I’ve got several friends in Northeast Ohio who have recently come down with COVID-19. Several others are in quarantine because they came in close contact with someone who has the virus. Fortunately, none of them are dangerously sick. Still, it’s sad to see so many friends dealing with the physical discomfort, loss of income, limitation of personal freedom, general hassle, and boredom of being stuck at home. I remember our own family’s experiences back in April, and I want to help.
Consequently, I’ve been trying to regularly pray for my friends, check in on my friends, and regularly drop off things that my friends might need or want (all while practicing good precautions against the spread of COVID). I hope that these friends have benefitted from these efforts. And regardless, I’m discovering that our family is benefitting from these efforts, too! It’s surprisingly fun to practice community and demonstrate care in creative ways. It feels both Christian and Christmassy. (So seriously: if you ever catch the Coronavirus, don’t deprive your friends of the joy of helping you out!)
This week provided an opportunity for an extra-special, extra-strange way of helping two friends who have been in quarantine since Thanksgiving. Let’s call them Deborah, and Esther. We dropped off some items for Deborah in the early part of the week. But we didn’t have any good ideas for Esther until the middle part of the week, when Deborah somehow stumbled across an idea for Esther that she passed along to me by text message:
Hello Eric! This is a silly thing, but do you think you’d be willing to get some Sprite Cranberry and drop it off at Esther’s house? I think it would give her a boost today.
For whatever reason, Sprite Cranberry has been kind of hard to come by in our region this year. I guess it has something of a cult following (Don’t ask why!). Anyway, Marci had randomly come across a two-liter of Sprite Cranberry earlier in the week, and she bought it on impulse. So it was just sitting in our garage. It felt like destiny.
It just so happens that I live with a minor TikTok celebrity. He contributes regularly to the MilkDad account and has recently started a new account called AwkwardEagle which also seems to be quickly gaining momentum. One of the Eagle’s main schticks is that he loves Sprite Cranberry like a beloved child (Again: Don’t ask why!). So I recruited the Awkward Eagle, a.k.a. Elliot, to devise a special plan for dropping off our bottle of Sprite Cranberry on Esther’s porch.
We started with writing a poem and attaching it with ribbon to the bottle of Sprite Cranberry.
During this special time of year,A Wise Eagle
Sprite Cranberry brings joy and cheer.
Cold and frosty as the night,
Please enjoy this sweet delight.
We drove the gift over to Esther’s house and filmed the drop-off, with the Awkward Eagle playing the role of “Santa.” Elliot later edited the footage to create a new post for the Awkward Eagle account. And even though I can recognize that I might be a little bit biased, I think it came out beautifully.
We figured that Esther would probably not have Elliot’s telephone number saved in her phone, so he sent a mysterious text after we got home:
“Hello, Esther. A most delicious Sprite Cranberry awaits you on your doorstep.”
Her response: “Santa?”
After some further banter, Esther texted back: “SO MANY QUESTIONS.” And it got more fun from there. Elliot and I collaborated on our responses to her text messages, toying with her, trying to sustain the mystery for awhile. Not to annoy, but to entertain (we hoped). Eventually, however, Esther cracked the case — apparently through a parallel dialogue with Deborah. And that was fun, too, reviewing “Game Tape” and providing “Color Commentary.”
COVID is a disruptive force in our world today. But not all disruption is bad. It can provide an opportunity for creative stimulation and unique connection. If you or someone you know is struggling with COVID / isolation / quarantine, please let me know how we might be able to help you. I can’t promise that the Awkward Eagle will be involved every time. But I also can’t promise that he won’t.