Christmas in Crepuscular Meadows (II)
In early November, the murder of popular reservoir supervisor Peter Peters distracted people from thinking about Christmas as they tried to guess who would have killed him. Maybe this distraction was just as well. Christmas was going to be greatly diminished this year. Big family gatherings were not going to happen this year because of the virus. That went for Thanksgiving as well as Christmas.
At Clematis Station, an upscale place for senior citizens, restrictions could be relaxed a bit, because residents were tested every week, and temperature-testing devices were everywhere. They gave a warning signal if they detected too high a temperature.. There would be Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners as usual, but with no outside guests. Meals were held in three shifts so residents could stay six feet apart from each other.
'What's the point anyway?' Minny Dandridge said to her friends in the dining room. 'I have two sons, and they have wives and children. They will celebrate Christmas together, but will they include me?'
'Of course they will,' said Bernard Philpin. 'Everyone here gets tested, and you have almost no contact with those who don't live at Clematis Station. Your grandchildren stay inside and get lessons via computer. Their parents work from home, or take precautions when they go to the office. Just don't get too close, just in case.'
Some people could not be discouraged from spreading Christmas cheer. Every day, wreaths were hanging on more doors. Wreaths hung in the windows at the Post Office. One brave soul had festooned a long string of colored lights all along his hedge.
Christmas inched closer with every day. Finally Thanksgiving came. The weather was rainy, with temperatures in the high 50s.
And now the unofficial start of the Christmas season was at hand: Black Friday, the biggest Christmas shopping day of the year. But this year it might not bring out many people, as many young townspeople bought things online and had them sent to the recipients' houses. Older people might buy gifts in stores and sent them through the Post Office or UPS and Downs, but no one knew for sure how many people would be doing this.
Keeping one's spirits up was hard enough with the increasing darkness and weak sunlight, but having so many restrictions on what you could do to celebrate Christmas was having a dampening effect on many people, not just Minny Dandrich.