As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more available, people are gathering to celebrate
“The O’s and the Others,” a former bowling team met in person for the first time in over a year, the Menard family was reunited and a group of college students celebrated getting the vaccine by going out to eat as a group.
Linda Mayer (right) and Deb Podliska (left) enjoy conversing with their friends in person for the first time in over a year at Tanner’s in Omaha. Linda and her husband Tony spoke about how the group had been meeting over Zoom the last year to supplement their gatherings. “For our first Zoom call, Linda and I put on our masks and got big cans of Corona to set the mood,” Tony said. Tony Mayer (middle) pours cups of beer for his wife Linda (right) and Deb Podliska (left). Mayer said that the experience of getting back together with his friends was “exciting and quite wonderful” and that “ getting out and about was quite refreshing.” Donnie Thienel (front left), Tony Mayer (back left), Terry Podliska (right) watch a video on Thienel’s phone. This group has been getting together every Friday for nearly three decades. “We’ve been doing this for about 29 years,” Thienel said. They spent the night talking about a variety of topics such as the March basketball tournament. Timer Menard (right) jokingly threatens his niece Sawyer (left) and the rest of his family with a can of “fart spray” in his parents home in Omaha on Friday, March 19. Diane (middle right) and her daughter Justine (far back right) have both been vaccinated while Diane’s husband Tim is awaiting his second dose. “I can’t wait for Tim to get his second dose so they can start going to church again,” Diane said. Diane Menard (far left) watches her three granddaughters Mia Menard (left), Maddie Menard (middle), and Sawyer Mefford (right) play on the sofa in her home. Diane said that she was happy to finally have both her shots. “If I could protect myself, even 90%, I was going to take it,” she said. She said that she was happy to finally be around her granddaughters safely. Tim (middle) gives his granddaughters Sawyer (left) and Mia (right) “bunny ears” in his home. Maddie (far right) said that she was “happy to spend time with grandpa without worrying he could get sick.” A group of college students share a meal at El Chaparro in Lincoln on Tuesday, March 23. According to the group, this is one of their first social outings since quarantine started. Jacob Medina (back right) said they gathered because several of them have received the vaccine. “Personally, I just feel more comfortable being around people without masks now,” he said. Jacob Medina (left) has an animated conversation with Liam Diesing (right) at El Chaparro. Diesing said he was glad he could return to doing normal college activities with his friends. “I turned 21 last April, so I never really got to go to the bars. Last weekend was only the second time I’ve ever gone,” he said, recalling his experience at a friend’s birthday celebration the week prior. Diesing (right) and Medina (left) enjoy their meal at El Chaparro. Both have received the vaccine and said that they are happy to finally get back together with their friends. Over the past few weeks, they said they have gone out several times to bars, restaurants, and even participated in an escape room for their friend’s birthday.