Jill Stahl Tyler: Silver Linings | Time for conversations, the 'new normal' and lunch with friends

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Jill Stahl Tyler's "Silver Linings" is a daily reflection on uplifting topics. Here are her entries for May 18-20.

By Jill Stahl Tyler

May 18

My sister answered the phone cheerily today. We needed to talk about how to load a computer program onto our mother's computer.

But first my sister chatted away about the flowers blooming in her yard a specific color of coral she was looking for set off some chairs she had set out the way the creek was glistening in the background the color green on the lawn

I never, ever talk to my sister this calmly during a weekday morning. Never. She is typically out the door, driving to her job, by 6:15 or 6:30 a.m. OK, sometimes we'll grab a moment while she's driving. But the hour time difference means that when she is in the car, I'm getting kids out the door. Matter of fact, it's rare to catch her at all during the workday. If I really need to find her, it's a quick conversation, nothing more.

But today, she is furloughed for a week. In her case, it's going towards her vacation time, so it's not all bad. This would not have been her choice of dates. Still, it's a wonderful time of year to spend a few days off, with long daylight hours and warmer temperatures to enjoy.

I am quite happy that she chose to spend a little bit of that time to converse with her sister. That's my silver lining for today.

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May 19

There is so much about right now that feels different. Or maybe even I would go so far to say as it feels wrong.

Then again, there are moments that are completely and totally normal.

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This evening, those two conflicting thoughts met together.

Son number two is excitedly back to work full time as a plumber's apprentice. They are pushed on a project right now, and he's getting extra hours. He is literally counting up the overtime pay and calculating tax rates. (There is truly no better "real-world training" than the real world.) He is only 19 after all, and it's his first job. It's normal for his viewpoint to be all about himself, the employee.

At the same time, son number two is in a unique position. He works in the family business, and his father can answer any question he wants to ask — including the one that sticks in all first-year employees. "Why doesn't the company pay me more? I work hard!"

Tonight's conversation focused on the importance of finding jobs in today's uncertain economy. It's a unique and unknown business environment for all of us right now — something small business owners are acutely aware of. Their exchange of ideas brought a little more clarity into son number two's overall understanding.

The normal world collided straight into our current one while they were talking.

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Watching that conversation unfold turned into my silver lining.

May 20

The text message came out on Monday. "How about a socially distanced picnic in the apple orchard on Wednesday? Weather looks good!"

With a bit more coordination, it was a go. Seven friends could make it, all driving in separate cars. We hiked up the hill — taking care to maintain distance. We settled ourselves in a spot with a great overview of all the blossoming trees below us. We each ate our own lunches, because of course there is no sharing these days.

A quick hour of conversation and laughs later, we returned back to our waiting conference calls, computer screens and email in-boxes.

This is not a group that typically tries to gather for lunch — because most of us don't work at home all the time. Today's lunch would not have happened if it were not for our strange lives right now. Another silver lining identified and enjoyed.

Jill Stahl Tyler is a parent to two children involved in the local schools. She is president of Global Cow in Brattleboro. Contact her at jill@globalcow.com. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.


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