Old people are annoying. I know because I am one. When I was teaching psychology, my 12th graders usually had an enthusiastic response to the unit on aging, eager to vent complaints about the elderly. We drive too slowly on the avenue and walk too slowly down aisles in the grocery store. We take forever to pay at the checkout and always want to write a check. Then we grouse about the price of things because we’re on fixed incomes. Our houses are too hot and smell funny. Our clothes are out of style. We’re cranky. We never throw anything out, even if it’s chipped or faded.

Of course, when I asked if that was how they saw their grandparents, the answer was quite the opposite. Oh no! Not Nana or Pop Pop. They’re sweet and kind and generous. Their homes smell of baked goods. Every student had a tender story to share of their grandparents, the best in the world. Grandparents are among the most beloved sector of our population and their loss is felt deeply. Once, I gave eighth grade students a writing assignment about an event that had a profound effect on them. I’ll never forget the boy who stood up to read his essay about the passing of his grandfather. As he read, tears began to stream down his cheeks. He got so choked up he couldn’t finish and had to leave the room to compose himself. I still see him in my mind and wonder if he remembers that day or knows how he melted my heart.

We are not only one of the most beloved segments of society but also the most vulnerable to COVID. People over the age of 65 are more likely to die from the infection. The virus is rampant, worse than ever, and it is hitting Wyoming Valley hard. People hospitalized and dying are no longer strangers from New York or California. They are our friends and neighbors in Wyoming, West Wyoming, and Exeter. Every one of us probably knows someone infected or at least someone who knows someone infected, yet I still see people flirting with disaster.

Most of the people I see at the grocery store wear the required mask, but many just cover their mouths, leaving noses exposed as though they are not part of the respiratory system. Some people wear the mask under their chins until approaching another person, imagining that droplets they’ve been exhaling are not still hanging in the air waiting to hitch a ride on someone or something we touch. I really can’t figure out the person who wears the mask but removes it to speak. I like to think those people have the best of intentions and don’t realize what they are doing. I believe we all care about our neighbors and our communities. After writing so many articles about the good deeds and generosity of our people, how could I feel otherwise?

Doctors from the CDC tell us that this winter will be devastating, but the small gesture of wearing a mask will save some lives. To those who feel invincible or who do not accept the opinion of the experts, I say err on the side of caution. Wear the mask anyway. Do it for all of the grandparents who will be missed by the children they dote on. Do it for the essential workers who can’t work from home. Do it for the old woman helping you find a nice pinot noir at the grocery store. Do it for me. Please.

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 the Church of Christ Uniting, 786 W. Market St., Kingston. The food is available without any proof of income, but proof of residency is required. This is drive through only. No walk ups. You must remain in your car and food will be placed in your trunk only. Everyone is welcome.

Wyoming police signs

Support Wyoming Borough Police Department by purchasing a Back the Blue sign, available for purchase at the borough office for $10 each.

Wyoming notices

Wyoming residents are reminded they are not to utilize the West Wyoming compost site for their yard waste or they will be fined. The contract with West Wyoming was terminated in 2019.

If trash or recycling is not picked up on the scheduled day, report it immediately to J.P. Mascaro, 1-800-243-7575, so they can dispatch workers to your residence. Also inform the borough.

Pay bills to the borough with credit cards online at wyomingpa.org. Sanitation fees for 2020 are now $300. Letters have been mailed to residents who have not paid and citations will be issued. Vacant properties are not exempt from fees. Rental property owners are responsible, not the tenant. No cash payments will be accepted. Pay with credit cards online at wyomingpa.org. Check or money order should be made out to Wyoming Borough Sanitation. All bills owed to the borough may be placed in the secure box outside the entrance to the building.

First United Presbyterian

Church services

First United Presbyterian Church of Wyoming will have two Christmas Eve services, at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. To accommodate social distancing, reservations are requested and can be made beginning Monday, Dec. 14, by calling the office at 570-609-5410.

There will be a Blue Christmas (longest night) service streamed at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21. Call the church office for the Zoom link.

In person worship is held 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 notices

Bulk collection has resumed in Exeter. Stickers are $35 for each item. To purchase bulk stickers, contact the Exeter Borough Refuse office at 570 654-3001, ext. 2. A bulk item includes small furniture, carpet, mattress or an appliance.

The borough building is closed to the public and open only to essential personnel until further notice. Public needs for all police, fire and medical emergencies are still being served. Dial 911 in the event of an emergency.

Payments can be dropped off at the secure payment box outside the entrance of the borough building for trash, taxes, tickets, building permits, and dumpster permits.

Refuse stickers are in penalty phase and now cost $250. It is mandatory to purchase a sticker. All refuse bills should be mailed to Exeter Borough Refuse, 1100 Wyoming Ave., Exeter, PA 18643 or placed in the payment box. Make checks or money orders out to Exeter Borough. No cash will be accepted.

For information, call Lynda at 570-654-3001, ext. 2 or visit www.exeterborough.com.

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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