Coon Whisperer

Well folks… when I’m wrong I say I’m wrong and until you prove it I will simply say I was mistaken.

I need to print a retraction from a previous story. It seems that in my last post when I suggested that Papaw’s little brother ended up in the hospital from getting run over by a tractor, being kicked by a mule, and by swallowing a whole bottle of Tylenol; one of those was not entirely true. Turns out, he didn’t bust his stomach from being kicked by a mule. He ruptured it from falling out of a tree and then Papaw carted him back to humanity on the back of a pony. My memory just adjusted some of the facts. His brother also did not go to the hospital after being run over by a tractor. His parents inspected the wounds made by steel blades that churn the earth and determined they were probably superficial. He did get his cuts treated with “blue medicine”. I will also assume that he got a standard issue “ass whipping”. Whiskey is the only other country treatment known to man that is three times more prescribed and fifty percent as effective as an all-purpose Ass-Whipping.

I’m glad I got that error corrected. While I am at it, I have some new additions. While we were discussing the facts around childhood injuries I got more depth for this already colorful history.

Fun fact: The pony that saved Papaws brother by providing medical transport also saved Papaw at a different time and in much the same way.

Papaw had a little red pony that he rode everywhere. He grew up in the early seventies and loved watching westerns. What is better for a child who loves westerns than his very own trick pony? Papaw regaled us with his agile adventures that border on parkour. For instance, he told us about trying to leap from a galloping pony into an open bedroom window. This was how Papaw learned about Newtons First and Third Laws of Motion.

Newton’s First Law: Object in motion tends to stay in motion…

Newton’s Third Law: Each action (force) has an equal and opposite reaction.

Papaw’s Second Law: If it doesn’t kill you, you’ll be better in a second.

The girls laughed and laughed at that story. He also added, “You know when they ride a horse through a glass window in the movies? That doesn’t work.” We all laughed at that too.

Then he told us about the pony saving his life. Apparently, he wanted a pet squirrel. One day while running around and not breaking his ribs on jumping through windows he rode his pony to the edge of the woods. A squirrel scampered up a tree. Papaw tied the pony to the tree and commenced to climbing the tree. You might ask, “What will he do if he catches the squirrel?”. I would reply, “Wait for the racoon story.” After about forty feet up the tree a limb broke and sent Papaw flailing to the ground. Luckily his head broke his fall and after a few moments of being unconscious he woke up and crawled to his pony. He managed to drape himself across the back of the pony and tied the rope. The pony walked him to the front door of his house where his mother scooped him up and carried him inside. What really speaks volumes to me is the fact that his mother didn’t question how or what or even if he was going to live. This was such a regular occurrence that she would simply lay these boys in the bed until their bodies healed enough for them to go run headlong into another injury.

The racoon story.

Papaw finally got a wild animal pet. A female racoon with a sunny disposition. He said she was tame “most of the time”. I asked how he tamed her and he said, “I just got in the pen with her and let her bite me until she got tired of being so mean.” I verified that his method for befriending a wild racoon was just sitting still and letting it attack until it was exhausted. He nodded. While I understand the reasoning I cannot match the will power and tolerance for pain. What reference do you have to possess for pain to think a raccoon attack is just something to be tolerated for the one-way affection that you will enjoy on the other side?

Sweet Baby Jesus shine your loving light on this leathery soul.

Most rough and tumble boys would have stories about fist fights in the school parking lot. But I can’t imagine the suicidal playground bully who would hear his stories of self-inflicted pain and think, “Hey I’ll fight that kid.”

He sounds like he lived the perfect action hero backstory. The brave tales of Swifty McTwotoes and his trusty coon sidekick. They rode the high plains fighting crime on the back of a blood red steed.

So if you have more time to sit around and share family legends, this post is for you. Tell all the stories and whatever you do, write them down. And for my daughters who are ready this… this is why women live longer. Nothing in a woman makes her yearn to climb trees after squirrels or leap from moving animals into unmovable structures.

Underdaddy to the rescue.

Ah-Sen-Chuel

Our hometown has a stay-at-home order. Most hometowns have a stay-at-home order. Safer at home. Shelter in place. Quarantine. Humans telling other humans what to do to keep the virus from spreading. Then the second group of humans feels confined or chided by the first group so they buck the trends. They stretch the truth. They shelter in cars on the road around other second group humans. Doing important things. Critical things. Essential… things.

Essential activities start to expand at the edge of hypothetical where it meets hyperbole.


I need food to live.

True.

