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LIGHTNING PHOTOS: Neighbors thank doctors, nurses, essentials

They marched out of their homes into the bright spring sunlight — one by one, couples hand in hand, families of four, five or six, working folks and retired folks, young and old. Chalk in hand, they went to work on paved driveways and streets, putting in words and pictures their gratitude. Thank you, doctors, they said. Thank you, nurses. Thank you, cashiers. Thank you, farmers. Thank you, Essentials. You're our heroes.

Haywood Forest, a close-knit neighborhood in Hendersonville, happens to be home to an extraordinary number of physicians, at least five. The chalk art project was partly to salute the doctors. It was mostly a reason for the neighbors to come together, enjoy the outdoors and visit, like they used to.

"There is always a rainbow waiting to burst forth after the rain," Dr. Bryan and Anne Hodge's girls — Campbell, Mae, Amelia and Hattie — wrote on the street in front of their house.

Sallie Carr hatched the idea one night this week.

"She came to me and said, 'We're going to do this,'" Sallie's husband, Gene Carr, said. "I said, 'That's cool.'"

"Sallie sent an email to everybody. 'This is what we're going to do,'" said Cindy Walker, who is married to Dr. Paul "Chip" Walker. "She even delivered the chalk to everybody that wanted to do it, which was just about everybody."

Barb Glassman, an artist who is married to Dr. Stuart Glassman, wrote a diary of these days: She's tired of wearing a mask and gloves and sanitizing everything and feeling anxious. She misses meeting with friends. She misses hugs. Her remedies are "deep breath. Fly a kite. Gardening." In closing, "Peace and Love to All."

"Time to kick corona flat," one family wrote.

"Where's Waldo? He's helping the doctors with Covid-19," wrote another.

One after another, the messages appeared, in pastels of purple and pink and yellow and blue:

"Covid-19 vs. Doctors. 1, 2, 3. Strike out!"

"We're all in this together. Love Pardee. Thanks."

An Easter bunny theme: "Just keep hopping along. Six paws apart."

At one point, four moptops appeared in a crosswalk: The Beatles' Abbey Road cover.

"Thank you! Doctors, nurses, sales clerks, farmers, neighbors, spring."

"Six feet apart but still together in heart."

"Tough times will end but the tough will be STRONGER!"

A gravestone: "Covid-19. R.I.P."

"Essential workers are stars!!!"

An image of the Iwo Jima flag raising, with doctors in masks as the heroes.

When it was over, the parents and the kids, the couples and the singles, strolled the neighborhood and admired the chalk art salute to the medical heroes and essential workers. It became a big outdoor cocktail party. Six feet apart but together in heart.

On one spring day, did the folks in Haywood Forest forget about Covid-19, and leave it behind? No, you can't say that, for Sallie Carr's chalk art exhibit was all about the virus. Who can forget about it? What they remembered, with smiles and laughter and warmth, on that bright spring day, was the way it used to be. Before.