ann!)

April 15, 2021

Today is the traditional tax day (though the deadline was moved to May this year).  I submitted my taxes back on March 1 and received my Virginia refund but am still waiting on my federal refund.  I’ve checked on its progress on the IRS.gov site but it simply says that this refund is being processed.

The weather today was seasonable which means it wasn’t as warm as it has been.  It was mostly sunny but highs were just in the 50’s.  It made for good walking weather, though.  Lynn walked with her friend Ginny Bauman this morning and earlier I took a good 2.5 mile hike around the city of Staunton while Lynn visited with Opal Homan and her aunt Jo Lee Hanger at The Legacy. 

I have to compliment my wife again.  This morning she got an e-mail from the Waynesboro High School ELL teacher that said Pfizer vaccines were available at Augusta Health today for anyone 16 and over.  Juan Pablo, the boy she has been working with in Waynesboro as part of the Migrant Education Program, is 16.  Juan Pablo hasn’t done well with virtual schooling and is failing all of his subjects now.  But Lynn hasn’t given up on him so when she got the e-mail she immediately called his dad and Juan Pablo.  The dad answered; Juan Pablo didn’t.  The father asked Lynn to assist them in getting both of them registered to be vaccinated this afternoon so she did.  And she finally got hold of Juan Pablo on the phone and told him she’d be bringing the registration papers to him this morning.  I went along with her to Waynesboro as she delivered the vaccine registration to Juan Pablo.  His father was at work so she had made the appointment for 3:20 PM.  I hope they both follow through.  I just know that if it hadn’t been for the teacher’s e-mail and Lynn’s insistence these two would not have a chance of being vaccinated.  Lynn called Juan Pablo this evening and he confirmed that both had gotten their first vaccine as she arranged.

Lynn also told Juan Pablo about summer school this year at Waynesboro High.  He’ll need to go to get back on track in school.

After our trip to Waynesboro, we went to the Nationwide Insurance office in Staunton.  The agent there had called me last week when we added the Venza saying she could show us some ways to save money on our bill so we met with her this morning.  Indeed, there were some things we were paying for that we really didn’t need such as rental cars if ours is in the shop.  With four vehicles we do not need a replacement rental car!

From there, Lynn went to The Legacy and I went walking.  I ended up at her vehicle shortly before she finished with her visits with Opal and Jo Lee.  We came on home and, after lunch, she and Ginny took their hike.

She had to hustle because she had an appointment to interpret for a disciplinary hearing at Wilbur S. Pcnce Middle School at 2:00.  She was anxious about this because she needed to be back home by 3:18 when the bus comes with Freddie and Betsy.  All four Gutshall kids had school today for the first time this year but Henry and Gus had soccer practice after school.  Her meeting at Pence was over in plenty of time so she made it home before the bus got here.

I had an unusual task to do during this time period.  Jim had texted us last evening that his Cross Country team had a meet in Charlottesville for which they had scheduled a chartered bus.  He had a lawnmower of Josh’s that he had repaired and wanted to get back to them.  So he schemed to load the lawnmower on the chartered bus, have the bus stop at Target in Waynesboro after the meet this afternoon, and I met him there in my truck to pickup the lawnmower.  It was a crazy scheme but it worked!

We got good news that Gus and Henry both made the Fort Defiance High School soccer teams.  Gus made the JV team and Henry made the varsity.  Both start play on May 11 and have an abbreviated, ten game season with home and away games against the other teams in the Shenandoah District:  Staunton, Riverheads, Stuarts Draft, Buffalo Gap, and Wilson Memorial.

To celebrate both of them making the soccer teams, Lynn and I went to Krispy Kreme donuts in Harrisonburg and got them donuts for breakfast tomorrow.  Of course, we also got our free ones since we’ve got our vaccinations.

When we dropped them off Ann told us Henry is scheduled to receive his first Pfizer vaccine this coming Sunday. 

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

April 15                Infected                   Died

World             139,659,156           2,998,743

US                     32,222,130              578,976

Virginia                641,626                10,529

Augusta County       5,605                       69

            Vaccinated

            Virginia            4,974,166  (1,933,945 residents are fully vaccinated)         

            Augusta County        45,944  (20,605 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, and Ann!)