D.L. Stewart: 12 things I’ll never take for granted again

The new Kroger's Marketplace on Alex Bell was busy Monday, but there seem to be less panic buying. These pasta shelves were empty. JIM NOELKER/STAFF
The new Kroger's Marketplace on Alex Bell was busy Monday, but there seem to be less panic buying. These pasta shelves were empty. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

A dozen things I promise to never again take for granted once this pandemic ends (not necessarily in order of of importance):

• Getting my hair cut.

It’s growing over my ears and I’m too old to rock a ponytail.

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• Sitting at a table in a restaurant.

Dining out is one of my primary pleasures, especially on Friday nights. Now on Friday nights my wife and I can only set up a little table in front of the fireplace, light candles and pretend we’re dining somewhere wonderful (even if our menu is limited to carryout pizza.) Last Friday it was a French bistro in Saint-Remy-de-Provence. Next Friday we have reservations at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans.

• Playing tennis.

Even though I’m lousy at it.

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• Checking out a library book.

I don’t Kindle and we’re rapidly running out of books at our house we haven’t previously read. Currently I’m working on “Huckleberry Finn.” I have read it before, but that was 65 years ago, so I don’t remember a lot of it. And this time I’m reading just one page a day to make it last.

• Always finding spaghetti on grocery store shelves.

Sometimes there’s a stray box of fusilli or orecchiette, but often plain old spaghetti has become nearly as scarce as toilet paper.

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CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 11: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cincinnati Reds is safe at second base with a double as Mike Freeman #6 of the Cleveland Indians covers during the seventh inning at Progressive Field on June 11, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 11: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cincinnati Reds is safe at second base with a double as Mike Freeman #6 of the Cleveland Indians covers during the seventh inning at Progressive Field on June 11, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)

Credit: Ron Schwane

Credit: Ron Schwane

• Watching real sports on television.

I understand ESPN’s need to fill its air time with tapes of old games and whatnot, but I already know who won the Rams-Chiefs game in 2018. And no matter how hard I try, I can’t work up much enthusiasm for cornhole, stone skipping or ax throwing.

• Going to the gym.

For the past decade, five or six miles on the treadmill every other day has been part of my feeble attempt to atone for years of slothful living. Now my only exercise consists of an occasional stroll to the store to look for spaghetti.

• Seeing my family without connecting to FaceTime.

We were looking forward to an Easter visit from my youngest grandson, but that got cancelled. So what are we supposed to do with all those Peeps and chocolate bunnies?

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• Reading about a healthy stock market.

Financial experts keep assuring us that the market always bounces back. But the last bounce took 10 years. For many retirees, that could be more than a lifetime.

• Traveling on an airplane, no matter how cramped the seats are.

I keep getting messages on my phone advertising terrific airfares and destinations, but what good are they if we can’t leave the house?

• Going to the movies.

If only for the popcorn.

• Writing about something that has nothing to do with this pandemic.

Finally.