February 8, 2021

Socks, Masks and Fireflies

Becky Villareal

In early February 2020, my husband Ramon and I were on a long-awaited trip to New Orleans. We were able to visit the French Quarters, the WWII Museum, ride on the Natchez, and take tours of the Garden District as well as the cemetery where the Voodoo Princess resides. It was a magical trip which we enjoyed immensely right down to the evening parades they had every night to welcome the season of Mardi-Gras. We even visited Bourbon street and listened to the best jazz and bucket drumming I have ever heard.

Little did we know this was going to be one of the last trips we would be able to take for a very long time. As recently retired teachers, we were enjoying our freedom and the use of our savings. Within a few days of our return, we found out about that COVID 19 had reached our shores and was not limited to China. We were hearing that it would be over by April, no need to panic, don’t bother with social distancing and masks were not mandatory. At least, that’s what we were being told.

But the doctors and scientists were telling us something else. We were being told this virus was dangerous to people over sixty-five with underlying conditions like diabetes. We needed to stay inside, not leave the house for any reason, and if we left the house to wear a mask. Something that neither my husband nor I owned.

I began by trying to make us masks out of socks, t-shirts, and anything else I could find around the house. Sloppy at best, it did give us some type of relief when we had to make our weekly trips to the post office, grocery store, and pharmacy. That was in March.

I take care of my grandchildren several days out of the week and we look forward to these days spent with them. When my daughter and her husband went into lock down, I felt like a light had left my soul. That’s when I pulled out a manuscript I had never finished, gave it a spiritual spin, wrote away. As I prayed for my family and listened to hymns on Pandora, I felt like the light was returning into my life.

Now that things have loosened up a tiny bit, I am able to watch my grandchildren again. We never go to the parks or the mall like we use to. But we do play in the sprinklers in the backyard and discover fireflies that start their magical light dance around eight o’clock. My grandson is learning Spanish by playing Loteria as my granddaughter learns how to walk by playing hide and seek Meema and Popi.

As much as it seems like the outside world if falling apart, my family is safe, well, and I am thankful that the Lord has kept it so. After all He left us such the precious gift of peace when He said,

“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. “John 14:27

She was born in Dallas, Texas in 1954 to Missionary parents who traveled throughout the Southwest. For her experiences as a child, she has learned the benefit of being multicultural in a diverse society. She loves working on her family history and incorporating her experiences into her writing that has resulted in four published books:

Gianna the Great

The Broken Branches

Snake Holes

She also loves to read, color, spend time with her grandchildren.


  1. Lovely reflection included on LuzDelMes Tri-Anthology 2020. Thank you for your support.

  2. Thank you so much Becky, enjoyed your post. 2020 I believe has taught us a lot.