You never know what you’ve got till it’s gone. I’ve been thinking about that sentiment often as the pandemic rages on, even as people are being vaccinated. The end is in sight but not yet in reach.

Even in my most run-of-the-mill day in pre-COVID times, there were many nice occurrences; small experiences to which I never gave a second thought. But I do now.

I frequently started my day with a leisurely breakfast at The Uptown Cafe, sipping hot coffee and reading the newspaper. What a luxury! Other days I would grab a quick breakfast at the Cloverleaf Restaurant on East Winslow Road. Also a treat, I realize now.

Every day at the Bloom office I got to enjoy working IN PERSON with my talented, talkative, wonderful staff. I miss that camaraderie (although twice-a-day Zoom meetings somewhat fill that void).

During the course of an ordinary day, readers or contributors would often stop by the office to pick up a magazine or a book or just to say hi. I always appreciated hearing their opinions or learning about happenings in the community.

On Wednesdays, as a staff, we would walk over for lunch to one of the excellent local restaurants downtown. At these staff lunches there was always a lot of laughing, some personal stories, tidbits of gossip maybe, and now and then between bites, a great idea for the magazine.

Other lunchtimes I might have something healthy at the Bloomingfoods Near West café or a soup-and-sandwich combo at the bar of The Crazy Horse where Kevin “Coach” Kochery, Bloomington’s most affable bartender, holds court.

Once or twice a month, I would just walk around downtown checking in with shop owners to get a feel for how the business community was doing. Over the years, many of these people became friends and we would hug. I’m a hugger by nature, so I miss that.

Even going to the bank could be fun. There’s a lively bunch of tellers at Chase on South College. I had my own “personal” teller, Lynn, whom I pretended to believe waited only on me. She just retired after 40 years and I will miss her.

Monday nights, I bowled. I’m a terrible bowler but love competing and there’s a feisty crowd at the bowling alley. I miss bowling and my fellow bowlers more than I could ever have imagined.

Evenings and weekends, my wife, Jenny, and I loved to go to the theater, concerts, the opera, movies—or maybe just out for dinner with friends or family. Many evenings we would also attend events and fundraisers for charities and nonprofits. There are so many in this town, we would sometimes complain about not having a free evening to ourselves. No longer. We’d love a good gala!

And on so many evenings over the past 14 years, my father- in-law, Bill, and I faithfully watched every televised Indiana University basketball and football game.

Those were the days. They now seem long ago.

Life will never exactly be the same, but when this horror show is over, I, for one, plan to appreciate every run-of-the-mill day.

Malcolm Abrams
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