Looking back over the last few months navigating my way through the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve learned a few things. I know I wrote about this back in May, but since I pride myself on being a lifelong learner, I’ve got a few more things to add.

Here are just a few:

• Life doesn’t need to be as hectic as I was making it. Especially in the early days, Aggie and I weren’t going anywhere. We got weekly essentials at the grocery store, but for the most part, we stayed put. Our cars sat idle, saving us travel and maintenance costs. I was reminded of Henry David Thoreau and his experiment at Walden Pond. His motto was “Simplify, simplify, simplify.” While I didn’t move to a remote area of New England and live a life of solitude, I think I put Thoreau’s motto into practice pretty well.

• Backgammon is fun to play. I’ve never been much of a board game guy as I’ve gotten older. It may stem from me getting my rear end kicked by my siblings playing Monopoly growing up. Aggie taught me how to play backgammon during the early days of the pandemic. It became our late afternoon ritual before watching the evening news. It was a good 45 minutes spent and I got better at it. It has increased my board game playing confidence level so much that I’m thinking it’s time to challenge my brother and sister to a Monopoly rematch.

• My music collection seems to have been made for this pandemic. I have a pretty extensive catalog of albums and compact discs (yes, I still buy CDs and I’ll not be judged about it.) I also play music digitally through my phone, listening with a wireless speaker. In the Robert Earl Keen song, “Coming Home,” one line rings even more true these days: “Ain’t nothing better than your own back yard.” I agree wholeheartedly. I recommend listening to music on your porch. Toss in a cold beer while watching a sunset and it’s even better.

• A kiss through a Zoom visit with our granddaughters still counts as a kiss. We have seen Peyton and Adeline in person these last few months, but talk to them often via Zoom. When Grandpa or Grandma asks for a kiss, we get one. That is usually followed by their parents wiping down their phone or tablet from the slobber, but that’s OK.

• I haven’t seen my brother Steve and his family or my sister Julie and her family since before this pandemic began. But we have spoken by phone often and it is always good to hear their voices. While I haven’t spoken as much with Aggie’s family, I’d say the same about them when we do talk. I’m looking forward to when we finally get family together again. And I have a message for my brother and sister when we do: You both better bring your “A” games. I’m ready for a Monopoly rematch.