Cloister Commentary, Day 347: The First Shot

My COVID-19 vaccination appointment was at a mass event yesterday at the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Boonville. Due to a heart condition I had not realized qualified me for the Tier 2 group currently being vaccinated in Missouri, I was fortunate enough to be there; though I’m not a gamblin’ man, it was not my first time. A few years back, Nicole, Susie and George Frissell, and I traveled there to see (and meet!) the legendary country singer Ray Price. The band swung their music in the same space where folks were getting their shots, so now I have two great memories of the exact spot. And not simply because I got a dose of Pfizer.

The operation was very well-organized. I arrived a half-hour early for my 9:00 date with the needle, and was so smoothly ushered through the stations by the National Guard, volunteers, and health professionals in charge that by 8:37 I’d been vaccinated. Chatting with the nurse who was attending me, I told her how elated I now felt, explained my experiences with this commentary project, and casually mentioned that Nicole (on Tier 3) was now teaching in-person and had been waiting nervously to get her shot for several weeks. I really didn’t wheedle, or at least that was what I was trying to project.

“Is she out in the car? We can vaccinate her!”

I replied, “Well, she’s 30 minutes away–what if I can get her here soon?”

“Can she be here by noon?”

Instantly, I was on the phone with Nicole. Fortunately, her work was flexible enough to allow her to leave, and 30 minutes later we were walking through the stations together (I was allowed to be her vaccination support person).

Besides being a great experience–how often does one say that about getting a shot?–we were moved by the kindness, organization, and humor of the site team, and I felt a huge wave of relief wash over me as we walked out of the casino. We still must proceed carefully, and it occurred to me that relief has become a very rare feeling in my life. I’m not taking it for granted–and I hope if you have not yet had the opportunity to feel that particular feeling, it will come soon.

Streaming for Strivers:

O’ Day = “Dough” in Pig Latin. One of my Top 10 favorite singers.

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