Day 23-Quarantine-Group Meetings

This week I had opportunity to participate in three group meetings by phone. All three were different and I learned a lot from each, mostly how to operate an online video meeting. This afternoon was probably the most interesting because it was the most attended with eighteen participants, and because it was a support group for the visually impaired, not everyone had video. The service is called ZOOM. I have to admit it is a far cry better than the one I used when I was still working twenty years ago. I guess there has been some advancement in the past two decades.

Why am I attending a support group for the visually impaired? Several reasons: 1.) I am a Lion and we are Knights of the Blind as commissioned by Helen Keller (blind, deaf, and mute) in nineteen twenty-five. 2.) As a Lion, I want to understand the hardships that visually impaired people encounter.

There are many things that sighted people take for granted. Like being able to get into a car and to drive someplace, read a menu at a restaurant, or social isolation. What I was surprised to learn from this group is that they all sound as frustrated as I am about having the stay in place. One would think that blind people would be stuck at home most of the time, but they are not. Many spoke about not being able to get out to the store, or to church. Vision impaired people have trouble finding transportation, but somehow manage to find rides when they want them or need them. Most have recruited support systems for themselves.

This meeting was semi-formal in that the leader opened with an uplifting prayer and started the conversation. After that it became a friendly banter between people just as any group of friends would have. The group leader announced that they will hold a ZOOM meeting every week at the same time until such time as the COVID-19 is dead.

The second meeting I attended was a Lions Club Board meeting. I recommend we do this on a continuum since we finished a pretty complete agenda in thirty-five minutes. The third meeting was a Lions training session. The leader conducted a Power Point slide show with lecture while the attendees all showed at the side of the screen. During the question answer period attendees clicked on a icon of a raised hand so the moderator could give him the floor. This also worked good because it cut out people talking over one another. This meeting also lasted forty minutes.

One great thing that COVID-19 is doing is forcing us to use the technology that is available to us. This evening, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday, parishes all across the country will conduct video services.

I plan on opening a personal ZOOM account for my own use so I can gather all my grandkids together from three states for a face time phone chat on Easter Sunday.

Easter was always a huge celebration for my family. I have fond memories of my mother cooking and baking for the Easter morning breakfast, and the family gathering that followed. My wives Barbara, and Peggy celebrated the holy day similarly even though one was of Polish descent and the other Irish. Only the foods varied. My daughter and daughters-in-law have continued the tradition within our family. Now that we are a thousand miles apart it is difficult if not impossible to carry on the tradition as a combined family. That is why I am hoping the ZOOM service can allow us to gather as a group once again.

 

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