Ask Dr. Gramma Karen: Readers Share Their Ponies

chalk, driveway, grass, love, spread, heart, blue, pink

Perhaps you’ve heard the joke about a little boy gleefully digging through pile after pile of horse droppings. When asked what he was doing, he said, “Hey, with all this manure, there must be a pony in here somewhere!”

This phrase is commonly referenced when things are going poorly and yet, hope still prevails that some good can emerge.

When I asked my readers for examples of “ponies in the poop” that they have found during this time of fear and uncertainty dealing with Covid-19, I received many responses, some of which I share here.

My husband has been playing lots of music — oldies but goodies — and if you lived nearby and could peek in our windows, you would see us dancing.

Last night we went out on our kayak to watch the sunset and did a FaceTime with our besties to watch it together, virtually, at least.

Our condo residents go out on their balconies every day at 1:00 p.m. to sing and wave to each other. One resident takes pictures and emails them out to everyone since not all of the balconies face each other. Yesterday’s photos featured singing and waving while it was snowing!

Since my two boys are taking classes online, I set up this “cafeteria” of fruits, nuts and grains and leave it there for the seven hours they are “in school.”  This way they can grab nutritious snacks when convenient, and it frees me up to do my work.

I’m three weeks out with my hip replacement. The pony in the poop here in my small New England town is the wonderful people in the church of which I am the pastor. The members of my congregation have been a source of continued love and support to my husband and me, and they are taking care of one another as well.

Because of recent travels and my being an elder, I have to be in quarantine for 14 days. I know this is going to be hard, but Olivia, my 11-year-old next-door neighbor, has made it easier. She knows I absolutely love Tootsie Pops, so she put two in a baggie for each of my quarantine days, labeled them with how many days I had left, and tied them to the tree in my front yard. And on the 14th day, there is an additional bag of them.

          Olivia with the Tootsie Pop tree she created for her neighbor.

(Photo used with her permission and that of her parents)

Another afternoon I found Olivia had left a message for me on my storm door.

My young neighbor has helped me in immeasurable ways to feel less isolated during my quarantine.

I’m spending time sorting through pictures from the 1980s when our family was just starting. I’m reliving a lot of firsts: Our older daughter wearing her first pair of patent leather shoes for Easter at age 6 months; welcoming our younger daughter into our family a few years later; many themed birthday parties we had for both daughters. It’s been wonderful walking down memory lane!

A pony for me is that I have the time to go through my computer files and delete all that stuff, years of it, that is outdated. In going over my contacts list, I have reached out to many people, letting them know I’m thinking of them and hoping they’re doing okay in this pandemic. All have responded back, so hearing from them has been really nice.

Currently, our world is upside down, everything is in turmoil, and most of us are very anxious. Yet, while my wife and I were on a walk today, we came across an area where the kids had used street chalk to mark up the sidewalk, telling us to take a breath, relax, everything’s going to be okay. Amazing!

The first one says, “We will make it through together.” The second one urges us to “Spread love,” and the third one reminds us to “Stay positive.” These sidewalk chalkings have filled us with hope! We wish the kids were still around so we could thank them.

We have set up a neighborhood passeggiata (Italian for stroll). Weather permitting, at 5 p.m., several of us walk around the neighborhood with our glasses of wine – six or more feet apart from one another, of course – while we shout to each other and to the folks who come out on their porches to wave as we walk by.

My “pony” is discovering our small business food shops here in my coastal New England town. When my husband and I got back from being snowbirds in Florida, we went to the big markets trying to restock, but due to the coronavirus, we discovered long lines and empty shelves. I remembered that we had a health food store in nearby, where I managed to get some items in bulk. Also, we have a produce market that was much easier to get in and out of. I discovered prices are competitive, and I have vowed to continue supporting these smaller markets, especially when this crisis is over.

Watching this video reminds me that we can be physically apart, yet we can be connected in all the ways that count. Joyful, joyful … All pulling in the same direction, we can make beautiful music together!

And on that note, I remind everyone that the ponies are out there. We just have to keep looking for them!

Ask Dr. Gramma Karen is published every other Tuesday.
E-mail queries to [email protected]

Visit to learn about Dr. Gramma Karen’s book,
Ask Dr. Gramma Karen:  Helping Young Parents and Grandparents Deal with Thorny Issues

Like what you read? JOIN the Mommybites community to get the latest on FREE online classesparenting adviceeventschildcare listingscasting calls & raffles, and our Parents With Nannies Facebook group. SIGN UP NOW!

Tags: , ,