I open my eyes every morning to black canine eyes staring back, urging me to rise.  

“Time to eat,” those dark eyes say, “and right now.”

I groan because it’s only 7:00 a.m.  I went to bed at 1:00 a.m., but that’s my fault, not his.  

“Okay, Charley, I’m coming,” I reply sliding my legs out from under the covers and scratching his black, scruffy head.  “I’m coming, but not very fast.”

I walk into the kitchen and flip the coffee pot on as I reach for bowls, cans, and various medications.  Three of our dogs are older, like their owners, and require some medications to make their lives better.  The youngest, Josie, at one year old, has boundless energy and literally runs circles around the rest of us.  

As I prepare their dishes, I struggle to remember what day it is.  Since the quarantine started, I have trouble with that.  I can’t say to myself that I went to church yesterday so it must be Monday, even though I did listen to our service on the radio.  Even if it is Monday, I don’t have to be ready to play Bridge by 11:00.  There is no Bridge; the restaurants are closed—no fried fish for me today, unless I fry it myself, and I just might.  I saw a bag of whiting in the freezer. 

I do have to cook breakfast for the grandchildren though.   They must be online by 9:30 for schoolwork, and their brains need to be functional by then.  Maybe buttermilk pancakes will hit the spot this morning with a few slices of bacon on the side.  I’ll slide the bacon in the oven, so it won’t splatter my stove.  Once I get the boys and the dogs fed, what then?  What shall I do with my day?

We’ve been working in the yard a bit.  One day last week, who knows what day, I went to the clematis bed to pull some weeds.  Unfortunately, all four dogs came to help, and one stepped on a beautiful clematis plant, breaking one of the vines.  Needless to say, I was frustrated because I’ve been trying to establish those plants for three years now.  Maybe it’ll come back, but I don’t know.   Anyway, it wasn’t the dog’s fault.  He just wanted to be near me.  I moved to another part of the yard where they couldn’t do any harm.  I’ll slip back out without them later and weed some more.  

About 11 a.m. every day, I start wrestling with what to have for lunch. I’ve discovered sections of my freezer that I’d forgotten about and cooked foods I didn’t know I had.  Tomorrow we’re having a squash casserole from squash I thought we’d long since eaten, and to go with it, I found several ham steaks back there in the frozen tundra.  Hmmmm.  I wonder what else is back there.  

Time has slowed down.  Not only am I smelling my roses; I’m gathering them for bouquets for the table.  I don’t have to rush because I have an appointment somewhere.  Where would I go?  I’d have to be deathly ill to go to a hospital or doctor’s office anyway.  My imagination sees unlimited germs there and everywhere else for that matter.  I’m pretty sure I’ve washed the top layer of skin off my hands and used three jars of CeraVe cream since this coronavirus started.  The boys are even washing their hands without being told, and that, my friends, is miraculous.

Last week when Gov. Kemp announced he was closing schools for the rest of the term, we asked Will what he thought about that.  He thought about it a few minutes and then replied from his eleven years of wisdom, “Well, that means we can stay down here for the rest of the quarantine and not worry about going back to Atlanta.  It also means I get to eat Grandma’s good cooking all that time.  I don’t think it’ll be too bad.”

This quarantine is surreal, something from some alternate universe where I once lived in some other lifetime.  It’s a dream world, a fantasy world peopled only with my family.  Say a little prayer for me, ladies; I’m living with five males.  Make that a big prayer, please.