I don’t have food in my hand.

True.

Chicken sandwiches are food.

Still true.

Food is essential.

I like where this is going.

Chic-Fil-A is essential.

Boom. Masterful.

 


ACT ONE

 

Me: Give me a sweet tea, twelve piece nugget, large waffle fry, and one Polynesian and one Ranch.

Peppy 17-year-old Taking My Order Curbside: Large fry only or large size the whole order?

Me: Excellent catch. I see why they hired you. Large size the whole combo.

Peppy 17-year-old Smiling So Hard His Eyes Are Squeezed Shut: My pleasure.

Me: *Teleports to the end of the line and finds my order in the seat beside me and my shoulders feeling relaxed from a massage that I can’t recall ever happening.*

 


ACT TWO

I’ve been to Target.

Essential. Life or death shit.

Stop three on my first day of house arrest. I am walking back to my car that is black but somehow yellow from the solid layer of pollen. It should have bees having a bee orgy and snorting up that sweet yellow powder like Tony Montana did on his desk. Instead there is one lonely wasp directly on the driver’s door. Probably hogging all of the proboscis candy to himself.

My hands are full of essential Easter gear that we ordered online. I am wearing my daughter’s sunglasses that are two grey circles that make me look like a steam punk villain. My oversized blue t-shirt with a yeti in a sweater that says “Yeti to Party!” really outweighs the sunglasses. As I approached the car pondering what to do, the wasp had his own agenda. SCHINNGG. He whipped out his razor wings and slid his attack flight goggles in to place. I barely had time to react as he launched towards me with intent to kill. I swung my bags of candy and Easter baskets. I retreated and circled the car and bought just enough time to leap in the driver’s side. The wasp bounced against the window for a few minutes as I sat back and let my heart regain a normal rhythm. The panic fog cleared from my eyes and I reached for my hand sanitizer. As I rubbed it in on my already dry hands I notice a young couple across the aisle. They had a good laugh at my assault and I realize the absurdity of the whole thing. I went shopping in a funny tshirt that I had on for two days wearing children’s sunglasses and fought a wasp in the Target parking lot and my hands smell like Christmas Cupcake because I stole this sanitizer off my kids backpacks that they probably aren’t using again this year. My sweet bakery aroma probably attracted the damn wasp.

What am I doing with my life? Has it come to this?

Time to head home relax so I can be prepared to not do anything tomorrow.

Exhausting.

You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

The Normalcy Bias

The normalcy bias, or normality bias, is a belief people hold when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the likelihood of a disaster and its possible effects, because people believe that things will always function the way things normally have functioned.

I understand this well because I have spent a large percentage of my life with a man that my children call Papaw. He suffers from the normalcy bias condition. He became my step-father when I was about six. It was at that point the stories, or shall I say… legends, began. The man is a walking anomaly. By all accounts he should be dead based on any one of several factors. Something in his genetics has a grit that is heretofore unexplained by science. Now that I think about it, his dad was a rough and grumpy guy and reminded me vaguely of the cockroach villain in the first Men In Black movie. Maybe he inherited the tenacity without the exoskeleton.

 

Crapaw

He was Carl. In the most Carl way.

 

Since the primary purpose of this blog is a written record for my children I think it is relevant to recount this wonderful man’s history of calamity. I have learned many valuable lessons from Papaw but safety is not one of them. Or maybe it is the exact lesson I learned in a very round-about way. I’m going to share a series of events in no-particular-order. But I will start where most things begin, in the beginning. And let me preface all of this with the statement that Papaw is as loving and smart and loyal as the day is long. He would sacrifice anything of his own for literally almost anyone else who needed it. I love him very much. And he has a head that is hard as a brick stick and ears that filter anything that doesn’t sound like, “Good idea!” or “I agree!”

Papaw

Safety Third.

Papaw had a childhood that introduced him to danger early. The first story I remember was the lawn mower incident. It was a warm summer evening near dusk. Papaw’s father, Crapaw, was mowing his overgrown lawn with the most battle-hardened mower to grace the universe, a Snapper. Papaw was a young boy and had been instructed to stay on the porch while his father peeled around the yard in a frantic race with the setting sun. An innocent scene but the allure of adventure would prove to be more than Papaw could resist.

The shadows were growing long. A light dew had settled over the grass as it will often do at the end of a hot southern day. The air smelled of working man’s sweat, motor oil, and leaded gasoline. Papaw kicked a few rocks and a few crushed filters from Marlboro Reds as he paced back and forth. The porch was boring. A confined life of rules. How could he sit in one place and watch his life pass him by while his father taunted him; lap after lap on his powerful steed? Slaying clumps of Fescue and the battling overgrown weeds.

