by Joan Birsh
In last week’s edition of the Ocean Reef Press I used the feature Gotta Question to ask Ocean Reef Members, isolated by Coronavirus, to tell me what they are doing to combat Cabin Fever.
Many of the answers I received were prefaced with the mantra “I can’t stop living.” And, indeed they have not.
Our Ocean Reef Members are proving to be an inventive and resilient group who are finding amusing diversions and satisfying projects in their homes; ways to stay in touch with friends and family (albeit 6 feet apart); and, best of all, a joyful rediscovery of the beauty of their surroundings. For all of us, this unsettling time serves as a reminder of how lucky we are to be living at Ocean Reef.
GOLF CART SOCIETY
Your cart is your new Club House.
Want to have lunch with your two besties? Here is the Coronavirus plan. You take separate carts, grab a sandwich at the Farmers’ Market or Wynn’s and find a shady spot. Position
your carts in a circle the requisite distance apart (6 feet) and pretend you are at Palm Court.
A similar plan works for cocktail hour. Margie Smith told me that a small group of couples, who, prior to the Coronavirus, played bridge on Friday nights at the Card Sound Golf Club, had recently congregated in the cart parking area for an impromptu farewell party for Ron and Barbara Besse. (The Besse’s were heading home to Toronto before all the flights were cancelled.)
Card games are now a no no, so there was no bridge but there was lots of cart to cart conversation to compensate. It was BYOB and no sharing (except with your spouse).
I was told that another source of Member interaction often occurs when you are in the cart picking up dinner at one of the restaurants that now provides take-out. “Somebody I know is always there at the same time,” said a gentleman who described himself as the fetcher. “We end up chatting and the food gets cold. But that is what microwaves are made for.”
Golf carts are frequently used for what they were designed for – to play golf. The courses are still open but you must use your own cart and ride alone.
Serious golfers like Christine Patton play almost every day. She believes the separate carts make the game go faster. And she loves the new no-touch cup rule that says if you are within 3 feet of the flag, you can count your next putt as in the hole. “It is giving me the encouraging impression that my game is getting better.”
Christine, as well as many other golfers, good or bad (like me), commented on how nice it is to spend hours outdoors on our truly beautiful courses.
Some OR residents emailed me that for them this Coronavirus “time-out” was presenting an opportunity to deal with shelves, closets, cartons – all stuffed with long-forgotten stashes of who knows what.
Suzy Shields wrote that she was overwhelmed by the mounds of the accumulated clutter of books, golf clothes, shirts, blouses, shoes – “the content of about 20 boxes never unpacked after the move 5 years ago from our OR house to a condo.”
Suzy said this process of getting organized made her feel like someone caught in a blizzard in the Old West and almost completely burrowed under mounds of snow with only a tiny open space. “You can just peek upward and catch a glimpse of the sun hitting the icicles hanging from the porch roof.”
It came as a surprise to me (a non-cook) how many Members found cooking both relaxing and rewarding. (Does it count that I find eating relaxing and rewarding?)
Cathy Jansen emailed the following: “So far I have made pickles that I share with friends. I put the pickles in bags that I hang on their door knobs. I’m also making my Christmas cookies and putting them in the freezer. Will probably make some appetizers to freeze.”
I bet when this Corona thing is over, Cathy will be ready to give a party. I hope I’m invited. I love pickles.
Several Members mentioned a fondness for bread making. One of them even confessed that in her favorite nut bread recipe she sometimes substituted over-ripe bananas for a can of pumpkin puree and orange juice instead of milk. Now that sounds to me like a very creative chef.
EXPLORE THE REEF
For my family one of the highlights of every visit is “seeing The Reef” on their bicycles. Suzanne Gleason and her 14-year-old daughter Gabby (shown here) also believe bikes are the way to go.
Martha and Ed Kavanaugh, who like the rest of us, do not at this moment have a busy social schedule, decided one evening to take a cart tour of the Hammock area of The Reef. To these longtime Channel Cay residents this was like visiting a new town. “So many attractive houses and so many new ones being built. It was all a revelation.”
There is much to be said for just going for a cart ride. Jody and Barney Steele love cruising all over The Reef in the early morning hours. “We enjoy the orchids, the palms, the bougainvillea and the tropical birds.”
FUN AND GAMES
Just a few suggestions: Scavenger Hunt – Create one, email it to friends and have a little competition. (But remember: no touching, just finding and looking.)
1000-piece jigsaw puzzle – I sent one to my son “for the family’s amusement”. He texted me that after 20 minutes it became clear that only he was sufficiently amused. “Requires a lot of patience.”
Gin Rummy – One couple said that they had rediscovered “that we like playing Gin Rummy together.”
(I hope they were inspired by seeing the play The Gin Game, which was presented for one night in February at the Cultural Center.)
Bridge – check out trickstercards.com for an online game. Note: Canasta is also available online. Just ask Google.
Books, Movies, TV Shows (look for more on this in future columns).
GO FOR A WALK
Twelve years ago Mary Zwirn persuaded a group of OR Members to meet her at 8 a.m. in front of the Fitness Center and walk the Hammock Course before it opened for play. She called the group the Happy Hoofers.
For many Ocean Reef Members walking in a group was appealing. “It started the day right. I was with friends and I was getting some exercise,” said one very Happy Hoofer. The Coronavirus shut down the Member Fitness Center but the Happy Hoofers were not going to let it walk all over them. Mary told me the only thing that has changed is the line-up. “Two of us walk together, maintaining the required 6 foot distance between us. The next twosome, also 6 feet apart, follows us at a distance of 6 feet. And so it goes. It’s Social Isolation Together.”
SOCIAL ISOLATION TOGETHER
That’s a pretty good slogan for what is happening at Ocean Reef.
People understand the gravity of the situation and are obeying the rules. But they are staying cheerful, involved, concerned for friends and neighbors and for themselves.
I think it is fair to say that OR Members Haven’t Stopped Living!