Happy Hamburger Day

National Hamburger Day isn’t until tomorrow, though some sites I Googled suggested that it was yesterday, so today appears to be a suitable time to celebrate.

I wouldn’t even have known about this holiday except that I was gifted with some ground beef. At first it seemed like an odd gift, but The Bob has changed things so that valuable gift items are not trinkets and electronics but toilet paper and tissues and bleach, all of which had been sent to me, all of which were welcome gifts. And to that list, now is added hamburger.

It was only a chance remark from the giver who said “Happy Hamburger Day” in response to my thanks that made me check to see if there was such a day. I thought the remark was simply a made-up excuse to send me a valuable present. (Admittedly, vegans and vegetarians might not agree about the value, but then, I am an omnivore.) And sure enough, there really is a hamburger day!

It’s interesting to me that only in this time of The Bob would such a present be feasible. It was delivered to my door from the local grocery store, and the only reason the store delivered is because they’re trying to keep us older folks at home as much as possible.

Even more interesting to me is that I’m forgetting there is a crisis out there. I am quite content immersing myself in the world of the Wheel of Time without the conflicting desires that so often pull at me — spending time with people or spending time alone. Going out and doing something or staying home with a book. Being sociable and getting together to play a game or indulging myself and not playing. Trying to find meaning in my new post-Jeff, post-grief, post-move life or accepting whatever meaning there is in simply being me.

I am aware of the crisis to the extent that on the rare occasions when I do go into a store, I wear a mask out of courtesy, but not to the point of contemplating its purpose. And horrors! I do hug people — on purpose — though I let them initiate the contact. Well, except once when it was my decision. I saw a good friend at the store the other day. We stopped six feet away. “We can’t touch,” she said. “I don’t care,” I said. She laughed and then we rushed toward each other. And oh, did that feel good! Odd to think that such a simple human act borders on the seditious, but to be honest, being rebellious in such a way felt good, too.

I must admit that beyond those few brief occasions of welcome touches, I love the distancing that keeps people from crowding me in stores. I don’t like being squished between people in line at the best of times, so I hope the stores will keep the six-foot markers long after this crisis has been forgotten by everyone, not just me.

I am getting far from the point of this article which is . . . hmm. I don’t remember. Hamburger day? Gifts? The benefits of The Bob? Maybe there isn’t a point except a reminder to enjoy the day. With or without a hamburger.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Gifts for These Times

Much of the rhetoric surrounding The Bob continues to mystify me. Today several links showed up in my Facebook feed touting the necessity for testing everyone in the country and vilifying those who aren’t with the program. And yet, a recent study showed that accuracy of the tests varied depending on how and when samples were collected. For example, if a person was infected with the disease, but the test is done too early before there is a great enough concentration of the virus to detect, then the person is given a clean bill of health and is left to infect everyone they come in contact with. If a person has symptoms, then the tests are more accurate, but they are still not exact. Chest CT scans accurately identified infection in 98 percent of cases whereas RT-PCR tests detected it correctly 71 percent of the time.

It makes sense, then, to continue the way things are, testing people who show symptoms to enable the medical establishment to set a treatment protocol. But for the rest of us? How does getting tested help? If we test negative, we still have to stay away from people because a) we might be sick and b) we might still get sick. And if we test positive, but don’t feel sick, we still have to stay away from people.

Despite my concerns about people getting all het up about this disease and demanding results when no one knows for sure what is really going on, I am staying away from people.

That is, I am staying away except for a brief time today.

Today a friend stopped by bearing gifts — a lovely pad Thai, a vial of healing oil (for my knee) made by a monk, and an even more healing hug.

Yeah, I know. Keep one’s distance. But truly, if I were to die because of a hug, then . . . well, then I’d be dead and wouldn’t care. And if I were to get sick? I’ll do what I’ve always done — go to bed, stop eating, drink water, and wait for my body to heal itself. So far, it’s worked, even with some very serious and rather painful illnesses.

But I’m not concerned about any repercussions from a simple hug. I’ve already spent time with these friends during this era of disease, and so far, we’re doing well.

I’m also doing well on the gift front. I got an email notification today of a gift that will be arriving in the next couple of weeks:

That cracked me up. The perfect gifts for these times!

Nature, too, is bringing me gifts. This little beauty is no bigger than my thumbnail.

I checked my order of bulbs from last fall, and I did order miniature daffodils, but by the description, it seemed as if they were simply smaller versions of the normal daffodils, not these itty-bitty things. In fact, until I took a photo, I didn’t even realize what they were! They are cute, though. I wouldn’t mind a whole yard of them. They are supposed to spread like normal daffodils, but they also go to seed, so there’s hope.

And if not, there’s always next year.

Because yes, for most people, there will be a next year and the wonderful gift of more time.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.