Inside Papaw’s soul, something stirred.

A desire to confront danger head-on and prove that all warnings from family are ill-founded and meant only for mere mortals. Adventure was at his fingertips and he would have it!

He ventured away from the safety of the porch and entered into a game of follow the leader with a late 1960’s riding mower know regionwide for its ability to chop through thickets with blades no sharper than the edge of a dull spoon. It whipped grass into shape and beat Oak saplings into submission. It was behind this icon of lawn maintenance that Papaw left the porch and began his march with destiny.

Papaw stepped double-time along behind his father proudly. Carefully staying out of his father’s view to avoid an “ass whipping” for not listening. Two men on parade. Exerting their will over nature.

Then the unthinkable happened. The ratio of uncut grass to cut grass had shifted and there was no longer a smooth circular route for the mower to follow. All that remained to be mowed was an irregular strip of grass known to lawn mowing husbands everywhere as The Last Pass. It is a perplexing piece of lawn that has to be handled carefully. While an experienced mowest will make sure his machine is properly aligned and finish in one pass, a lesser human will circle the area fifty times to get every errant blade that the turn radius of the standard Snapper mower somehow avoids.

When it came to lawn maintenance Crapaw was no “lesser human”. Sidenote: This may be the only category where that was true.

Crapaw decided to execute a three-point turn and slammed the mower into reverse. It was a sudden decision. Papaw snapped out of his marching day-dream and probably muttered a phrase that rhymed with “Oh shit.” He tried to stop and change direction but the evening dew made the newly cut grass slippery. He tried to turn and run. It was no use. Like an athlete without his cleats, Papaw fell into the oncoming path of the bestselling mower of the Sears and Roebuck lawn maintenance line of 1970.

His three toes never had a chance. Beheaded as easily as Marie Antoinette after mentioning cake.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury. There it is. This is the true tale that was recounted to me in place of simpler instructions to “do not walk behind the lawn mower while I’m mowing the yard.” Trauma is the most effective teacher.

 

What about Papaw and his toes you ask? Well, there was concern in the local medical community that he would never be able to walk again. Those concerns were unfounded. As the defense will show, telling Papaw he can’t do something is the recipe for having that very something done.

 

The above story was recounted on several occasions and usually included some neat facts about how hospitals incinerate body parts and how some people experience ghost pains when their toes get cremated. Other childhood cautionary tales included his easily misguided younger brother and a) getting run over by a tractor disking a field, b) getting kicked in the stomach by a mule, and c) eating a bottle of Tylenol while playing doctor and getting a charcoal stomach pump.

Fun times.


 

Much like Jesus, Papaw’s life went largely undocumented during adolescence. I can only assume he had a string of successes because he emerged as a young adult with a confidence and physical strength that most men don’t possess. I remember being about seven and he was working on my mother’s 1986 Mazda 323. He didn’t like the placement of the jack under the frame so he did what any man would do. He hoisted the front of the car by lifting with his back and not bending his knees. He instructed me to, “scoot under there and move that jack over”. I did. Safety third.

But I’m getting ahead of myself… back to young twenties Papaw.

Fast forward a bit and he met my mother and convinced her he was responsible enough to marry. I think she knew the truth but he had animals and she loves animals so the math worked. She is, after all, a math teacher.

Somewhere in this early time of married bliss. Papaw was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD); a degenerative kidney disease that is long and painful and results in useless kidneys.

[Side story: He got to watch the disease unfold in his mother who might have been the toughest person, in measure of shear grit, to ever walk the earth. This is a woman whose bucket list must have consisted of various forms of pain and suffering. Once she had exhausted all options for new and painful conditions she decided to allow death to take her.]

This sounds ominous so I will put your mind at ease. Papaw’s kidneys indeed failed, he had dialysis twice weekly, and my mother was a match for donation so she gave him a kidney. Papaw added organ failure to the list of obstacles that he persevered. The real pattern to observe here is that once again, when faced with overwhelming odds, things somehow worked out.

Consider this intro the first book in the Gospel of Papaw.

 

The Second Book would have to be The Tree Story

Papaw had a brief stint of extended medical leave due to a broken leg which was caused by a falling horse which was brought about by the deeply held belief that he was an actual cowboy and not, in-fact, a mechanic with a small family farm that included a horse. Papaw’s penchant for westerns had him believing that driving cattle was not that hard. True enough until the horse slips in some mud and breaks your leg.

