“Hooray! Great news!” The EMT came back with test results. “Your daughter has strep throat!” That a diagnosis of strep would be cause for celebration speaks to the tenor of the times.

Grateful that we didn’t have that other bug that is presently tormenting the world, we got our prescription filled and retreated to a week of hot baths, hot soup and watching weather through the front window that the Little One termed “disgusting.” Heavy clouds set up camp and snow blew sideways. With dry season to come and hopes for a boating season, it was, in fact, quite beautiful.

The poor girl, raging with fever, was indulged with non-Sesame Street movies. Two favorites emerged: “Despicable Me” and “Toy Story 2.” These were summarily memorized and, when not being viewed, were performed for each other around the living room.

Little Bo Peep, flirtatiously: “You’re cute when you care.”

Sheriff Woody, excited but embarrassed: “Not in front of Buzz!”

Bo Peep, cocksure of conquest: “Let him look.” 

The boss was across the country caring for an ailing brother, not good timing, but there has never been a medical emergency with good timing. Taking advantage of her absence, we further indulged in mac and cheese with bacon, cookies and milk, cocoa with marshmallows, knowing that the boss would be showing back up, in a fervor of healthy diet, bearing oversize containers of rice milk, rice cakes, seaweed wafers and carob spirulina chews.

The illness passed and we ventured out on snowshoes to favorite haunts in the woods, joining our tracks with those of our forest friends. Breakthroughs on the cross-country skis, and moments that provide courage for the future, were realized at the Priest and Trout Lake tracks, persistence rewarded. One memorable afternoon, the Little One charged up the hill east of the corral loop on Lizard Head, hell-bent on a speed descent, only to fireball-crash 10 feet into her run. She punched the snow, admonished it for being silly, jumped up and herringboned, possessed, back up to the start.

Another tuck, another crash. Another oath, another restart. Repeat five times. But lo, on the sixth attempt, a stumble, a recovery, and on down the hill past the craters of past failure, with arms outstretched, fully embracing the elements, and the victory cry of a warrior-princess, flew our charge, the theme from “Chariots of Fire” drifting over the ridge of Black Face, snow crystals sparkling in the yellow fans of late afternoon sun. Out onto the flats, she grew larger. Courage for the future.    

Hats off to Eric and the Nordic Association crew for maintaining these most excellent venues, invaluable links to sanity in troubled times.

The news of the day, hard to avoid, was laughable in its tragedy.

Evangelists, insisting on the healing abilities of a nebulous and highly imaginative “higher power,” held large prayer meetings, in the process getting a lot of people sick. In Nairobi, cognac was distributed to fight the disease. This might help you feel better for a little while, on the way to your own funeral.

Our guy, consistent in prioritizing self-interest over human life, off-handedly advocated the intake of household bleach, sounding like nothing so much as a misinformed barstool expert. I’ll have two beers, please, and how about a couple shots of Clorox. Thanks, Mac. 

A thousand people died each day here and he talked about … himself. And money. With such inept leadership, it is little wonder that ungrounded individuals seized license to run amok. Seen any news clips from Michigan lockdown protests? What’s missing from all too many of them: adults. As the president shrank, Governor Gretchen Whitmer — the adult in the room — rose.

Comedic relief came in the form of kindergarten Zoom classes, which were sort of like a parody of an Apollo 13 transmission: Bodies float horizontally in and out of the picture, the picture is of compromised quality, there is a time lapse, a little awkward pause between each exchange, everything is just a little herky jerky, and at some point, yes, Houston, there will be a problem.

Hats off to all the teachers dealing with the Zoom stuff. More courage. Or at least frustration.

The current isolation provides a not altogether reassuring vision of the future, where people are not allowed to actually physically touch each other anymore without official permission, but are permitted to communicate through machines, everything sterile, everything under control, everything safely monitored. 

Heads in the iClouds, we stumble forward, hairless, androgynous, faces covered, disembodied, a logical progression, eye contact and being actively present having already been surrendered to mobile phones. Twits twitter. I wanna hold your handheld. You complete me, you delete me. With any luck, someday we can meet again, Facetime to Facetime, with wide-angle fat faces. 

My highest hope is that the new Federal Procreation Authority selects a genetically appropriate mate for each of our children. 

Then, yesterday, a major victory, the extraction of a large splinter collected while scrambling up the side of Sewemup Mesa. Rice cakes all around! The offending chunk of wood, most likely from one of the ubiquitous sagebrush, had festered, undetected, stubborn, for 10 days. It was unseated, in the end, by an hour of soaking in hot water and Epsom salts, careful probing with a sterilized sewing needle and much bravery on the part of the Little One. Would that other irritants be so easily removed.

Sean can be reached at: seanmcnamara58@gmail.com.