For weeks now, our people who work in the medical field have been fighting the battle with the COVID-19 virus. My granddaughter is a nurse, working in the emergency room at a local hospital, where she has taken care of patients who are positive with the virus.

I received a call from her a few days ago as she drove the hour home from work after her long shift. I could tell from her tone of voice that she was exhausted both physically and emotionally. The ER had been extremely busy, not only with virus patients, but also numerous other health problems. She had cared for patients who could not speak English and, although there was an interpreter, it was hard for them to understand what was happening to them. A patient had begged her, “Please don’t let me die, please don’t let me die!”

As I sat alone, being one of those older people who was “staying at home”, how could I help her? I couldn’t have her stop in so I could hold her close and give her a hug. I could only listen to her, hope to find the right words to say to make her feel better and tell her I loved her.

The next day, I felt like I needed to do something for her. Then an idea came to me! Comfort food! It is the hugs and kisses we can’t give in person! Comfort food soothes the soul and makes people feel better! Comfort food can be different things to each person.

After a long, hard day of farm work, so much done by hand, comfort food for my dad was a meal of fried ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, fresh corn from the garden, a slice of bread covered with apple butter and a big glass of cold milk. My dad never drank coffee or tea. The food not only nourished his hard working body, it let him relax, enjoy and put aside the problems for a while.

For my husband, “Lum”, all food was comfort food. As a child in a large family, there wasn’t always an abundance of food, so just being able to sit down and enjoy a full meal was comfort food for him. And he enjoyed it! His favorite comfort food was homemade bread, cinnamon rolls and black raspberry pie. In our many years of marriage, he enjoyed a lot of it.

Everyone has a different idea of what gives them comfort in times of stress. Usually comfort food is a carbohydrate or something that contains sugar. Foods like macaroni and cheese, pizza, French fries, donuts, cookies and more. There are many who, in times of stress, reach for chocolate! Although it is unusual, for some, it can be fruit, a vegetable or even just a cup of coffee or tea. For children who fall and skin their knees or receive “ouchies” in other ways, the comfort food is usually a cookie given with a hug and kiss. Comfort food can be anything that eases stress and makes a person feel better regardless of age.

So what did I do? I made brownies for her and her family, put them in a container, left it in the mailbox, called her and told her to pick them up on her way home from work! I was hoping they would help her feel better and baking them for her made me feel better! So, if you cannot be on the front fighting the virus, send comfort food to someone who is or to an elderly person who is “staying at home” and all alone. If you don’t know anyone to give to, leave something in a stranger’s mailbox! Just think how surprised they will be and how it might change their day!

Barb Lumley wrote this column to be published in The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.

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