Papaw was confined to the living room couch for days on end. That old familiar desire for adventure that had led him into danger began to grow in his brain. After some long afternoons staring through the sliding glass window into the backyard, he decided that a tree in the backyard was positively unbearable. It was a dying threat to anything that ventured near. If allowed to remain, it could very well spark another Cold War with Russia. He owed it to the United States of America to fell this tree. Damn the costs.

He grabbed his crutches and, somehow, a chainsaw and ventured into the backyard. I stood at the sliding glass door and watched him out of morbid curiosity. Would this be the day? Would this be thing challenge that would be too much for Papaw?

With all the skill of a billiard player and a military strategist he plotted his moves. I watched as he skillfully cut a groove into the base of the tree. Like an over-flannelled cripple lumberjack in the Pacific northwest. With the proper angles and careful lines of the chainsaw he had calculated exactly where that tree would fall. Nothing had been left to chance. Risk was minimal. Success was inevitable.

A spray of woodchips poured out of the tree over the roar of the saw and the wihte-blue cloud of chainsaw smoke. It climaxed in a loud pop and the tree began to fall. All the preparations were for naught because the tree did the unthinkable. In a move that no amount of computer modeling or even physics could have predicted… the tree fell backwards.

Papaw snapped out of his day-dream and probably muttered a phrase that rhymed with “Oh shit.” I muttered the same thing.

The world slowed down. Like a scene from a movie where the director wants to show the audience how fast someone is moving by slowing the world to a crawl and allowing the main character to move at a normal speed. He turned briskly, still holding one of his crutches, and he hopped as fast as his one good leg would allow. The towering harbinger of death popped and exploded and twisted on its journey with destiny. That tree chased Papaw like a one-eyed cat chasing a handicapped mouse. A daring game of chase and chance.

I stood peering out of our sliding glass door and watched the disaster unfold. The snapping branches, flying leaves, and dust from the ground created a cloud that obscured my view. I saw Papaw throw up his hands and fling his crutch as he lurched into a dive. He was swallowed by the chaos and I could see nothing else. The tree came to a rest and the chainsaw went silent. Dust wafted in the breeze and a few leaves drifted lazily to the ground. A hush fell over the backyard. I digested the fact that I just watched a man die.

Someone who was alive seconds ago was now horribly crushed under the weight of his own decisions and a hundred year old Oak tree.

My mind raced with confusion. What should I do? What will I tell my mother? Could I have done something to prevent this? Is this my fault? Should I just cover his body with leaves and call in a missing persons report? WHY DOES A VCR HAVE A CLOCK IF THE FUCKING THING NEVER WORKS AND JUST BLINKS ZEROES AT YOU ALL THE TIME? HAVENT YOU PEOPLE EVER CONSIDERED A BATTERY BACKUP OR SOMETHING SO WE DON’T HAVE TO RESET IT EVERY TIME THE POWER GOES OUT? WE LIVE IN THE COUNTRY FOR CHRISTS SAKE!

My gaze shifted from the quiet tree to my own reflection in the glass doorway. Panic.

But my panic was short lived.

I had forgotten the fact that death is for mortals and not for men who are condemned to wander the earth and seek the bucket list of pain and suffering that only immortality can bring to bear. I resolved myself to go out and scoop what was left of Papaw into a feed sack like we did for dogs and cats that played in the road. I slowly started across the backyard towards the tree.

Halfway through my green mile Papaw pops up through the broken canopy of the fallen tree.

Papaw: *looking around* “Can you see the saw?”

Me: “Oh my god you are alive! What a miracle!”

Papaw: “Its fine. I knew what I was doing.”

Me: “Are you serious? You just did a one-legged dash for your life.”

Papaw: “It moved on me a little. Grab that saw.”

Me: “Moved a little? It fell 180 degrees the opposite direction. I can’t…I’m going in the house.”

Papaw: “Just hand me that…”

Me: “Nope. I’m out.”

That ending dialogue has been modified. I actually think I handed him the saw and we spent some time cutting up the tree. I remember he was a little pissed at the chainsaw for having a bent shaft because it got pinched by the tree. Because inanimate objects have intentions and are out to make your life difficult.

So that is a snippet of Papaw history. A rambling commentary on a great man.

While he is unique I don’t think he is uncommon in the world of dad’s. The spirit of determination and the doing of things that need done is the hallmark of a good father. If you have a father figure who has provided you with wisdom in any form and ample stories for your children, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

 

Life is for living. And the best way to know you are alive is to almost die.

