A Covid Break In Ohio
Twenty-three consecutive weeks in Houston. It was a record
for me. One hundred sixty-one consecutive days without being on an airplane. I
think that’s a record, too.
had flown into Bush Intercontinental on February 29, 2020 from Palm Springs as
the news of the coronavirus and its dissemination spread like a contagion over
America as President Trump grappled with the threat and fumbled our response.
He has continued to fumble as the country has continued to suffer—more than
most in the western world. During that week in California before coming back to
Texas, I had decided to cancel our forthcoming trip to Argentina scheduled for
early March on the fear we would not be able to get back into the country. That
fear proved to be well founded as several Americans were stranded in South
America as the virus hit New York and the Pacific Northwest with a vengeance.
We were also scheduled to head to Hawaii in May. Cancelled.
February 29 was the last time I had been to Bush Airport in
23 weeks. We had had enough. We were going to venture out to the safety of
Cleveland, Ohio where the BW’s sister lives. Northeast Ohio also is home to
some great golf and we thought that would be a respite from the 95-degree heat
of Houston. Good move.
We geared up with our N95 masks and plastic face shields and
gloves and took a car to the airport. There were more people there in Terminal
B on a Sunday morning than I would have imagined would be the case during a
pandemic, but operations ran smoothly as we checked our bags and got our
boarding passes. Everyone was wearing masks albeit some under noses, and most
were practicing social distancing in a somewhat confined space. United passed
out sanitary wipes on the way in the airplane door and did all an airline could
do to try to make a bad situation (many people in a closed metal tube) as safe
When we got to Cleveland it was a ghost town at the airport.
There were no people. The shuttle bus to the car rental station had only three
groups renting and when I got to the Avis lot there were more Avis people there
than customers. Transit to my sister-in-law’s house was characterized by sparse
traffic on a Sunday afternoon and the rest of the trip has been therapeutic—for
my in-laws and for us. It was the closest we were going to get to meaningful
social contact with other human beings.
The three golf courses we played were all taking precautions
and doing so with care. Masks were everywhere and carts were sanitized. There
were no rakes in the sand traps and there was a manner to retrieve your golf
ball from the cup without having to stick your fingers in at every course from
devices to lift the cup bottom to Styrofoam donuts to prevent the ball from
reaching the bottom of the cup. One of the courses we played, Shaker Heights
Country Club, was magnificent, as good as any I have ever played.
This has been a good break from the 23 weeks in Houston. We
will need to find other places we can visit without the use of hotels and
restaurants. It won’t be New York City. No Broadway. Why go? Maybe other
This is a strange time in America. The opening gambit by the
Biden-Harris ticket—no cheering, no crowds—was weird but necessary. At least
one party is trying to set a good example.
The real question before the American voter as it was for us
is, is there any way to get back to some semblance of normal after the disaster
that is the American response to the virus from China? I think we are going to
have to hear what Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris would have done differently so that
we could look more like Taiwan or New Zealand and less like Great Britain in
the world wide scheme of coronavirus responses.
In the mean time, if you can get away safely do it. It’s