“You bid me write to amuse the tedious hours,
And save from withering my poetic powers;
Hard is the task, my friend, for verse should flow
From the free mind, not fettered down . . .”
~Ovid. Trist. Lib. V. Elegy Xii, by William Cowper
“Corona, Corona where art thou?
Furtively, I glance away from the sink.
Was that a cough?”
~Beau Sasser, M.D.
Now that I’m in shelter-in-place-mode, the question is, “what
to do?” I’m considered essential since people still fall down
and go boom, therefore I get to go into work to evaluate urgent orthopedic
needs. For this I’m thankful, and I’m glad I can do my part
to help. However, this leaves me with a lot of time, and I mean a great
deal of time where I have to stay at home. Like many people, I initially
tried to while away the hours by staring at Instagram and Facebook. There
are only so many memes you can stare at, so many Facebook stories, and
so many times you can check the CDC for updates. COVID-19 is a real thing,
it’s a real threat, and we need to be ready for the long haul. So
let’s hunker down and find something real to do.
First off, there are always books to read. I know I have talked to ya’ll
in the past on the books I’m reading. Normally, I think that should
be a blog unto itself, but honestly, about two weeks ago I went to G.J.
Ford Bookshop and stocked up. If you can get any of these books, I highly
recommend them. If nothing else, this list should allow you to get on
the internet and peruse the titles and synopsis to see if they would be
to your liking.
The Pioneers, by David McCullough
Young Washington, by Peter Stark
**The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson (Excellent.)
Leaders Eat Last, by Simon Sinek
Pride of Eden, by Taylor Brown (Local boy, great book.)
Treeborne, by Caleb Johnson (Slightly Faulknerian.)
The Plot against America, by Philip Roth (Alternate History of WWII.)
American Dirt, by Jeane Cummins
We Must be Brave, by Frances Liardet
Dear Edward, by Ann Napolitano
America’s First Daughter, by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
Black Flags, Blue Waters, by Eric Jay Dolin
The Devil’s Eye, by Jack McDevitt (I like a little Sci-Fi.)
American Cake, by Ann Byrn (A historical cookbook.)
Even for the most ardent bibliophile with an infinite amount of time, this
list can be daunting and probably make your eyes cross. So I suggest finding
a few more things to do for the whole family.
Board games. There are the tried and true games like
Risk, Life, Sorry, and Monopoly that will easily eat up an afternoon. With our family, we look for games
that we can expend some energy. Our recent favorites have been
Twister, Pie Face and Throw Throw Burrito; a hodgepodge of the card games Old Maid and Uno, and a little Dodgeball
when a random player yells, “BURRITO BRAWL!”
Then there’s always a jigsaw puzzle. I can honestly say that my memories
of jigsaw puzzles always involve rainy days on vacation. I had a great
aunt that had a house in Highlands, NC, back in the 70’s when it
was just a sleepy mountain town. We would spend 7-10 days up there each
summer and without fail, it would rain for a few days straight. That’s
when we would pull out the jigsaw puzzle of the Blue Ridge parkway or
Lighthouses of America and spread it across the living room table.
My wife has spread out a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle that I think is going
to drive me crazy. The irony is the picture is of an idyllic setting in
the mountains replete with a cozy cabin nestled next to a lake with rivulets
of a waterfall emptying into crystal clear water. I can almost see the
rainbow trout strike at a mayfly on the calm water. I said I can
almost see the rainbow trout… BUT I CAN’T FIND THE PIECE!
Finally, take up a hobby. In the list of books, I recommended
American Cake by Ann Byrn. This is great history about the evolution of the American
cake from colonial times to present along with their recipes. My goal
is to try to bake a cake from each period. So, I guess I’m taking
I also got a guitar. Unfortunately, I can’t carry a tune but if I
can learn to beat out a bad version of Don’t Think Twice It’s
Alright or Folsom Prison Blues, I’ll be pretty happy with myself.
As I see it, as I have stated, COVID-19 is serious, and we need to follow
the recommendations of the state and the CDC. With that being said, with
each crisis there is always an opportunity. Now, I don’t mean an
opportunity to line your pockets, but instead, an opportunity to become
a better person. I hope that some of these suggestions are at least helpful
to push back the tedium that might result from shelter-in-place. We’re
all in this together. Be safe. Good luck.