The pandemic became real for us in March, when we went to Costco the day after the shut-down, and there was no place to park in their huge parking lot, as well as a long line of people waiting to get into the store. We left, because who wants to fight that crowd? Within days, you couldn't buy toilet paper, paper towels, and laundry products anywhere. Empty shelves greeted us. Meat processing plants closed, so if you found meat of any kind in the store, it was three times the usual price; this caused many people to run to butcher shops and order half-hogs or a whole cow, so many people that butcher shops are probably still processing orders from March. I wonder if people even realize how much meat is in a whole cow. Meanwhile, since we had some meat in the freezer, I waited it out; soon the prices were back down where they belonged.
I always have a tiny garden of some kind... two or three tomato plants, if nothing else. This year I raised some very good sweet corn, green beans, okra, and eggplant. We had enough tomatoes to eat fresh in spite of the usual blight. I even had enough to freeze a few quarts for making chili and spaghetti sauce. This past fall I harvested about a bushel of turnips and ate them all myself, little by little. I cooked the last ones two weeks ago. I had begun to think there'd be no garden at all last spring, because Walmart didn't have any seeds. The hoarders had done their work! I decided I wanted to play with some baby chicks, but people were hoarding those too! Then I found out Odessa, a small town south of us, had chicks, so I got three pullets. While I was there, I noticed they had plenty of garden seeds, and that's when I began appreciating small-town retailers.
I don't plan to do any more canning, so when I saw someone in the Kansas City area wanted some canning jars, I told them they could have most of mine. A couple in their sixties or seventies who had never raised a garden thought they were going to need about a hundred canning jars. They remembered their parents raising big gardens, and they were going to raise their own food, since everything was so scarce in the stores. I sent them away with all those jars, knowing in my heart they'd be probably be lucky to use ten of them, because first gardens often don't turn out as expected. Not to mention that gardening and canning can wear out even a young person! But I let them leave with their high hopes still intact.
When the chicks got too big to keep in the house, I didn't know what to do with them. After trying one thing and another, they ended up back in the old chicken house. Cliff and the grandson had stuff stored in it, but they moved some stuff and then curtained off the other stuff in half the structure. It has worked, with only two hens and a rooster I acquired later from a neighbor. A dog killed one of my hens. (Make that two. I just took food out to them and I only have one hen and one rooster. The neighbor's pack of German Shepherds strikes again.)
At the beginning of the pandemic, a very talented local fellow began playing his guitar and singing, making a video each day of a different song. I did the same for awhile, but I'm not a good enough singer to do it forever; people would be wishing I'd shut up, I'm sure. On Mother's Day the Baptist Church re-opened. I never felt much of a covid risk there because it's in a building made to hold 150 or so, and there are usually about 25 people attending. It was easy to social distance. Later the Methodist Church opened again, with the stipulation of wearing a mask through services; it's another small church with few members, so I went there at 9 AM and then walked to the Baptist Church where service began at 10:30. Life feels more normal when I attend church services.
I had been telling folks for years that I wanted a solid-gray kitten. The grandma of the little girl we used to babysit brought us one from Iowa in May, and I named him Blue. I haven't enjoyed a cat that much since I was a child. He is so much fun, and spends a lot more time in the house than I ever intended.
The grandson went through a divorce in summer, and that put some gloom in the atmosphere for awhile. He has moved on now and is back in circulation with a lively social life. Cliff said he went to play poker last night with friends. He's dating, too.
Cliff and I flew to Georgia in October to visit our son and his family. It's amazing we didn't catch the virus, because we were shoulder to shoulder with people in the airports. I stayed away from Church the next Sunday, just in case. I surely wouldn't want to give that awful Covid to anyone. We really did enjoy our trip, though.
We skipped Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations, but due to warnings about holiday gatherings causing the pandemic to get worse, I once again stopped going to church. Depending on how things look nine days after New Year's Day, I intend to return on the second Sunday of 2021.
This has been a year of learning how divided we are as a nation, and how much hatred people have been harboring. Some folks would rather listen to conspiracy theories than to believe doctors. A friend was here yesterday and mentioned that her husband refuses to wear a mask. "He must have voted for Trump," I said. Of course he did.
I have to say, this year ended with a bang for us. Cliff got the tractor he'd been wanting. I won a ring made from a half-dollar that he's wearing. I got a wonderful new kitchen stove. I hope that's setting the tone for 2021! Not that I want to get a lot of "stuff", but I like surprises of any kind.
I'll likely be going to bed at 9 PM tonight, like I do every night, so I'll take this chance to tell all my readers how much I appreciate every one of you, even the ones who never comment because they creep over here to see if I'm going to put my foot in my mouth or make a fool of myself in some way. Hey, that's my job!
God bless us every one.