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COVID-19

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I recently received my second Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

The first round was inconsequential, and I’m sure that emboldened me to believe that I would have no ill effects.

I also brought all of my visualization skills to bear, seeing myself as perky and good-natured in the days that followed the shot.

I also bet my daughter ten dollars that I would be perfectly fine, a bet she took immediately, scoffing at the arrogance of my remark. Taylor went through headaches, chills and night sweats as a result of her second vaccine, which she received a couple of days before my girlfriend and I had ours.

After the event, we went to work as usual and neither one of us felt unusual. That was some sort of cruel joke perpetrated by Mother Nature, because by that night I was becoming tired. I went to bed early and wound up sleeping until the following afternoon, leaving just enough time to get ready for work.

Brenda felt the same way. Tired, warm and listless with a slight headache. But here’s the difference. She can be much more realistic than I am, more meat-and-potatoes, if you will.

Neither one of us were looking forward to our shifts at the cigar shop. Myrtle Beach is starting to become a very busy place, with an influx of tourists for what we call “the season.” But it was a Thursday, and we both knew we could get through the day. Thankfully, the crowds were not nearly as large as they had been for the several weekends before.

We made a stop at Chick-fil-A before we headed to the shop and ordered soup and sandwiches. If ever there was a time for chicken soup, it was then. Never mind the soul, we were thinking in far more corporeal terms.

When we arrived, my sister-in-law and brother said they would be happy to work our shifts for us. We thanked them and said we could handle it, but it was nice to know they would come back if we needed them.

We made it through, and it took days for us to fully feel better, but we are heartened to now be fully vaccinated.

My daughter, observing all of this, offered me her Gatorade and dutifully checked on us.

She also told me I owed her ten bucks.

I paid up, of course.

Ever since I met him, Casey King has been all about changing the face of recovery.

King, a physics professor at Horry-Georgetown Technical College in Myrtle Beach, founded and launched the college’s Addiction and Recovery Lecture Series in 2008. He was also HGTC Professor of the Year in 2019.

He has been sober since 2005.

Through his work with the series, he hopes to reduce the stigma that society places on those in recovery.

My first experience with him was in 2016, when I covered the series for The Sun News, a McClatchy newspaper here on the Grand Strand. That year, actor Danny Trejo was the keynote speaker. I have had the pleasure of covering him and the series in subsequent years as well – and it’s an honor to count him a friend.

You can read some of my previous coverage HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

The Addiction and Recovery Lecture Series is a popular event that has included a growing “Who’s Who” of featured celebrity speakers – from actors [Louis Gossett, Jr., Mackenzie Phillips, Danny Trejo] to rock stars [Everclear’s Art Alexakis, Bob Forrest from Thelonious Monster] to medical professionals [Dr. Drew Pinsky] – and more.

The series also features presentations and panels including college students, recovery advocates and spokespersons from local recovery groups, rounding out a lecture series that shines as a beacon of hope for those still struggling with addiction and a lamp on the path of those on their recovery journeys.

The program is set to continue this year in a virtual setting on the Zoom platform, beginning on January 28 and continuing every Thursday until February 18.

Throughout the COVID-19 situation, King has hosted recovery meetings on Zoom with attendees as far afield as Berlin, Ireland, Scotland, Australia and Tenerife – featuring some of the folks slated for the series. He cites these online meetings [what he has called a World Home Group] as pivotal in the decisions of some speakers to commit.

It seems that the pandemic is not going to get in the way of the series this year. It’s just a change of venue from physical to virtual.

This year, the series features an astounding celebrity lineup including Craig T. Nelson, Carnie Wilson, Paul Williams and more [see above graphic].

My brother and I recently had a conversation with Casey on EPISODE 22 of our podcast, and we’re glad we did. Casey opened up about the history of the series, his own recovery journey, how things came together for this year’s event and much more.

Rock on. We do recover.

For more information, click HERE.

Forget about New Year's Resolutions – start the new year with an ...

In September, my son will marry a young lady I can’t wait to claim as my daughter-in-law.

Earlier this year, we reserved the Historic Myrtle Beach Train Depot for the rehearsal dinner.

But the COVID-19 situation threw the proverbial spanner in the works.

Things to do with the rehearsal dinner have been modified. With our group, I figured the venue was more than big enough for social distancing.

We plan on having food catered in, along with beverages…

I just got word that the maximum attendance has been reduced, which would mean slashing attendees to the bare minimum – to include only the wedding party, parents and key family members.

If we don’t do this, we’ll have to consider other options for this event.

Thing is, nobody knows what’s coming down the pike as far as COVID-19 in September. For all we know, the city (Myrtle Beach) could shut down again – or things could improve. If things get worse, this means that restaurants could close – or at the very least, they might also adopt maximum capacity guidelines. They might be forced to go back to curbside service, which opens up another Pandora’s box: Could caterers be shut down?

Such is the uncertain nature of our world at the moment.

My guy at the Train Depot has canceled events for a good chunk of September – but each of those parties expected 100 or more people to attend. He has held off on canceling us outright but will likely be forced to do so if we stay at our projected attendance.

The son of dear friends got married in Pittsburgh in April. We watched the livestream. Empty church except for essential people. I am not sure what they did about the rehearsal and other related pre-wedding parties or the reception – but I can bet that they didn’t see this coming when they set the date.

My son served in the US Marine Corps. There is a saying he taught me: “Semper Gumby…”

Semper Gumby Marine Corps Icon

… “always flexible.”

Well paint me orange and call me Pokey. I had better start stretching – and stop overthinking.

NOTE: I wrote this post on July 23. As of July 24 – we are moving all rehearsal dinner festivities to an outdoor location perfectly suitable for the event, thank God. It was the perfect solution – and one we wouldn’t have thought about until the bride-to-be messaged us about the possibility.

Gratitude. Cleansing breaths…

And since there are no coincidences, I read an article today in Success Magazine that featured an Icelandic saying – and by God I needed to see that:

Þetta reddast… everything is going to work out, or something like that.

Photo credit: India Audus / Iceland Will Make You Happy