Last Wednesday began in my sunny kitchen, chopping broccoli and onions for soup with Joyce.

At 10 a.m. she arrived towing two photo albums, her memoir in progress, and coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate.

Her immediate eye spied the ruffled bowl holding Granny Smith apples. “That’s beautiful.”

“My mother’s.”
She fetched her camera. “May I use a teacup? Do you have a doily and one of your little spoons handy?”

My friend takes honey in her tea, and the pot of black currant stood ready to pour. But Joyce envisioned a still life painting in my heirlooms.

Of all things, she replaced the spoon and cup with my little pot of bacon grease. She exclaimed, “Look at the light and shade on the doily!”

She went for the antique stool that called my name at the Armada Flea Market years ago.

“You’d better ask the kittens’ permission,” I teased. “That’s their property.”

Joyce arranged the doily over the stool built to brave generations. She set Mom’s bowl of apples on top, stood back, and focused.
In the shelter of this bliss, we invested the remains of the afternoon with lunch and reading a fresh passage of her memoir, unaware the world unraveled outside the door.

Next morning at 8:30, I sat before my computer to write my weekly column. Inspired by Joyce’s visit, I poised my fingers to begin a bright narrative of friendship and creativity.
At that moment, my youngest daughter called and turned the day toward an emergency room on the west side near her home. This is what she’d hoped to avoid with Monday’s doctor visit.

“Mom, the nurse never called back with test results to explain my bleeding.”

As my husband drove, the radio reported coronavirus updates to the point of frustration. My sister who lives in Kentucky called. “Iris, I don’t want you and Mel to go to Scotland.”

I know she would’ve held her concern had she known our circumstances, which I felt untimely to reveal.

We found our daughter resting. “I’m still waiting for the doctor and test results.” Exhausted, she smiled and mentioned her sister’s call the previous night. “Kelly asked if I would take care of you if you got sick.”

“You need to take care of yourself,” Mel said.

At last, two doctors arrived with the diagnosis of fibroid tumors and ordered a blood transfusion. While a donor’s B+ blood dripped into her veins, we stopped by Trader Joe’s for some butter to bake pies for our church’s Friday fish fry.

Ranunculus caught my eye amidst the frenzied shoppers. I made my purchases to later discover a canceled fish fry. We returned to the hospital Friday and took our daughter to her home, so glad to see her recovering.

That night, our Sunday worship service bowed to the pandemic.

Dear Reader, on this Sabbath day, we walked the Polly Ann Trail. We lifted our face to the sun–the antiseptic for all without cost.
The light upon doilies and ranunculus.
Contact Iris at