Coronavirus has created a lot of uncertainty in Charlotte. We don’t know how long it will be until normal life can resume, but what we do know is that Charlotte is resilient.
Inspired by The Washington Post, the Agenda staff wanted to share some of the moments that brought us joy in these stressful times. We could all use a little light right now.
(1) A visit to Wing Haven gardens
“Last week, my shoulders took residence up by my ears, a sign the anxiety was winning. I needed a Wing Haven visit. I had the gardens mostly to myself – just me, squirrels, chipmunks, birds, and a turtle. Azaleas promised to bloom any moment, and the wildflowers hadn’t waited for them. Birdsong abounded. A rabbit hopped toward me, ignoring the CDC’s six-foot distancing guidelines, before scampering away. Beyond these walls was dystopian fiction; inside them, a Disney movie. I went home to plant flower and veggie seeds; I filled the birdfeeder. Every spring, I fall in love with Charlotte all over again. This year — even this year— won’t be different.” — Jen McGivney, writer
(2) Text messages with faraway friends
“Ever since Davidson College closed for the semester and my friends had to disperse to our homes across the country, we’ve started doing ‘rose, bud, thorn, root’ over text. At the end of the day, we text each other a rose (something good that happened that day), bud (something we’re excited for), thorn (something bad), and root (something that made us laugh). It’s a cute way for the eight of us to keep up with each other!” — Alivia McAtee, creative strategist
(3) Free hand soap for all
“I went to my local Publix a week ago, and they were out of hand sanitizer. There was a staff person standing in front of where the hand sanitizer usually is, handing out complimentary hand soap, one for every family. Such a beautiful gesture in the light of panic, hoarding, and selfishness.” — Crystal Marie, writer
(4) Community built from driveways
“Earlier this week on Instagram, a woman named Deb Mitchell messaged the Agenda about a Cotswold neighborhood gathering she organized — social distancing edition. At 7 p.m. on Saturday, neighbors would walk out on their driveway and wave to one another. Then, Deb would blast ‘God Bless America’ and ‘Happy,’ and folks would dance and wave American flags. I went to see for myself: Dozens of families stood at the edge of their driveways, with big smiles, talking to their neighbors from afar. ‘We are a resilient country, and we are resilient people,’ Deb announced to the street.” — Emma Way, managing editor
(5) Humor in unlikely places
“I had to go into a doctor’s office last week and mood was (understandably) tense. When I walked back with the nurse all I could hear was laughter. There was an older woman getting her blood pressure taken and absolutely nailing some jokes. Within two minutes she had five nurses, two other patients, and me all laughing. It was such a small moment, but I left the appointment feeling lighter. It’s amazing how powerful a little humor can be.” — Mary Gross, writer
(6) A drive-thru food drive
“My wife set up a drive-thru food drive at our church. Everyday, she goes to move the food inside or to the food bank and comes back so grateful to the community for giving so much to those who are in need.” — Jason Murtha, chief technology officer
(7) Jugs of beer to get us through
“Seeing Charlotte Beer Garden’s half gallon jugs of beer on Instagram were one of the few things that made me laugh out loud in the past couple weeks. The sheer absurdity of it as an option made it perfect. Even though I’m not a big beer drinker, the moment my boyfriend and I could hop in the car and grab two jugs, we did. Cheers to the Beer Garden for bringing some goofiness to such a serious time.” — Lizzy Sirkin, chief revenue officer
(8) Weekly traditions live on
“My group of friends and I get together just about every week to hang out and enjoy take out from our favorite sushi place, Ru San’s. This week instead of hanging out in person, we each ordered Ru San’s and FaceTimed. It was nice to laugh, eat a Cowboy Maki roll, and have a sliver of normalcy during these crazy times.” — Samantha Alexander, head of production
(9) When one idea inspires many
“After schools closed, Christopher Sottile of The Loyalist Market decided to take action. He posted on Facebook that his team would be providing free grilled cheese, ham sandwich, or turkey sandwich to any child currently receiving free lunches within the state’s school system. More than 10 other restaurants joined the cause. The initial goal was to raise $16,000 on GoFundMe to provide lunch to 250 kids each day. Charlotte blew him away, donating more than $42,000. Now, The Loyalist Market and other participating restaurants are providing lunch delivered to neighborhood kids in need.” — Ted Williams, publisher
(10) Signs of spring
“Pollen falling like snow. The geese honking back northward. Buds pushing out of stems to seek the sun. When Twitter gets to be too much, walking in the woods of our neighborhood park brings me back.” — Ely Portillo, writer
(11) Fitness pros pivot
“As part of the county’s ban on mass gatherings, all gyms in the Charlotte area were ordered to shut their doors last week. It’s an undoubtedly difficult and stressful time for gym owners and fitness professionals. It’s also weird for everyone who goes to the gym regularly. I’ve been inspired by the dedication of local fitness pros — like Shane Lucas, Emily Daly, and Caitlin and James Gulley — who are using their Instagram pages to post daily, challenging workouts. It’s really helpful for anyone working out at home these days to have creative, energetic local pros to guide us.” — Katie Peralta, senior editor
(12) Positive messages written in chalk
“The warm weather and sunshine has been my saving grace during all of this. My boyfriend and I, and our dog Roy, have been on tons of walks. Kids in the neighborhood have left encouraging messages and doodles in sidewalk chalk. My favorite message was from a kid who asked: Do you agree that we should do a neighborhood drive-in movie in our cars? People left tally marks as a yes.” — Brianna Crane, associate editor
“On an 80-degree Saturday, the kids in our east Charlotte neighborhood, none older than 10, burst from their houses and onto the sidewalks with chalk. They were there most of the day, backing up, backing up, backing up, way down the street. On Sunday morning we took a walk to see what they’d written.
You have the biggest heart.
You are brave.
You are loved.
You make everyone smile.
How encouraging, we thought. The ‘You’ Generation.” — Michael Graff, editor-in-chief