Social distancing has made singing the song to loved ones on their birthday a little bit difficult, at least face-to-face. Time doesn't stop, even though it might seem that way, during a crisis like the one we're currently experiencing. Spring still comes in with its flowers and birthdays still happen. A nationwide stay-at-home order can't even stop these rites of passage.
As Social distancing guidelines mean we're not to gather in large groups, creative minds are working over-time to find innovative ways to bring loved ones together to celebrate milestones. Teleconferencing apps and websites are one way folks are using, but several others are reaching outside the box to show their friends and family some love.
Drive-by honks have replaced the drop-in visits
Julie Bullard of Franklin said her dad, Ron Downs, formerly of Emlenton, was a bit blue about having being confined to the house. His health conditions became a concern when the warning about the Coronavirus started to spread across the state. "He was feeling down and not looking forward to his birthday," she said. "I wanted to do something to lift his spirits."
Bullard reached out to friends and family to parade, in their cars, by the house Thursday, the day of Downs birthday. Friends and family made signs, tied balloons on the cars and waved out their windows to Downs standing on the front porch surprised as can be. The whole neighborhood could tell something was up as each car tooted as it paraded by.
"The response from our friends was just overwhelming," she said. Many who could not attend mailed cards or sent notes on social media. Bullard said her father was just elated that people took the time to remember him.
"I've never seen anything like this in my 84 years," Downs said, "This topped everything."
On the other end of the age spectrum, 9 year-old Heidi Kosker, a third-grader at Cranberry Elementary School has been missing school since the shut down last month. Her mom, Julie Kosker, said that Heidi was looking forward to celebrating her birthday with her friends and teachers this year. Governor Tom Wolf extending the school closure indefinitely put a damper on her wishes.
"As her parents, we knew this was small peanuts in the grand scheme of difficulties stemming from this world crisis." Julie Kosker admitted, but it was heart-breaking to witness her daughter's disappointment.
"It's my last one-digit birthday and now I don't get to celebrate it," Heidi said to her mom.
Mom Kosker took to social media to reach out to her network of family and friends for help. Cards started to arrive, one from as far away as Germany and others from California, Oregon and Colorado. Some names Heidi didn't even recognize being her parent's old friends.
The results turned this birthday into one to remember.
"No one has ever received this much mail!" Heidi told her mom. "This is the best birthday ever."
So far she has received over 50 cards and presents. She wasn't allowed to open them until her birthday last week.
As an added educational component, the Koskers will take all the cards and chart the locations in a home geography lesson.
A celebration that was right on target
Somewhere in the middle of the life cycle, Chip Pfohl's wife, Janene came up with an idea for friends and family to mark his birthday with flying accolades.
She got friends and family to put their birthday wishes on a piece of paper - then fold it into an paper airplane - then drive by the house and, without leaving their car, send the plane into the air towards a target that looked like a landing strip or runway in the Pfohl's front yard.
It was a success. Many notes were tossed, though not all landed where they should have, but they were still gathered in and the messages received.
"The airplanes were my mom’s idea." said daughter Beth Pfohl. She said the theme really has nothing to do with her dad who was celebrating his fifty-fourth circle around the sun.
"Just a fun way to celebrate. And building the “airport” gave my mom and brother a fun project."
Story and photographs by Richard Sayer except where noted!
New idea from an old idea in Cochranton
Schmader said she and Cope came up with the idea for fun and their boss, Pete Snyder said to go for it!
They started with an 80's theme and went all out.
"We had to cut it back after the first week," said Cope who admitted that a full shift really did a number on their feet.
They now just don the skates and outfit for the Saturday night dinner rush which really keeps them rolling along.
After two week's of an 80s theme the women decided to switch it up with a Disney theme. Cope dressed as Minnie Mouse while Schmader did her best to be Mickey.
Schmader said business has been good despite the constraints of social distancing. One customer showed up without pre-ordering by phone and was told there were over twenty orders ahead and the wait would be over an hour. The customer said, "Oh, ok, we'll just wait for it," and they ordered anyway.
“I would like to send out a huge thank you to everyone who has been using our new curbside service,” he wrote. “When this all started on 3/16, I was lost, I had no idea if we could even stay open. Thanks to all of you, not only are we open, we were fully staffed tonight (April 3).”
Primary reasons to vote...Go!
Since the Pennsylvania primary has been moved from April 28 to June 2nd, the owner of this Cranberry Township roadside attraction out on Route 62 will have a little more time to decide who will adorn their sign. I do wonder if their choice last election turned out not to be what they hoped leading to the obliteration of evidence, or is it more of a statement of being unsure? Send me you roadside attractions or signs that catch your attention.
Saturday's feature picture of the day. Moon and plane over Cochranton.
Create your own masterpiece at (stay at) home time.
They recently took the Getty Museum, California, challenge to have some creative fun recreating a work of art. You can learn more about this project by clicking on the link below to see what others have done.
Kristin and Chris Theiss and their son Sayer created this copy of a Toulouse-Lautrec lithograph. Kristin's Facebook post explains it here:
#HappyFriday in the days of Covid-19 & Stay Home/Stay Safe: Inspired by the @gettymuseum challenge, I went down an art museum rabbit hole & found that I was drawn to this Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec lithograph, The Seated Clowness. The colors & mood made me want to dive in & recreate -It's from a portfolio of 12 lithographs in collections like @themuseumofmodernart @metmuseum @harvardartmuseums
Learn more about the project here:
Last one... you can still use the library from home
Area libraries will remain closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Oil Region Library Association newsletter states:
"During our closure periods, overdue fines will not accrue and due dates on library materials have been extended."
They also ask that you don't return books to their book returns because they're not staffing at this time.
"More importantly, we want to keep you safe and minimize any travelling you have to do. Enjoy the extra time with materials you may have checked out!"
They also want to remind everyone of their digital resources still available during the closures. ebooks, audiobooks, movies, TV, over 50 magazines and databases are available.
Check their Facebook pages for updates.