With all the restrictions of the pandemic, I was still determined to have some kind of a celebration for Labor Day.
I was encouraged by Nurse Judy, my party girl alter ego. On the other hand, Beebe the cat, despises every type of social gathering, preferring instead to curl up in a sunny spot on the porch and snooze. As always, I am left in the middle trying to please both of them. I decide that for once, I will choose our celebration according to my desires.
This idea is so new to me, I don’t even know what it is I would like. I remember I used to like getting fresh flowers on holidays. I know no one will be sending me any, so I buy six beautiful red roses for $5. Nurse Judy looks at them and sneezes. Beebe tastes them and decides they are not good to eat, but I love them.
What else would I like? I look at myself. I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but I’ve gotten a little pudgy during home sheltering. I decide to go on a diet starting right away and that our holiday feast will be low calorie.
I rush to the supermarket and come home with one tiny bag holding a package of whole wheat hot dog rolls, a package of 50 percent less-fat sausages, and a tiny watermelon.
I hide the foodstuffs from Nurse Judy and tell her our feast will be a surprise.
I begin weighing myself daily and after a week, I have already lost one quarter of a pound.
Nurse Judy sees me on the scale and decides we must be going to the beach.
“Can I wear my red, white and blue bikini on Labor Day?” she asks me slyly. “Are we going somewhere I can wear my bikini?”
“Of course,” I answer quickly as I begin searching the web for remote parks and recreation areas we might be able to go to. I don’t tell her that all the places that are safe to go have already been booked by other families fearing the virus.
I have to tell her something, so I rely on my previous subterfuge.
“Where we’re going is a surprise,” I say.
Beebe suddenly decides to register his opinion. He grabs the halter that he has to wear when we go outside anywhere, and is burying it in the only good potted plant I have on the porch. Obviously he isn’t interested in any outing and once again I’m in the middle.
Nurse Judy asks me to go online and order her a new beach blanket and a sun hat.
I go ahead and place the order, knowing I’m digging a bigger hole for me to get out of.
While I’m online, I think I’ll buy a fire pit to cook the sausages, in case we are stuck at home as I’m now suspecting we will be.
I look at the fire pits.
They all require assembly which I’ve never been good at.
Still, I should give it a try.
Then I notice how much they weigh. I have now lost a half a pound. I figure I would be too weak from such malnourishment to handle carrying the parts and assembling one, so I trash the whole idea.
With all this lying, hiding and cogitating, the big day sneaks up on me.
Nurse Judy is in her bikini and sun hat sitting at the curb waiting to go.
Beebe is sitting on top of a mound of dirt and a destroyed potted plant, hissing at me whenever I come near.
I am now having to reap the harvest from the seeds I have sown. I square my shoulders and go to work.
Despite the fact that I am now even weaker after losing another eighth of a pound, I drag a wrought iron outdoor table and chair set to just outside the screened in porch, where Beebe is still spitting.
I cover the table with the beach towel, plop the roses in the center, and place the microwaved sausages and rolls, plus the sliced tiny watermelon on paper plates on the table with condiments and plastic tableware.
I pry Nurse Judy off the roadside to the table and give Beebe some small pieces of sausage, which he promptly buries with his harness.
It is a sad sulky celebration until I bring out my piece de resistance. I play a dance exercise tape full blast, which attracts the neighbors on the other side of the woods.
Nurse Judy sees she has an audience even if at a long distance and breaks out dancing in her bikini, facing the woods. The neighbors are dancing too and waving at Nurse Judy.
Even though I am weak from weight loss and have bad knees, I try a few moves myself, knowing the exercise will be good for my diet.
I look at Beebe. He has climbed out of the plant remains and is curled up on the rug chewing contentedly on one of his treats.
I can’t help being a little proud of myself. It was a meager party – a meager feast – no big win for anyone, but everyone got a little bit of what they wanted and we were together.
Sometimes that’s all you can ask for.
Hope you had a good Labor Day.
P.S.: By Halloween I’m hoping I will have lost a full pound.