RAMONA ON CORONA and……A Rising Senior

A humor series on navigating this difficult time

I’m sharing another installment of a humor series from my friend Pam Goldman, centering on a woman named Ramona, who tries to help… in her own way. If you’re new to this series: Here’s the previous installment


Gotta hand it to Joe Biden. He didn’t allow his opponent to hold against him his 36 years of experience as a senator, nor his 8 years as Vice President, nor his ability to work across the aisle, nor his basic decency, authenticity, empathy or compassion for the suffering of strangers. Biden in fact brought all this “baggage” to the forefront in his campaign to win the Presidency. And now he’s in the Top Job. Whew!

Joe Biden, 78 years old, exhibited more energy and stamina on Inauguration Day than I could muster to get off my butt on the couch for a snack as I sat watching it all on T.V. We both started the day fresh-faced around 7 a.m., but how is it that Joe looked exactly the same at 11 p.m. that night and I looked like Linda Blair in “The Exorcist?” To me the day felt 40 hours long even though I wasn’t wearing heels; I was in sweats and furry slippers.

Can we cut right to THE POET?! Where did this 22-year-old angel/prophet/goddess come from? In fact Los Angeles but to me, from heaven. Did you ever?! I wiped away my tears when she finished, determined to be one of the brave souls she invoked who would fulfill her wish regarding the Light….“to see it” and “to be it.” 

But first I googled her. 

Raised by a single working mom, a middle-school teacher, Amanda Gorman graduated from Harvard, published a book of her poetry, The One For Whom Food is Not Enough in 2015, was named National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017 and became the youngest Poet Laureate ever to read her work at a Presidential Inaugural, allowing her to join the ranks of iconic poets Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. That’s a lot for me to process. Imagine how Amanda feels, never mind her mother! 

Now to the life-affirming day. I’ll work up to the important stuff but first……

RAMONA’S TACTILE BAROMETER: A completely objective account of the small moves of big personalities at large televised public events where I get glimpses and therefore insights into famous peoples’ private lives. Here are the readouts from January 20:

Dr. Jill and Joe: Held hands a lot, especially ascending and descending stairs. Patted each other’s backs several times. Hugged and kissed, not on the lips but almost on the lips. 

Michelle and Barack: Held hands coming and going. Held their own as they chatted separately with other guests and dignitaries before and after the ceremony.

George and Laura Bush: She put her arm through his descending the stairs. (Only smart woman who thought ahead and wore flats).

Mike Pence and Mother Pence: Held hands as they made their entrance hoping not to be eaten by Democrats.

Bill and Hillary: Did not touch until ascending the stairs after the swearing in. He either put his arm through hers or placed his hand on the small of her back. (Both wore dark coats and he wore black gloves so hard to tell). But their vibe was definitely not touchy-feely. 

Mitch McConnell (factoid: his real first name is Addison), and Elaine Chao: I did not see them touch though I may have missed something during a bathroom break.

Sociological observation: Most males lead their plus 1 females to their seats by guiding them by one elbow, like the rudder on a boat. This could be a genetic mutation dating back to prehistoric male sapiens who guided females of the species by one elbow into the cave.

Weather: 42 degrees with a few snowflakes appearing like confetti as Joe and Dr. Jill emerged from the Capitol building for the ceremony. The sun came out after the swearing in. I swore I saw a rainbow when he became President but that may have been imaginary. 

Random sightings: Dan Quayle, the Robert Redford of former Vice Presidents looking a bit older though hard to tell with the mask. Bill and Hill looking pretty good in matching black masks. 

Michelle and Barack chatting up J.Lo and Alex Rodriguez (do Hollywood and sports royalty still trump (sorry) ex-Presidents and First Ladies? On the other hand Lady Gaga would not let go of Barack after a brief chat in which her wide eyes reflected awe, not unlike the three Wise Men in Da Vinci’s “Adoration of the Magi.” In other words, she was gaga over him. 

The Supreme Court Justices walked in behind Chief Justice Roberts, single file, no talking, like they were being led by the teacher to assembly. Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett stood silently before their folding metal chairs while no one in the crowd approached them for small talk. (I imagine they only do big talk). George Bush was not hard to spot, his shoulders bouncing up and down, yukking it up with someone. He seems to enjoy yukking. 

Hunter Biden looked quite handsome masked. Bernie Sanders easily stood out from the sea of men wearing navy overcoats. He wore a beige LL Bean hooded parka and brown and white hand-knitted mittens with a zig zag pattern, the perfect sartorial choice for an inauguration or for waiting on line at the post office. Factoid: Mittens were made by a second grade teacher from Vermont.

A shout out to Bill Clinton. He was the first to walk over to chat up Mike and Mother Pence, left totally adrift in an ocean of Democrats. (No one seems to want to rub shoulders with the newly powerless). 

Can I just say I love Doug Emhoff? The Second Gentleman is first in my book. He obviously adores his wife and his entire blended family. He seems comfortable enough in his own skin to have lots of room left to be his wife’s number one cheerleader. And I like that they like to laugh together.

Now, the Inaugural Address. Joe Biden was Joe Biden, authentic, truthful, direct, emotional, the only way Joe Biden knows how to be. He didn’t mince words in talking about the pandemic and how difficult it and all the other challenges we face will be. But he trusted us with the truth because he knows we can take it. I believe he is just what we need at this moment.

Now may one peaceful day follow another.

Until we all see the light.

Until we all can be it.