Our Stories: I thank God for all the blessings I’ve been given

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By Kathy Whiteside

Looking back on this Covid-19 time of quarantine, I can truthfully say that it has been an enjoyable experience for me… with a few exceptions.  Before we knew we had the virus here, we heard (from our son, Andy, in England), how bad the virus was there, how devastating that he and his family could not work, how his daughter’s education was interrupted, and how many deaths had already occurred there.  “It is bad, Mom, really bad” were his words.  Our daughter-in-law, Wendy, was put on four months of quarantine, due to very high risk (kidney transplant recipient).  She is still in quarantine, worried about the future of her high profile job at a prominent arts museum.  Andy warned us that, at our advanced ages, we should stay home and be very careful.

  Just after that conversation, during the first week in March, I attended a rug hooking event/classes in Athens, Tennessee.  We were hardly or maybe not even aware of the virus here then, and it is a miracle that we have not heard of any in attendance getting it, as we were in close proximity to each other.  Our meals were served buffet style, and we touched items our vendors sold, that many had touched!  In retrospect I know that ignorance was bliss! 

  As we watched the news, we began to see how devastating this virus was, covering almost all of the entire world.  We listened and paid attention to the fact that we needed to protect ourselves, as well as those around us.  My husband, Clarence, (who has been commuting to Florida to work for the 37 years we have lived in Madison), flew back to Florida on his usual schedule on March 16th.  He returned to Madison with masks and I had gloves.  Flying on Delta, he witnessed flights (usually overbooked to capacity), dwindle to as few as six people.  While he was gone, I worried about his safety.  He closed his office and was able to spend the next three weeks with me, much to my delight!

  A friend asked me on the phone if we were about to kill each other, never having that much time together.  My reply was “No, we are having so much fun”!  I love to cook, but hate having to cook for just myself (being alone so much), so I cooked up a storm.  We did miss going out to dinner and especially joining our Friday crowd for lunch at Madison Drugs!  That crowd changes some from week to week, and it is a way for us to visit with lots of friends we might not see except otherwise.

  After we had seen every movie that interested us on Direct T.V., I ordered the set of the first two seasons of Yellowstone, which we had never watched.  We binge watched those episodes, and are looking forward to season three, which airs on Father’s Day.  That finished, our daughter Stacy suggested we watch Outlander.  Season five had begun in February on Starz, which we get, but we wanted to start at the beginning, so I ordered the first four seasons from Amazon.  We devoured this series, watching several episodes a day, and then discussing them afterwards.  There are so many story lines, such interesting characters, so much attention to detail and historical accuracy in costumes and settings, and we really had to pay attention to catch everything!  I have a copy of the season five reserved at Amazon, which has yet to be released.  That series has spoiled us, though, to many other movies we’ve watched since, which aren’t as rich in story lines or characters.

  I have missed being able to attend our beloved church, Madison Baptist, seeing so many cherished friends there, and I’ve missed singing in the choir.  But I have appreciated and enjoyed having services on Facebook, enjoying the beautiful music, Sunday school lesson, greeting and updates from Renae Hestor, and always a wonderful, uplifting message from Dr. Sapp, all while lounging in my pajamas and sipping coffee!

  I miss my Mondays in Athens with my rug hooking guild, but we do keep up with each other on Facebook.  I decided early on, if I was to be quarantined, I would use that time to finish my large stash of unfinished rug hooking projects.  I have finished 15 so far, with just three or four more to go.  These have been in the back of my mind to do, for a long time!  There was just never enough time!  My hands are sore from so much hooking and hand sewing, but I feel happy!

  After his three full weeks with me, Clarence needed to return to his office on his usual schedule.  That is when I decided I better move on to other things calling for my attention, the usual things like housework (I did only the minimal during pajama time, but did make the bed everyday), yardwork, and cleaning out drawers and boxes of stuff spanning our fifty three years together.  I still want to read a wonderful book I have, which I have put off because I chose to hook, instead.  While Clarence read, I hooked and sewed.

  I miss my grandchildren desperately, but do not get to see them but infrequently because they live so far away.  Thank goodness for Face Time! We had to cancel an event during early April, for which plane tickets had been bought and plans made, due to Covid- 19.  Our family was coming from England and South Dakota to Virginia to spend a week together to celebrate Andy and Wendy’s 50th birthdays, and other family birthdays.  Stacy and our son-in-law, Hunter Richardson were very excited about having us all at their home near Williamsburg.  We do plan to do this in the future when it is safe, but we were all disappointed.

  My family reunion in South Georgia has been cancelled for the first time in 50 years.  Other rug hooking events I was to attend this summer and fall have also been cancelled.  Life, as we all knew it, has definitely changed.

  To sum this up, I do not have the luxury of time as I’ve had during this period of isolation.  While I am a social person in many respects and I love and miss my friends, I am also a homebody.  I have loved this period of time to enjoy my home, to do exactly what I want to do, get dressed or stay in my pajamas, minimal housework or deep cleaning, a little yardwork or a lot.  I have rested.  I have not been out there in the usual hustle bustle, trying to make meetings, appointments, trying not to miss deadlines.  Some have this freedom in retirement.  Since my husband is not able to retire yet, my work load is heavy.  He needed rest, and I needed it, too.  I am thankful we have had this time together, but very sad that a deadly disease is what made it possible.  I am saddened so many lives have been lost and the financial security of many are at stake.

  I am still buying groceries less frequently (finally finding toilet paper in the store), but I am venturing out just a little more.  I finally bought gas recently, having stayed at a half tank for three months! (One of my childhood friends got a laugh out of that. They call me the go girl)!

  I thank God for all the blessings I’ve been given of which I‘ve given much thought to in these past few months!  Through it all, I have not panicked, knowing God is in control.  But I am really ready for this moment in time to be over, and a new and better one to begin. 

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