I love this community, and I’m relaying messages from Madison Park senior citizens.

COVID-19 is spiking, and it’s vital for our most vulnerable residents that we wear masks correctly, keep social distancing and not gather so we slow the spread.

Several seniors have told me that it’s hard for them to be heard speaking through their masks. They don’t feel comfortable speaking up to the people making deliveries or moving quickly near them in stores who are not wearing their masks correctly and are coming within 6 feet.

They request that I (and other strong-voiced Boomers and youngsters) do not hesitate to ask others to pull their mask over their nose or remind them to keep 6 feet of distance in businesses.

Some are grieving the loss of loved ones to COVID-19 and can’t travel to out-of-state funerals. Our neighborhood, like America, has diverse and, at times, polarized political beliefs.

One senior overheard people doubting the severity of COVID-19 publicly, and I can’t imagine how it must feel to our grieving neighbors that some folks do not take this pandemic seriously.

Regardless of who you voted for, please be a thoughtful neighbor: Smile with your eyes, and keep your mask over your nose.

I, myself, am from South Carolina, where many people doubted COVID-19 was real, and my mother is very ill there with COPD.

This will be my first Christmas separated from her. I’m one of nine, and she postponed Christmas for our family with insistence that we will put a tree up when it’s safe in spring or summer of 2021 to make up for the holiday. She and I talk on the phone every day, and she is mailing me my favorite Christmas ornaments to ease the distance.

Inspired by her grateful perspective and how lovely it feels to share gratitude and grief, I created something for our neighborhood. It’s called the Gratitude and Grievance line, 206-376-6817, a place for you to leave a voicemail about something that made your day or frustrated you. Leave your name and number if you would like me to call you back, but remaining anonymous is OK, too.

I’ll see you as a newly minted cashier in Bert’s. Please have patience with me as I learn a million checkout codes! Please note that many holiday spices and popular items are not available from suppliers. COVID-19 causes very unpredictable shortages, but it cannot dim the community spirit of Madison Park. May God bless each and every one of you, and please be gentle with yourself as we finish this difficult year.

P.S. My dog found a ring on the beach, and I’m eager to return it. Please call and leave a message describing it if you are missing one, 206-376-6817.

Lauren Moore, Madison Park