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  • Writer's pictureMarilyn Gardner Woods

Back to The Phantom, the catcher behind homeplate and Halloween costumes...

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

Our mask-nation is gradually unveiling itself.

An awkwardness permeates as we cope with “to wear or not to wear.”

For some, masks dangle on one side of the head creating a pixie look as the ear is pulled to half-mast; for others masks serve as a waiting chin strap NFL player style; while throngs display looks of panic as they search frantically through pockets and purses for masks tucked safely away. Disposable masks. Statement masks. Brand masks. Team masks. Plain masks.

Some wear no masks, either by choice or forgetfulness.

I had finally developed the mask habit. They say it takes twenty times to develop a new habit. I took to slipping it onto my upper arm, the last step in my dressing routine each day. Rarely have I been caught without a face covering. I still do not know whether it’s correct to wear the blue or the white side out with the disposable paper masks. I do know the wired edge goes up to conform to the contour of the nose bridge. I can’t count the number of these disposables I’ve seen littering sidewalks.

The other day I was given my first rainbow-color striped disposable mask.

I watched a young woman in Johnny’s Tavern, an iconic and unfortunately extremely crowded restaurant in Amherst, Massachusetts as she struggled to serve far too many customers at way too many tables. We are all on the move again. She was apologetic, over-burdened, and masked. I tensed each time she drew in deep breaths passing by with an over loaded tray of beer mugs, wine glasses, and piles of french fries which she lowered onto the serving stand with the skill of a crane operator.

Before she began serving, she huffed and puffed before pulling her mask from her nose to breathe deeply. Unbelievably difficult to work, exercise, orate—even procreate I can imagine—masked.

At my table in the restaurant, we all breathed a sigh of relief as we were able to remove our masks.

Not our server.

I hate wearing a mask—any mask. Consequently, my poundage is increasing at an alarming rate; except at home, eating is the only time you’re excused from wearing one.

But soon.

We're headed back to a version of square one when we wore masks most often on Halloween. CDC is saying one thing; governors another. June 15 in California—no masks required anywhere for those who have been fully vaccinated. However, to get into places like museums, on planes, into theaters, ballgames, or concerts, a certificate of vaccination may be required.

A new document to keep track of - can it go into the Apple Wallet?

Moving forward, what to do with all the masks?

Artists are already creating projects with cast offs. Quilt makers fantasize a contemporary spin on grandmother’s fan pattern. Writers memorialize the face coverings we’ve been stuck with well over a year.

I’m thinking a bonfire...

at the beach.

An un-masked bonfire...

of pandemic masks.

Do you have a plan for your

leftover masks?


One of the things I love most about writing a blog is hearing from people all over. This one from a mega-talented college friend, Delia, living in Horseshoe Bay, Texas is a wonderful example:

Don reads the Wall Street Journal.

There was an article about a restaurant owner in New York whose business was destroyed by COVID regulations.

He is seated in the empty space , $200,000 in debt.

Don asked me to paint him.

Don titled it “Shattered dream, 2020”

The mask is on the table.

We have offered to give him the painting should he be interested.


I have “ditched” mine.

There are still some stores in Dallas that ask you to wear them. So far, I have complied. By the end of the month however, I will not do business at any establishment that still requires them. Fortunately,

the majority of the stores and businesses I frequent have “ dropped the masks! Lou

You inquired about masks?!?! I have gone from Edvard Munch’s Scream to Life is Good! 👏👍J. Murdock

My area is without masks other than doctors' offices. My reaction is yippee and great rejoicing! MM

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