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Staunton neighborhood celebrates a year of howling during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 10:31 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - Monday marks one year since the Sherwood Howlers started howling. It began near the beginning of the pandemic to howl away COVID-19, but it’s become much more.

During this year of physical and social distancing, people in the Sherwood Avenue neighborhood have actually become closer.

“Halfway through the year people started asking me how long we gonna be doing this like I knew what I was doing,” said the man who brought howling to the neighborhood Steve Talley.

Now, 365 days later, Talley, A.K.A. Dr. Howl, is still howling, and so are his neighbors. “At 6:55 P.M. like clockwork people just walk out. It’s like part of their routine,” stated Talley.

He reads from a letter he wrote commemorating the one-year anniversary. “We howled for love and lost love. We howled to celebrate and to grieve,” said Talley. “Sometimes we howled just for the hell of it.”

They’ve howled for everything under the sun: for people on the front lines, the sick, civil rights, heroes and teachers, butterflies, and silver-haired ladies. “You know some ladies just don’t like having silver hair, but I think silver-haired women are magnificent,” said Talley.

They’ve had visitors for the Howl like the Staunton Police. “They looked very official, and the next thing you knew they were playing soccer with the kids,” said Talley.

“Howling is a metaphor for our humanity. It is a celebration of who we are, the core of us. It is a declaration and acknowledgment of the goodness in us,” said Talley as he read more from the letter.

And, they’ve howled every single night but for one, the day they lost one of their own where they howled in their hearts as they grieved.

“For me, the thing that I have learned is that life is worth celebrating no matter where we are. In whatever kind of predicament we are in there’s always something that is good,” said Talley.

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