Back to hugging, kissing

By John Kanelis /

LOS GATOS, Calif. — I must have heard it a half-dozen times while visiting a friend in this high-end Bay Area community.

We went to a gathering of fellow Rotary Club members, where my friend once served as club president and later as governor of the Rotary district.

Several folks were hobnobbing, chatting and laughing at each other’s jokes. When they embraced, they would say to each other, “Oh, it’s so nice to be able to hug again.”

Yes, this is the sound of the post-pandemic age setting in slowly. “Hey, don’t worry,” one of them told me. “We’ve all been vaccinated” against the COVID-19 virus, they said.

So, there you go. So have my wife and me.

I had no issue at all with the way folks were interacting. I am intrigued, though, at the response to federal medical experts’ changing guidelines regarding masks and social distancing in this region that takes safeguard measures quite seriously. They, too, are relieved at the relaxed guidelines and are as anxious as those of us in Texas are to get back to living the way we used to live before the pandemic began killing Americans.

I am not going to jump with both feet into the life we once led prior to the pandemic hitting us where it hurts. We still wore masks when we entered public places. We will continue to do so until someone down the road delivers the all-clear signal. Who should deliver that message when the time arrives? I guess when Dr. Anthony Fauci says it, then it must be true.

Even in this time when politics infects everything, it is striking to my ears to hear folks who live in a deeply blue/Democratic-leaning part of the nation express a strong interest in returning quickly to the life we all led before disease and death changed everything.