Friday, May 14, 2021

Unexpected humor lightens the mood and unites

| January 27, 2021 1:00 AM

Never in a million years could anyone have predicted that a curmudgeonly 79-year-old from Vermont would steal the social media spotlight from the recent past and newly-minted presidents following the inauguration last week. By Friday the unlikely uniter of a vociferous and divided America was none other than Senator Bernie Sanders.

An image of the scowling masked senator sitting off by himself on the capitol steps, in a folding chair wearing a puffy winter coat, sensible shoes and giant hand-knit mittens was ripe for the internet and Photoshop. Hundreds, maybe thousands of memes were created and shared.

Just when I thought one was the best ever another would pop up and make me laugh out loud. It didn't take long to realize that the laughter was being shared by all, regardless of political affiliation.

Giving new life to that '80s cult classic, "Weekend at Bernie's," the memes were funny and clever with two-time presidential candidate Bernie appearing in classic movie scenes, at local businesses and on the wing of an airliner with the caption, "flying stand-by on Air Force One." On Thursday night a Spokane TV station had the image on their weather forecast which was for much cooler, mitten-wearing "Bernie" weather.

He was inserted into family photos and historic events. Bernie's team were good sports; by the end of the day Friday posting sweatshirts printed with the image on his website and selling out in a few hours. All proceeds were donated to Meals on Wheels.

Laughter has been in short supply the past year and I'll be long grateful for the rare opportunity I had to "Feel the Bern."

Over the past 11 months I've been awed by those who made lemonade from the lemons that were handed to us in terms of staying home, staying distant and trying to stay healthy during a pandemic. Crafters and artisans found much more time and motivation to knit, sew, paint, weld and create art. The outdoorsy hiked mountains and trails and ran virtual races. The DIY industry flourished. Those who could go to work, did.

I realized that my major accomplishment during COVID has been growing my roots ... this week measuring an impressive five inches of gray. My gray is not to be confused with gorgeous silver or white, nope, mine is decidedly salt and pepper with salt slightly winning.

My March appointment was cancelled and by the time salons opened back up in May I was going on five months of not coloring the pesky roots. So I thought, what the heck, this can be my 2020 hobby. Instead of dying the grown-out roots I had some highlight foils to camouflage the line between gray and brown. Then for most of the summer I wore my hair in a ponytail or held back by plastic hair clips. The fashion statement went well with pajama pants and backyard swim attire.

Since I've mostly been out in public via Zoom and it's not a flattering medium, not many people would have noticed, or so I hoped.

I've been back to the salon for more high and low lights while I decide how long the gray roots hobby will continue. I'm thinking I'll wait until May 2021 to decide whether to take the leap and embrace fully the gray.

Some days I don't recognize myself in the mirror. I'm a brunette in my mind's eye and I'm not so delusional to think that coloring my hair makes me look like I'm 30. I own my 68 years on this planet.

Friends and family are split about 50/50 on the topic of Gray Kerri or Brunette Kerri. Someone asked me what my husband's preference is and I said, "Bert likes Happy Kerri so he's good either way."

In the whole scheme of things, my roots project is far down the list of important issues but it's been a much needed distraction from worrying about things that are out of my control. The estimated 70% of women in the U.S. who use hair coloring products will understand.

Happy birthday today to Mike Hendricks, Alex Jimenez, and Khloe Peacock. Tomorrow Jenni Grimmett, Valerie Wilcox, Hope Newman, Lauren Adair, John Andres and Chad Oakland will celebrate. Rachel Riggs, Cindy Peugh, Allen Hildebrant, Don Waddell and David Gerzina, Sr. are Friday's birthday crew.

On Saturday Jim Custer, Shannon Damiano, Mel Palmer, Sierra Graham, Brylee Dresser and Helen Sargent hear the birthday song. Jennifer Alexander, Robert Brown, Cassidy Peacock, Sandy Scarlett, Erik Salvador, Linda Wolff, Mary Bell and Bernadette Myers celebrate on the last day of January.

On the first day of February my first born Alyssa Stromberg, Laura Little, Colleen Provost, Leslie Tibbs, Tonya Myers, Kristi Rietze, Susan Cook, Deedie Beard, James Ownbey, Jesse Anglen and Jamie Benner will be doing the birthday dance. Donna Wemple, Randy Medlock, Chad VanBrunt and Seth Yost share Tuesday birthdays.

Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email