Palo Alto — A wide, quiet and tree-lined street burst into song as a gaggle from the Raging Grannies Action League performed tunes for a half-hour as the sun set. They covered multiple issues, supporting essential workers, the postal service and seniors, but their main theme Tuesday night was the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.
“We just want to remind people Memorial Day Weekend, don’t congregate on the beaches, don’t forget to wear a mask when you do go out,” said Ruth Robertson. “You might want to stay home, walk around your home if you can for your exercise. The reason is we’re senior citizens and we’re all in a high-risk group. But some of us have other morbidity — lung problems, or asthma — if we get coronavirus, we’re toast.”
The first song they sang was written by Menlo Parks’ Gail Sredanovic, “COVID-19. What is it?” sung to the tune of the nursery rhyme Frere Jacques.
“COVID-19. COVID-19. What is that? What is that? Invisible virus. Invisible Virus. That has spread. That has spread. Take precautions. Take precautions. Extra care. Extra care.”
Seven Raging Grannies sang several original songs written by Sredanovic, like “Wash Your Hands” and “Epidemics Happen,” and also sang and danced to other songs such as Gene Kelly’s 1952 rendition of “Singin’ in the Rain.” They completed the song with umbrellas in hand. “Give Ruth credit for thinking of the umbrellas,” said Sredanovic.
“There’s no point in standing up and talking about gloom and doom.” said Sredanovic. “As a whole if you want people to pay attention, you have to be somewhat entertaining. Usually our songs carry the message and they’re usually pretty funny, but with masks on and six feet apart it’s kinda hard to sing.
“We’re very concerned about the governor’s cuts to programs that help the less fortunate, the seniors and the disabled. We don’t think its right to balance the budge on the backs of the poor, and we don’t think it’s right to throw grandma under the bus.”
Since April 7, they have been performing at 7 p.m. every Tuesday in front of Raging Granny’s Karen Damian’s teal-colored cottage.
The Raging Grannies were was founded in British Columbia in the late 1980s, the Raging Grannies Action League, based in Palo Alto, will have their 20-year anniversary in November.
“You may not care about us, but think of your own grandparents,” said Robertson. “When you bring it back home or pass it on to a grocery store worker or wherever, from just congregating with people, you spread it in the whole community.”
“We have to think of the whole community, this is one time we need to pull together and operate as one, and look out for one another and washyour hands.”
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Author: Nhat Meyer