 

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This too will pass

And we’re the lucky ones…

Today I drove to the school and a sign told me to wait in my car and someone would come out to help me. It was true. Someone came out and asked me what classes my children were in and I told her. She disappeared and returned a few minutes later with two large Ziplock bags with workbooks and loose paper and a few extra number two pencils. I went home and set the work on the dining room table and went about my day.

By lunchtime I had a pounding headache which I attribute to an unholy layer of pollen on everything. The south has many weapons to kill us and none as deadly as allergies. It still hasn’t totally left me but I am in a pondering mood so I decided to write.

A few years ago, I wrote a piece about life changing slowly but all-of-the-sudden. These little moments that seem small but when we look back we can pinpoint the exact moment that nothing was the same. The subtle shift of the earth under our feet. The moment our perspective was changed. There is something about those moments that are sad. It feels like something stolen or an opportunity missed. We grieve the memories slowly through life.

This whole COVID-19 situation will hit us in one way or another. Even if we succeed and stop the spread and protect ourselves (which I believe we are capable of). Even if the economy bounces back. We will still have some scars. The world will be different.

One of the kids asked me today when they could go back to school. That they really wanted to see their friends. I told them, “I don’t know… maybe soon.” And I smiled through the lie. My truth is that I think this school year is over. I don’t think we will go back and finish. For my daughters, I can see what they have lost. Even before they see it themselves.

For Lady Bug, it is the last two months with one of her most favorite people in the world. This person is a teacher with whom she finds love and comfort. She was having an especially hard day the other day and was able to have a Facetime to cheer her up. Those mornings of going to Kindergarten and working on her reading with volunteers and finishing the year out with her friends that she holds dear will probably not be the same. She won’t get to walk over the ceremonial bridge and show her community her growth. Next year she will go back and simply be in first grade. No celebration just a new stage. She will get to experience that odd feeling of seeing people who share your past but not your present. A teacher that you used to know…

For Donna Threeto, she might be even harder hit. Her current teacher has been her teacher for three years. It’s Montessori style so they have combined classrooms 1-3rd, 4-6th, and 7-8th. She loves her classroom and leaving for Spring Break might have been the last day. There. might be a true period of mourning for that loss.

For Threeto and Lady Bug, I can’t describe the comfort of knowing that your children leave home to spend the day with people who love them like their own. These two won’t see their loss until the new phase begins. If they are even able to put words to what they feel. I will donate a tear or two to their cause.

The older two are more flexible and adaptable. They have some chance to stay in touch with a few friends through phones and computers. Prima may miss a summer program that she earned a chance to attend through academic performance. Jane has a summer trip to Chicago that is already cancelled. These are also lost things. Experience that would have an effect and create a memory but now are something less.

But we are not alone. Just like all of the proms and graduations and societal rites of passage, pieces of our lives have been lost and we won’t know it until the night passes and day breaks. There will be talk of postponing graduations and delaying proms but this will only encroach on the next phase of life. It would feel fake and forced. You can’t put time back in the bottle. When the times comes we need to move forward. We will be better served to take the reminder that life can change on a dime and use it to love each other with a little more depth.

More appreciation of the moment.

Give the hugs an extra five seconds of squeeze.

We joke about growing weary of being stuck in our houses with our family. Our patience growing thin. Days like today it seems a very real thing.

But I have everyone close. And they are healthy. And happy. We are growing our own moment in time. We are building the next thing to be stolen. My kids are all at an age where they like me. There is food to eat. We have plenty of TP. Life is good. Amidst the chaos, life is good.

One day in the near future life will return to a new normal. We will emerge from our cave, blinking into the sun.

Our new routine will start suddenly and it will persist. I will mourn the change as another loss. As something stolen. An opportunity missed.

That missing thing is always… more time.

If you are struggling with change, this post is for you. Don’t be bitter about what should have been. Nothing is guaranteed. There are parts of this total shit show that you will miss when it is over. Mourn, adapt, rinse, and repeat.

 

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

 

Ps – Just as I finished this heartfelt piece Supermom smashed her big toe with a ceramic cup. Edge of the cup fell right on the joint of the big toe and it is black and blue big time. Send some positive feels her way. I bet she doesn’t miss that part when it goes away.

Fun and Games

Day five hundred of my captivity…

I have taken a total leave of absence from writing for what is probably a year. And people still stop by the site and see if something new is rolling off the press. Thank you guys. It feels good.

