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COVID kindness rises to the occasion

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

I was on a mission to find a three-pack of yeast.

My isolationship partner was going to make her own dough for pizza. With a myriad of other shut-ins, we had found or rediscovered cooking and baking skills to fill, along with other activities, the stay-at-home, self-distancing days foisted upon us by the coronavirus.

So I drove to a big box store with an old pack of yeast to make sure I would get the right stuff, with the intent to also grab some other pandemic pantry foodstuffs. I headed for the baking aisle, empty of other customers, and slowly moved among the spices and bags of sugar, flour, cake mixes and other baking necessities.

I must have missed these small packs of “RapidRise Instant Yeast – Fast-Acting” (isn’t that redundant?).

I maneuvered my massive sanitized shopping cart for a U-turn and made another pass down the aisle. Nada.

This time, there was a woman customer shopping in the same aisle. We both wore our obligatory face coverings and, with no store employees around, I told her I was on mission that demanded culinary and partnership success – a little embellishment never hurts. Did she happen to know where the RapidRise yeast lives?

She helped me look and then took my sample yeast and, while I watched her cart, she summoned a helpful store employee who directed us both to the empty space where the now out-of-stock yeast used to reside. Too many bakers had already risen to the occasion.

In an era where health considerations demand masking, and distancing from friends, neighbors and those we have not yet met, and pedestrians are sometimes known to cross the street to avoid others, my fellow baking aisle shopper had zero hesitation in helping me.

I profusely thanked my helper and the employee, and with my truncated grocery mission complete, I headed for the sports and games aisle.

I have been supporting this big box store’s section since the stay-at-home rules have given us free time we didn’t know we already had. We set up our new badminton game on our ersatz – a little on the rough side – court in a front side yard. One of China’s best exports – keep these trade deals and shuttlecocks flying.

On another excursion, it was India’s turn to supply the extracurricular international trade diversion. Two Triad EX-3 Elite Nerf dart guns ($6.97 each) practically jumped off the self into my shopping cart. I envisioned Nerf shoot-outs in the living room, with easy chairs for cover, or re-creations of the Hamilton-Burr dust-up.

Instead, I fashioned a paper shopping bag into a target complete with a bullseye center and we whiled away late-afternoon hours on the patio, sharpening our aim.

Inevitably, the first two darts from the three-shot gizmo exited like a bat out of hell, flying dozens of feet across the patio and sometimes hitting our target. The third, laughter-provoking, dart often plunged to the ground after traveling only inches or a foot or so from the EX-3.

Our badminton set gives us a great pandemic outlet and not just for its aerobic benefits. Our games, often shortened by lack of breath, nearly always bring a smile or comment from neighbors walking their dogs or riding their bicycles. Motorists yell encouragement from the nearby stop sign.

Today, on our weekly shopping excursion, we were able to locate one of those small, pesky three-packs of yeast with the helpful direction of an essential grocery store associate.

So, social distance as you must, but don’t forget to allow civility to rise to the top. I sense home-made pizza in our future.