For the last four months and some-odd days, Grandpa and I have stayed inside about 98% of the time, going out for only the essentials. While we have totally enjoyed each other’s company for the last 39 years, our relationship, like so many others, has been tested a time or two being together about 24/7. The answer for us has been scheduling and sharing a fun project here and there. While I am a night owl, he prefers to get up with the roosters, or in our case the geese, after hitting the sheets around nine o’clock every night. Many times, he will come and get me off the couch around 1 a.m. and guide me, half asleep, to the bedroom. The beauty of this is that we each get some alone time to do some writing, in my case, while he catches up on his how-to videos and puttering in “his” garage. I like to read a little, and he prefers some shows that I have no interest in but from mid-morning until after dinner, we enjoy a movie together or other everyday things that we would normally do — only now it’s restricted to us being in the house or the backyard.
Grandpa has a fantastic sense of humor, and I try to keep up with him. At the very beginning of our shelter-in-place together, we started making funny and truly ridiculous videos. Through the years we have accumulated numerous masks and animal heads for the amusement of the grandkids. We ask Alexa to play songs like the theme from “The Godfather” while Grandpa puts a stick horse in the bed or dons a dinosaur head while we request the “Jurassic Park” music. Entertaining ourselves and sharing the videos with friends and family became almost a challenge to see what we could think of next and how absurd we could make it while keeping them family-rated.
One morning I woke up and put an old crinoline on my head and sobbed that my wedding had been indefinitely postponed, which I dedicated to my two beautiful friends who are in that situation. The silliness continued, and I decided to post them all on my Facebook page so that maybe we could make others smile and take away some of the anxiety instigated by everyday news. The Queen of England and a Russian war bride in her fur hat and bathrobe managed to find themselves in my bedroom where they were delighted to make an appearance for the camera.
As my mind went on a journey back to the ’60s and ’70s, I ordered an inexpensive long black wig, and with my old hippie glasses and beads, performed an extremely awful lip sync impression of the fabulous Cher. In between laughing and restarting, we finally got one almost-decent take, and the rest fell into place.
While I can hardly remember the day before yesterday because the time is melting together lately, I can usually recall the words to a lot of the songs from that era. Like a woman on a mission, I dug through both of the closets looking for wigs, hats, glasses, dresses and vests. I found several peace sign necklaces and earrings as well as those wonderful colored granny glasses that made such a splash in my old hippie days. Things I hadn’t looked at in years brought back memories and with a little help from Amazon, we were able to throw together costumes resembling the best of the early icons that delighted us back then. From Janis Joplin to Jimi Hendrix, Willie Nelson, Bob Marley and one solo Beach Boy surfing on my ironing board, I was determined to make somebody laugh, even if it was just Grandpa. The “celebrity guests” kept coming, and pretty soon I was getting requests from people for their favorite artists. Trying not to disappoint anyone, I added some to my growing list realizing I’d better start learning the words to all of these songs so I could lip sync them. If I blasted Purple Haze one more time, I think the neighbors were about to call the crazy town police on me! But I forged on and have single-handedly ruined the once amazing careers of many icons. And yet, there are more coming almost daily.
The days are long and can be very boring, but we have decided to fill the time with constant phone calls, texts and Zoom chat with loved ones. We make these videos with humor and love for anyone who wishes to take a break from the constant bad news on television and enjoy some good old laughter. We still watch the news to keep up with what is happening on an ever-changing basis but sharing these nostalgic and somewhat hilarious songs makes it a little easier to keep going.
Stay safe and well and keep your sense of humor. It helps.
Marla Luckhardt is a Brentwood resident who works with several local senior care and advocacy groups. Reach her at email@example.com.