I’ve been busy and my will to write anything at all has been missing in action. I got to the point where I don’t feel like I have anything to share and now that the girls are getting older some of my previous story styles are no longer mine to tell. Tales of toddlers taking mystery shits on the furniture is fun and games but teenagers with technology will probably not be as understanding. I even thought about pulling site down and archiving for some future generation.

But not to worry, COVID-19 has entered our lives and I don’t have much sanity left. I need the therapy that only blog-style bitching can provide. A unity through misery.

So here is a feeble attempt to document our craziness.

The strangest thing so far is dealing with the ominous slow crawling feeling of disaster and vacation all rolled into one. We started our distancing on the kid’s spring break so when school got cancelled (they call it postponed but we know better) it just felt like the world’s longest weekend. If you watch the news then the world is ending and if I look outside the magnolia tree is blooming. My black car is yellow from pollen and people are walking their dogs more than I remember. Select shelves are empty in the stores but the shoppers meander around smile at each other, making small talk about COVID-19 and the lack of toilet paper. Milk, water, and bread have recovered from the initial rush but paper products may never recover.

Work life is much the same. For the first week it felt like we were trying something new. The second week we all unplugged our hardware from the office and logged in from our living rooms to get emails and take conference calls where kids played in the background. We try to move things forward but this second week was marked by the depression of knowing that we are just getting started in our new normal and lots of wondering if there is a point to trying to work or teach the kids about fractions. The third week may be the charm. The week that we get the groove and settle in to fight this thing off. I hope it is.

I tell my kids to take note. To keep a journal.

I remember an ice storm in the early nineties. We lived in the country and power networks were decimated. I think it was around two weeks before power was reconnected for our area. We cooked on a wood burning stove in the basement. We stayed warm and managed to get a generator to hook up a few essential items like our well. It was a time I remember as fun and interesting. We were toughing it out and surviving and there is something fulfilling about that even when it isn’t easy. I hope my kids remember this time in the same light. For me it is different because we have all the luxury we could want for a quarantine. We have Netflix and Disney and Prime. We have tablets and phones and a schedule that hasn’t been this free since college. It doesn’t require any work or effort. It doesn’t feel like surviving and I assume that is why it also doesn’t feel fulfilling as much as it feels depressing.

Prima, our second daughter, came into our room a few days ago with the complaint of a fever and a headache. We checked and it was 102.5. Fantaaaaastic. Two weeks of distancing and it arrives anyway. The next morning the fever is gone but a slight cough has joined the party. By the end of the day the fever is back. We treat with Tylenol and go to bed feeling like the wave is about to start crashing around us. Then she woke up this morning with no fever, no cough, and a pep in her step. Like it never happened. She probably had one of a hundred colds and some spring allergies but when every sniffle feels like Ebola has taken root it is exhausting.

I think we are developing some sort of quarantine PTSD or cabin fever. That can lead to impulsive and irrational behavior. Which reminds me, we got a baby wallaby. Her name is Stevie.

Corona5

We also dressed up in fancy clothes and Mardi Gras masks to have our picture taken by a neighborhood photographer. She arranged to walk around and take photos of people on their porch. Three weeks ago that would have been a strange proposal but today we thought “Oh cool! Let’s dress weird and stand in the yard.”.

Corona3

Everyone is shoving stuffed animals in the windows to give people a fun game of I Spy.

I think recorded history will have a new milestone. I propose B.C. (before corona) and A.D. (after distancing).

There have been upsides. We have been forced to slow down and exist around each other more than usual. We don’t have the pressures of early mornings and things to do at night. I sat with Jane and shared music for five hours yesterday. We went through notable hits from the eighties and the highlights of the millennial playlist. The we watched The Matrix. It was interrupted by a tornado warning and everyone huddling in the laundry room. We weren’t sure if we would rather die by tornado or suffocation from Judy Cornbread farting.

Corona2

There were terrible tornadoes in Tennessee a few weeks earlier and last night a bad one hit Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Corona4

Houses are sliding into the Tennessee River from flooding and an overly wet spring. Whoever is playing Jumanji needs to buckle up and finish the damn game because all this chaos is wearing thin. And we’ve all but forgotten that this is an election year. Once this virus clears they will be spending all that political ad money in a compressed window of time before the election.

Silver linings. Something to look forward to.

Anyway… good to talk to you and hopefully I will make a successful return to the keyboard.

If you are sheltering in place and trying to treat the virus from the inside out, with whiskey, this post is for you.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.