“What Do You Think Is Worse, Grampy? COVID or the Fires?

Steve Villano
3 min readOct 6, 2020
Our 9-year old granddaughter and her father, our son, look out at the future.

Our 9-year old granddaughter went out on the terrace of our 3-story Townhouse to drink a glass of water. She was by herself. She called down to me in the Garden, one floor below.

“Hi Grampy,” she said.

“Hi Sweetheart,” I answered, waving back to her. “You’re much taller than I am now.” She smiled. “Can I come up and sit with you?” I asked.

“Sure,” she said. So, I went upstairs, filled up a cup with water and we sat out on the terrace and chatted for a few minutes, uninterrupted. It was a rare moment in time, outdoors, enjoying the first day of non-smoky air in over a week. Then she asked me a question she had clearly been thinking deeply about.

“What do you think is worse, Grampy; COVID or the Fires?”

“Wow, “ I said. “That’s a very tough question. I guess I would say that the Fires are worse in the long-term. There are lots of scientists working on vaccines for COVID, so we can resume some normal things, like playing with friends, and I’m optimistic by next summer we’ll have a vaccine that we can take. So, I think, for now, we just have to keep wearing masks, but once we get that vaccine, it will reduce the threat of COVID.”

She and her sisters had been assiduous in wearing their masks since mid-March — the last time they visited us at our house — spending most of their time at home, doing distance learning, fortunate to have each other as playmates. They called the other kids in their neighborhood who didn’t wear masks, “The COVID Brigade.” Only within the past few weeks, had we expanded our “bubbles” to include each other. We could, at last, hug these loves of our lives, but agreed not to kiss, nor share food or drink.

“But, the fires, “ I said, conscious about how much she worries about natural disasters, “I think they’ll be with us every year, and we’ll just have to get better and better at dealing with them.”

“I think the Fires, too,” she said, “and the smoke that makes it so we can’t go outside to play. I feel bad for the people who have to evacuate their homes during COVID, too.” This from a nine-year old. Amazing.

“I do, too, honey, “ I said, “That’s why we’re so fortunate that if you had to evacuate you could come…