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(WGHP) — When you spend time with Randy and Angela Smith, these days, you sense a certain air of melancholy – a resignation – that we’ll never quite be past the COVID-19 epidemic and the havoc it’s wreaked upon society.

“You know, every time you turnaround, there’s a different variant that’s coming on and it’s an eye-opener that we’re not over the hump,” says Randy.

He began a new job, late in the year – one he really enjoys at Matthews Specialty Vehicles. But it was his and Angela’s weekend gigs that they were really excited about getting back. Randy is the flagman and Angela one of the scorekeepers at Bowman Gray Stadium for the races, there. When the 2020 season got canceled, they weren’t sure it would come back for 2021 but, eventually, it did, with full crowds.

“I didn’t think I missed it so much, but I really did,” Randy says.

But there are plenty of things that are unlikely to get back to “normal.”

“We still stay home more, even though I was gone, like, the whole month of November because I was gone to a lot of soccer games, finally,” Angela says about being able to see her nephew play for Division III powerhouse, Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

Randy admits he’s more of a homebody but was looking forward to more freedom, once we got past the initial wave of COVID-19.

“I think, like everybody else, we wanted some normalcy in our lives instead of being locked up and being told you can’t go anywhere, can’t do things. It was great to get out and do the things you wanted to do, rather than sitting at home,” Randy says.

The Smiths have been hit by the hardest edges of COVID-19.

“I’ve had several Bowman Gray people who had it and died from it,” Randy notes. “Losing them brings the realization back home that it’s the real deal where I used to think it was something made up that doesn’t happen to you.”

“The bad thing is, you don’t know who to trust because you have the CDC saying one thing and you have this doctor saying this thing and this group is saying that and you don’t know where it’s coming from or what it’s doing,” says Angela about what to do, going forward. “I think we’re going to wear a mask, forever.”

See more on Angela and Randy’s story in this edition of Project 2021.