My husband and I have been self-isolated for six weeks because we are old and choose not to take a chance. Since each day is precious, no matter where we are, we have stayed busy with what we have available. My husband studied caning on YouTube and caned a chair, trimmed an out of control vine, hacked down overgrown bushes, repaired a leaky faucet and oven that would not ignite, and each morning we spend more time over breakfast discussing articles in the newspaper. The extra breakfast time lent itself to sharing new stories of his Navy years and more comments on newspaper articles.
While I have filled my day with some ordinary activities, I have reaped wonderful benefits. My backyard is nearly weed free. My freezer contains slices as well as loaves of Quick Breads I baked for an article in “Coronado” magazine. I, who often go days without checking social media, have added comments instead of simply a quick “like” to posts on Facebook and have had updates from distant friends.
Purging drawer and file cabinets, discarding papers stored in the cloud or no longer needed, revealed my mother’s 1918 birth certificate settling a question about her birthplace, my parents’ wedding certificate, and the death certificates of my maternal grandparents. When I sent copies to my cousins, one quickly responded with, “Guess I better plan on living to 90!” since all three lived to be at least ninety. An early medical folder contained my children’s birth information. They might be interested in that someday. My grandfather’s small notebook, started in 1963, records my wedding that he performed, lists of bills to pay, and loans to people in need. It requires more time to digest.
Letters from former student graduates and one student’s mother, as well as college students I mentored, brought back sweet memories to relive. My 50th high school reunion booklet and pictures occupied a few minutes of that day. Bible study prayers I wrote for various classes I taught surprised me. Since some are over thirty years old but still seem pertinent, I wondered, “Did I really write that?”
Only half of my files are purged, so I know other treasures will surface. I am eager to review a folder with letters my grandfather wrote his mother from Atlantic Christian College in Wilson, NC, when he was a 16-year-old student. His church paid for him to go on condition that he would return as their pastor. One letter contains a mention of the sinking of the Titanic. They have lain in the cabinet unnoticed for years, but I know they are there.
Recently I received a digital picture book, Linda Austin and Her Family, that my daughter Jill assembled for my birthday. It touched a nerve since Paul and I had neglected the picture books we routinely created after significant trips with grandchildren and annual books when my user-friendly company collapsed five years ago. We “owe” six books. After we were assured the Costco web site was much easier than when we attempted several years ago, Paul investigated, gave me a quick tutorial, and I had a new passion. In two weeks, I finished the “Ireland with Ethan 2015” book and am eager to start the second one. Working on the book occupied me for hours and allowed me to relive that special trip.
We have plenty to do to fill our hours. We are well and know no one personally who has the virus. Family members deliver groceries. We visit often by phone with distant family and friends. We have books and a television. We have canceled many trips and missed hugs from local family, but as the popular saying goes, “It is what it is.” We count our blessings, realize it could be so much worse, and refuse to waste hours with whining, because each day holds pleasure if we search for it.