When the world screeches to a halt, we rarely raise our heads to notice because the catastrophe is usually somewhere else far away. Perhaps a tsunami has decimated India, or a tornado ripped up some town we’ve never heard of out west. We might whisper a prayer, but the calamity soon slips from our minds. What about when Baxley stops? It never does, or so we think, but it did a week ago. Baxley, our home, our little corner of the world, slid to a screeching halt right under our noses and left us spell bound. We hardly knew what to do with ourselves. Pandemics don’t happen here in Baxley in 2020. But one did.
First, we all ran out and bought up all the toilet paper, throwing other people into turmoil and irritation. Larry and I welcomed our elder son home with 3 of his 4 boys. They live in Fulton County where several cases of the virus have already stirred up trouble. The boys have much schoolwork to do and start at 9 most mornings to get finished. It’s been a long hard week. Tomorrow the boys’ schools are supposed to run a different way. It’s only been a week and they’re already changing it again. We are all stumbling about in this strange situation; nobody seems to know what to do, but we’ll get there eventually.
Inside the house, boys who go to school on foot or online must be fed. They eat a lot. Imagine the stacks of food: bacon, eggs, grits, pancakes, sausages, and biscuits. That’s just for breakfast. In a matter of hours, they’ll be hungry again. This grandma hasn’t spent so many hours in the kitchen since they were here last.
“Grandma, can you make cabbage soup?” Trey asked.
“Of course,” I replied, and I did the next day. I’ve been feeding them well. I always do, but now what else do I have to do?
I miss my bridge buddies and our Monday games. I miss the other games scattered throughout the week. Win or lose, I just want to play and visit with my friends. By the time we get back to our routines and that delicious fried tilapia, I probably will have forgotten how to play. But it can’t be helped. More important things than bridge exist in this world.
The calendar says that today is Sunday, but my mind doesn’t really believe it since I didn’t go to church this morning. I cooked and watched the church service with one eye, listened with both ears. Watching services on the internet is not the same as singing “The Old Rugged Cross” with all my fellow Christians or hugging my friends that I’ve not seen in a week. I wore not one dab of makeup. I wore my shorts and tee shirt to my private church. Isolation means no touching and staying away from people. It means loneliness, even though phones and Facebook are at our fingertips.
I am a social creature, quick to jump in my car and run off to see someone. Often a friend and I pick up a sandwich for lunch, then sit and chat for an hour. This week held all the necessities, but few of the luxuries. This coronavirus has intruded into our lives like nothing else I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.
Yes, I can make many different kinds of soup, all delicious. I can fry up a chicken in no time flat and cook some white acre peas to go with that chicken, maybe some creamy mashed potatoes and gravy. There are a lot of things I can’t do though. I can’t stop a virus that has stopped the world for the immediate present. I can’t go back to school on Tuesday and discuss our literature face to face with my college students. I can’t gather with my friends to talk about a book or eat lunch. Perhaps it seems that I am complaining, but I’m not really. I’m thankful for what I have and the fact that a goodly portion of my family is here with me, safe so far. I pray they continue to be safe. We have plenty food and toilet paper.
Above all else, I know that God is in his Heaven and things will surely get better in his good time.