Best Advice: If you have the choice to go to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It may be a trick, but if not, mmmmmmmmmmm pie!

Pandemic: “Ding-dong!” Assuming that the ringing doorbell was simply a package delivery, I paid no attention to it. For the first few months of the pandemic, my family and I let packages sit outside for hours before moving them indoors, in order to avoid touching any coronavirus.

“Ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong!” As the insistent bell kept ringing, I finally put on a mask and opened the door to see a young woman– our neighbor from across the street.

“Excuse me, our family lost our dog, may I please look for her in your backyard? She’s very shy, and she may come out of hiding if she hears my voice.”

Agreeing, my mom and I walked her to our backyard. After looking around and failing to see her dog, she wrung her hands in worry and commented that the sun was going to set soon.

I walked out onto the street, where around five other neighbors, including some friends my age, were already standing. Together, we helped her knock on doors, asking each family if they could open their backyard door to let our neighbor look for her dog. We knew that we would have to move quickly, as it would be much harder to find a lost animal in the dark. As we reached the end of the street, she got a phone call, exclaiming that her dog had been found by someone at a nearby park. The person who found the dog had called the phone number on his collar.

As a group, we watched her run across the street towards the park, and she returned several minutes later with a tiny brown dog barking cheerfully in her arms. We happily said our good byes, and I turned around to head back home. My legs ached a little– I had barely gone out of the house during the first few weeks of quarantine, so the brief excursion was the most exercise I had gotten in a while. The pandemic had also impacted my relationships– people I used to meet up with daily, either at school or at the local park, I only saw once every few weeks now, if I was lucky.

Walking home, I realized that although I had left before the sun went down, the light had faded, leaving the sky adorned with streaks of red and orange. I looked back to see my friends in the dusky twilight.

Over the next few months, I occasionally saw my friends and neighbors as I went for walks in the park, but we did not stop to talk for long; however, our teamwork that day reminded me that our relationships were still strong.