#844: Happy Birthday in the Age of Covid

GETTING MORE TALE #844: Happy Birthday in the Age of Covid


All I wanted for my birthday was one more weekend at the lake.  During the time of Covid, that’s never been a certainty.

My parents are not young anymore (although my mom would probably fool you).  I have a 96 year old grandmother that my mom cares for.  We have to be extra, extra, extra careful about everything.  The Ontario government announced Phase 3 of re-opening last week and so my mom and dad decided that we could try spending some time under one roof together for my birthday.  I got my wish.

Packing my electronics and my Marvel figures, Jen and I headed up to the cottage Thursday night.  Lately, especially this year, I’ve been trying to roadtrip exclusively to music that I would have played there when I was a kid.  Usually that’s Kiss but this weekend I decided to shake it up and play some Europe.  The Final Countdown and Out of this World were both acquired at the cottage the first time when they were new.  Playing them on the way there was really trippy.  This resulted in a future Europe-based story that I look forward to sharing.

The first thing we did was jump in the lake for a swim.  I clocked in nine swims this past weekend.  The footage wasn’t as stunning as last week; the lake was murkier.  Instead of worrying about making videos, I just decided to enjoy it and live in the moment.  (There are plusses to both approaches, but the wavy video from last week can’t be topped.)

We ate steak for almost every meal.  I cooked a slab of blue-rare perfection that became steak & eggs the following morning.  I sat outside and watched Marvel movies all weekend.  The Incredible Hulk, Ant-Man, and Captain America: Civil War.  I cranked the tunes outdoors as well:  Europe again, and classic Kiss.  Dynasty, Unmasked, and Gene’s solo album were all air-guitared live on the deck.

I was still worried about my parents and their comfort.  After seeking advice, I decided to set up sanitising stations at the door and on the deck.  They arrived on Saturday afternoon bearing hot, fresh French fries courtesy of a local stand called the Cheesy Monkey.  Later that afternoon they had a small party with cake.  My sister came over and next door neighbour Paul stopped by.  Everybody was six feet apart and we handled things like snacks and drinks very carefully.  My dad bought me a stick of meat and everybody else got me Marvel figures.  Do they know me or what?  I think our trial run for having everybody together at the cottage worked out pretty well.  This really helps relieve the stress.

Something else interesting happened this weekend.  First, flash your minds back to 2002.  Marillion were pioneering a new kind of live release, a subscription based series of archive recordings called the Front Row Club.  I was a subscriber from beginning to end (2002-2008) and never missed a release.  One of the perks that early subscribers received was an exclusive Front Row Club T-shirt.  I had completely forgotten about it, until my mom handed it back to me this weekend.  Somehow, it had become the property of my late Uncle Don.  I don’t remember giving it to him, and I don’t think he liked Marillion, but my mom found it in his shirts.  Now it’s back in my closet again.  We’ll never know how or why!

We left Sunday afternoon after an exciting rain storm, though not as big as we’ve seen before.  Then we went to go and visit Grandma who only turned 96 a week ago!  The good news is that she looks exactly the same as she did when she was 95.  We had a great visit though she really hopes we can get back to something more normal soon.  Can’t say that I blame her, but it was actually a pretty normal birthday for me.

The cottage is a special place in terms of family history and mental well-being.  It’s a place I’ve always enjoyed showing off and I hope you can get a taste of paradise from the pictures.

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes!  I haven’t finished responding to every one and I may have missed a few.  It sure could have been a heck of a lot worse.



    1. I think our second wave is starting now. Last two days we saw a spike here. It’s two weeks since the Canada Day long weekend and young people are the focal point. Not enough masking and being distant. Well, if we get locked in again, at least I had a birthday.

      And I’ll be here doing the live shows whether there is a second wave or not. Keeping this up until we are out of trouble.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m glad you had a good day. I managed to strain my hamstring playing soccer yesterday. It’s not too bad but I can’t play sport for a little while

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I was lucky that it wasn’t too serious. It was sore for a while but the next day it only ached a little if I did something out of the ordinary. Walking was fine. Went to the physio too, and I’m working on recovery now.


  2. Nice you got to spend time with the family. That had to be a good birthday! I have been listening to Europe as well and wrote a review on a very early Europe album. (coming in August and not “tomorrow”).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy birthday Dude! These are indeed strange times, glad you got to enjoy family at the lake.

    Fun seeing that footage presented like this. It’s my neck of the woods so… seeing it played back to me from someone who lives away from here tells me I take it for granted, at this point.

    My boy celebrated his birthday in April, that was weird – no party with his buddies, first ever that’s happened in his young life. My own birthday is coming up and, at my advanced age, I don’t expect anything to happen. But I imagine my family is up to something (e.g. I have been told I am not allowed to cook for that evening, as I always do the cooking. Hmmm…) Anyway, distancing makes for a harder time to do anything, let alone celebrate family milestones. I imagine my daughter’s birthday in August will be the same.

    Anyway, happy happy Dude. There is a wee something already in the mail for you, but it’ll be very very late probably. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha, well when yours arrives, it will be unboxed live! That will be great fun.

      Happy birthday to the young boy! Not so young anymore….

      As time goes on and I realize that every weekend there is precious, I really try not to take it for granted. I have in the past, many times. As if the year Jen’s mom died didn’t teach me how precious time is, this year is really driving it home. We have had four weekends there so far this summer and we really had to savour them because we never knew if something would change. That’s another reason why I make these videos. Some people think it’s weird that I make videos of cooking steaks. But to me it helps when we can’t be there. Just trying to be proactive about my own happiness. And it does help.


      1. Ha oh dear, well I don’t want to build it up too much, what if you think ‘why the hell did he send THIS?’ and you’re on-screen live… Ah well, I guess we’ll see. \m/ :) \m/

        Yeah my boy’s 11 now, a real young man, not a boy anymore. Such an awesome dude, too, my goodness.

        Capturing your experiences is key. Not just because of now, with all this sh*t going on, but because later, you’ll see how your memory has missed so much. I think this with the kids all the time. I have pictures of them as babies and I don’t even remember their faces being quite that shape! Crazy.

        My main thought is that the trick is balancing it. I mean, you need to still live the experience, and a camera detracts – think of people recording concerts on their phone. And having a camera in their face all the time usually turns people off, eventually. So, the trick is getting stuff captured, but also just being in the moment. It’s a balance, and even after all these years, I am still trying to find it.


Rock a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s