COVID 19: Day 87: Normal

Today is Day 87 of my social isolation.  I broke quarantine and went into the office.  I had to.  I’m up to my ass in alligators and it’s time to clean out the swamp.

It was nice to sit at my desk.  I had Mexican take-out for lunch.  I riffled through email and an email technology problem.  I shuffled some paper around.  I made a few phone calls.  It was all so normal.  Nice, splendid normal.

Tomorrow I will go in for what will probably be a full day.  We have a big technology project underway and I don’t even know what continent my ducks are on — forget having them in a row.

Normal.  It’s a nice respite, but I think it’s just that.  I don’t think the pandemic is even close to over.  But I’ll take a day like this now and again.  Oh, yes, I will.

COVID-19: Day 84: National Moonshine Day

Today is, I’m told, National Moonshine Day.  To celebrate, I offer you my short story The Plum. 

It should be noted that The Plum is very much a real thing and not a product of my imagination.

I was first introduced to it on a camping trip on the Williams River in Pocahontas County.  The more manly and womanly amongst us made a point of “eating the plum” — I wasn’t one of them.

The Plum gets its name, of course, from the plums that are placed in the jar.  Moonshine is poured over and the plums are allowed to steep.  The ‘shine turns a beautiful color and the moonshine is flavored with ripe plum.

I’ve lived in West Virginia since 1985.  Moonshine is de rigueur when non-Appalachians visit.  When you live in a barn, folks expect you to have moonshine.  I seldom comply.  The real stuff is hard to come by and kind of expensive.   On principle, I refuse to buy the legal stuff.  I’m not sure what the principle is, but toddling down to the liquor store and buying a quart of moonshine doesn’t feel authentic.

I made up the origin story.  I have no idea if it’s a hundred-year-old recipe or concocted for the first time in the early ’90s when I first tasted it.  But I’ve tasted it at various intervals and it’s good.  Really good.  Although, a sip or two will do me.  Mercy, a quart would last me a decade.

The Williams River is my happy place.  It’s my favorite spot on the planet.  I am so thankful for that one 4th of July where I got to experience all of the wonder and power and magic of a bunch of hillbillies camping, playing music, and sipping The Plum.

And, if you’d like to hear me reading The Plum, here ya go:


Willy and Me on the Williams River


COVID-19: Day 82: Early Mornings

Sunrise over cloudy mountain ridge

Enter Creator: Photographer: Nickolay Khoroshkov
Copyright: Copyright:Nickolay Khoroshkov
Information extracted from IPTC Photo Metadata.a caption  Wikipedia Creative Commons

My sleep pattern is really off — even for me.  It’s stress and tension and worry and current affairs.  It’s not quite 5 a.m., and I’ve been up for well over an hour.

For most of my adult life, I was a night owl.  Then I entered the halcyon days of going to bed at 10 p.m. with a book and waking at 6 or 7 a.m.  Then the Evil Menopause occurred, and sleep became elusive.  I’m either past that or have made peace with it, but now I’m stuck on the to-bed-by-8 and up at 4 a.m. pattern.  This is a problem.

It’s even more of a problem now because between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. I’m up multiple times.  For water, to pee, to stare at the screen, to stare at the wall.  My mind churns, and my spirit is disturbed.

With current affairs being what they are (mayhem), I am sleep deprived.  I punctuate my late afternoon with a long nap, but I don’t think I’m getting enough hours in a row.  My dreams are vivid and, often, disturbing.  Working, writing, and tending to life’s daily chores are hard.

I need some peace, but that seems unlikely.  So.  I need to learn how to navigate this turmoil.  These are momentous times — I need to be sharp.


COVID-19: Day 44: Getting a groove on.

I’m settling into this.

I haven’t had much to talk about. I work. I  clean. I eat. I nap.  I sleep.  Day in and day out.

Yesterday, a friend approached me with a writing project.  Woo Hoo!  I need assignments to write and this one even came with a writing prompt.

“and she spilled it before he could tell her no”  — prompt from Bobby Lee Messer

I had to turn that into a 90-second spoken word story.  I did.  It takes a long while to write 250 cohesive and coherent words.  I figure I’ve got 5 hours and change into the latest draft.  Shorter is harder.

Tonight, I’m kinda embarrassed to say, I broke quarantine and had my mom in for dinner.  I cooked tacos.  By the time I carried them down the hill they were going to be cold.  We can’t be having cold (and wet, it’s raining) tacos.  So, we sat almost six feet apart and had dinner together.  You may recall that tacos My Way are my favorite meal.

It was nice to have an in-person conversation.  I did, however, unceremoniously throw her out once we were both eating. It’s one thing to bend rules.  It’s another to shatter them.