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One week down – time to settle into routine
CHASCA has decided to observe Governor Evers’ ‘Safer at Home’ order, and is spending quality time with the Bop. Judging by the head gear, perhaps and early hunting lesson is taking place?

GAYS MILLS - It’s fairly early on Monday, March 23, day seven of this quarantine life.

There have been days when it feels like one is blurring into the next and I’m having trouble remembering if I did ‘that’ today, yesterday, the day before or, was it last year?” 

But I find, as long as I stay off of social media (which, is really, really hard when you’re obsessed with news), the COVID-19 doesn’t exist in my little corner of the world. At least not until Chasca gets home from work and I have to hold the kids back while he goes and takes a decontamination shower from being exposed to other humans.

Last week, I utilized Johnson’s One Stop’s grocery delivery service a couple of days after they implemented it. I never thought getting my groceries would cause me to feel so much emotion deep in my chest, but here we are. 

I made my little list, lunch meat, milk, yeast for baking and a few other items I wanted (not really needed) and called them in. True to Johnson’s fashion the person on the other end of the line was chipper, prompt and helpful. They sought out all of my items in the store and were able to deliver it the same day. I was in my bedroom folding laundry when the big Chevy pickup rolled into our drive, causing Thatcher to sound the alarm. 

 “Sommmmeee booooddddyyy isss HEEERRREEE MOM!” 

I quickly scampered to my door, and saw a young man step out of his truck in full quarantine regalia. Bright purple gloves, a face mask, and Johnson’s One Stop hoodie. I’m guessing if it wasn’t for the mask he’d probably be smiling, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Johnson’s employee not smiling, no matter what the situation. He kindly handed me the box, at a distance his long arms allowed and told me to “have a good day and stay safe!” It was this well wish that gave me pause, and reminded me what we’re living through and I found myself starting to choke up a bit. The combination of the surreal moment and kindness layered on top, just struck a tender place in me. I was reminded why I am thankful to live in this community. 

Another unexpected moment I’ve had is, realizing that in a weird way, my quality of life has improved during quarantine. 

Whereas before, I found myself getting zero exercise, too much time in the car and a whole lot of nothing but screen time. Now, at least this past week, I’ve been spacing my work out, spending time outside, going for walks, hikes, and doing yardwork, baking, and spending time with my kids in a way I’ve never been able to do. 

I’ve taken more time to enjoy this life that I’m privileged to live and at times even go so far as to be thankful in a way that I’m afforded this luxury of time. 

It won’t last forever. One day, this will all be a memory for us and we will be back to our old ways of life.  And how weird will that be? 

I know this situation is deeply frightening to many, myself included, but the best we can do is to do what we can. 

Get outside and enjoy the spring that is arriving. Take your kids out and look for the birds that are arriving, the robins and red-winged blackbirds. Poke around in your yard and see what baby plants are springing forth new life. Take your dog for a walk and watch their tongue wag joyously in the fresh air. Pick up garbage and make your space a little better. All of these things will help to take your mind off this situation. 

And those of you who continue to work and volunteer so we can all shelter at home, I am thankful for you. Chasca is at this time among those who still has to go to work every day being in food production. I know there are so many more who cannot stop working. We are really, truly grateful for you. 

I hope maybe next week when I sit down to write this column. there will have been some major breakthrough and things won’t look so bleak. But for now, I continue to urge you to stay home, stay away from others, even those who you love so dearly it makes your heart hurt. I know it’s not easy. We miss our family too, but pick up the phone and call, it’s the best we can do now. Please, please stay home, so that one day we can all go out and enjoy each other once more.