Remember when the word virtual had nothing to do with computers? Heck, how many of you remember when computers didn’t exist? At least not in our everyday lives. Everything was actual. When I was sick, Dr. O’Donnell, my pediatrician, made actual house calls, and our parish priest, Father Giovetto, actually gave me communion at home.

Shopping was in person, and if the item you wanted wasn’t in stock you were out of luck. You had to wait until they got another delivery, which could take weeks, so stores in downtown Wilkes-Barre were like madhouses before Christmas, with shoppers competing for limited items. I loved going into Bartikowsky’s with my mother, ducking out of the December cold, being jostled by frazzled shoppers in heavy winter coats, desperate to be the next customer called.

Now just about everything is virtual, meaning online. My son had a virtual visit with a health coach. My friend had a baby shower for her daughter on Zoom, and later the baptism was live on Facebook. If I want to purchase anything — and I mean anything — I open my laptop and take a virtual trip to Amazon. I can even order my own coffin and it will be delivered to my house. The world is at my fingertips. Ain’t it grand?

Yet, I miss the crowds. I miss holding babies at baptisms, feeling their soft, pink skin, smelling their newness. I can almost taste the cookies at the party that follows. Virtual happy hours with my friends let us catch up as we drink wine, but I can’t hug them when they tell me sad news. Virtual is fine, but it doesn’t come close to real.

Our Wyoming Area students have been virtual all year, but you can’t play virtual sports or go to a virtual prom. Our seniors will graduate without the usual activities and celebrations that kids look forward to. After 12 years of being underclassmen, the day finally arrived when they would be the ones who run the school, but a virus took all of that away. The parents have been creative, trying to give the kids things to remember. Last year, when graduation couldn’t be in person, they had a parade with the kids in cars and the avenue lined with cheering teachers and families. Isolation is making us creative.

This year’s parents association has begun Adopt a Warrior Class of 2021 on Facebook. If you go to that page, you will see photos of seniors who would like to be adopted and descriptions of themselves. Don’t worry, they won’t move in with you. You just remotely do nice things for them. For example, you could have sent your senior a small Valentine’s Day present, like a gift card to Dunkin Donuts or a basket of snacks. Nothing expensive. It’s the thought that counts. In a year when there are no memorable events, it’s nice to send the kids off on a positive note. Receiving a gift in the mail says I know you and you are important to me, even though we may be strangers.

At college next year, or in the armed services, or working in the real world one day, a WA grad will remember that he was part of a community that cares. We are all a part of the Warrior family. That’s what we have to hang on to and what will get us through.

If you would like to be a part of this program, as a senior wanting to be adopted or as a person who would like to adopt, go to the Adopt a Warrior Class of 2021 and select the community tab. Not on Facebook? Contact the Senior Parents Association at Wyomingarea2021@gmail.com. The parents hope that every senior who wants to participate will be adopted.

If all goes well, there will be an actual graduation and the kids will be able to actually thank their adoptive parents.

I really hope so.

Food distribution

Wyoming, West Wyoming and Exeter residents are eligible for free food from the Al Beech Food Pantry from 2 to 4 p.m. every Wednesday at Church of Christ Uniting, 786 W. Market St., Kingston. Food is available without proof of income, but proof of residency is required. This is drive through only. No walk ups. Remain in your car and food will be placed in your trunk only. Everyone is welcome.

St. Barbara’s Lenten food sale

St. Barbara Parish will once again hold its Lenten food sale in the parish center, Rear 212 Memorial St., Exeter. Due to the pandemic, the sale will be takeout only.

Every Friday in Lent from 3 to 6 p.m., the full menu will be offered, with potato pancakes, $1 each; pierogi, six for $5, and halushki, $6 per quart. Orders are cash only at the door. There are no pre-orders.

The hall has been rearranged for seating while you wait for your order to allow for social distancing. Face masks must be worn and 6 feet of distance between others must be maintained.

In case of a snow storm, the sale will not be held.

Wyoming sanitation billsWyoming Borough sanitation bills have been mailed and are in face period until May 14. The price is $250. Late fee of $50 will be added as of May 15. A senior discount is in effect until May 14, with senior fee being $240.

Cash will not be accepted. Check or money orders should be made payable to Wyoming Borough Sanitation. Bills can be paid online at wyomingpa.org using credit card or e-check. A small transaction fee will apply.

Tax mailing

Wyoming Borough announced county/municipal tax bills have been mailed. The discount period ends April 15. Face period ends June 15 and penalty ends Dec. 31.

First United Presbyterian Church newsFirst United Presbyterian Church of Wyoming holds in-person worship at 11 a.m. Sundays. Masks are required and social distancing measures are in place. For planning purposes, reservations are requested and can be made by calling the church office at 570-609-5410.

Services are also broadcast live on Facebook on Sunday at 11 a.m. Look for the live stream link presbywp.org. Also, Zoom Bible study and prayer time are held every Wednesday. Call 570-609-5410 for information.

Exeter refuse stickers

Refuse stickers for Exeter are now available. The price for residents under 64 is $170 if purchased by Feb. 28. From March 1 to March 31, the price will be $200. For seniors who have reached 64 by March 31, 2021, the rebate price is $130 until Feb. 28 and then $150 from March 1 through March 31. Mail or place a check or money order in the box marked refuse, taxes and zoning and a sticker will be mailed to you. Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope, business size No. 10, to 1101 Wyoming Ave., Exeter, PA 18643. There is no admittance to the borough building until further notice. Call 570-654-3001, ext. 2, with questions.

Bulk collection stickers are $35 per item. A bulk item includes small furniture, carpet, mattress or an appliance.

Barbara Bullions writes about Exeter, Wyoming and West Wyoming every week. To list an item, email barbarabullions@gmail.com or call 570-301-2185 by Monday.

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