We rang in 2022 in Paris. Stayed in our hotel. It’s a great hotel. Why would we want to leave? Besides, Omicron is raging outside.

There’s a new mask mandate in Paris. You wear them even outdoors. I’ve been doing that since we arrived. Double masking.

The mask mandate kicked in at midnight New Year’s eve. We were walking the Champs-Elysees. Sure enough, at midnight, the others in our party were stopped by Paris police and told to put their masks on.

According to France 24, France is leading Europe in new Covid infections. A record 208,000 new cases confirmed on Wednesday.

Needless to say, it was a quiet New Year for us. Dinner in the hotel.

As we sat at our table, we noticed a lady sitting alone. A bit older. There she sat.

The discussion began. Why was she alone? Did she want to be? We heard her speak. She’s American. Do we ask her to join us?

Finally, we decided. Let’s ask. She said yes. She came over. A new friend. And what a find!

We thought we were rescuing a sad person all alone on New Year’s Eve. Far from it. She rescued us.

Smart. Educated. Funny. Southern. She was in Paris alone because she wanted to be. She had dinner alone because she wanted to. She joined us because she wanted to.

We made a new friend at the end of 2021. A crappy year that ended with a little hope.

I think we will stay in touch. Maybe go see her in Asheville. Maybe she will come to Tampa.

I said she rescued us. One lost a parent this year. Another put a parent in memory care. I got a pacemaker and a stint.

It’s been a year. Glad to see it end. Our friend brought us joy and light.


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