Category Archives: Big Stone Gap

A Shot in the Dark – – –

Jack hits the spot a day early for the first time ever – – –

I’m scheduled for my first Covid 19 vaccine shot next Wednesday and the second twenty eight days later. I feel pretty euphoric about it! I should be safe to be around folks a week after the second shot.

It will have been about a year after going into strict hibernation when I emerge and it’s interesting to look back on how I’ve survived, how life changed and what kept me (relatively) sane during that time.

Wendy and I live in a rural area that, for various reasons, didn’t sign on to the advice and rules regarding controlling the spread of the virus; very patchy mask wearing or social distancing. So she kept me in the house throughout except to take the trash for re-cycling and filling the cars with gas – these were my luxury outings, but wearing a mask and gloves. And once we went to view Christmas lights! She did all the shopping, chose her times of day carefully and was meticulous about changing clothes, sanitizing bought stuff and getting even the floors in the house mopped with a bleach solution where she had walked in the house. 

That might seem like some kind of jail term but it wasn’t. Because she has been able to work from home I’ve been busy with lots of domestic chores – a house husband. So I mowed our yard, did most of the meal planning and cooking, did various long delayed house repairs etc. We have five recalcitrant cats and I’m the cleaner up of their litter trays and accidents (because I’ve no sense of smell), and a very lazy dog and they provide lots of diversion. I’ve also continued to record my radio programs and to interact on-line with friends and old colleagues, so I haven’t felt trapped or depressed at all. I also, like many musical friends, videoed many songs and stuck them up on YouTube for posterior (SP?).

I wonder what the world will look like post Covid 19? I suspect it will be very different, but sometimes, the more things change….

A famous British Prime Minister once described the uncertainty of political life as having far less to do with planning and policy than “events, dear friends, events” (Harold MacMillan). The same has been true for everyday life, this year. Wendy has to wait in line until she can get the vaccine shots – we may have to separate – –

Although several times during this year we looked at each other and said what is now our tag line: “We’ve been locked in here xx days/weeks/months now and I still love you.” Twenty three years and one quarantine later, that counts for something.

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

The Land o the Leal

Jack makes it on time again – – –

2020 has been a year of surprises. Some were terrifying and others were poignant, as was one earlier this week.

I went out to check our mailbox and there was a large thin stiff envelope there. I immediately recognized it as containing a calendar and had a very eerie feeling. The only person who sends us calendars is my old friend Colin Stuart in Scotland. But Colin died suddenly and unexpectedly in January of sepsis – –

Sure enough, when I opened the package it did contain a calendar with Scottish scenes. Turning it over, I noticed the sender name on the back of the envelope. Colin’s sister had mailed it but I’ve no idea how she found our address – maybe in some of Colin’s things at his house I suppose. I thought it was a lovely thoughtful way to keep his memory alive in a way that will continue throughout the year.

Something very similar happened when my older sister Margaret passed away a few years ago. I made contact with her old school chum Christine not long before Margaret passed. Christine, who lives in England, re-connected with one of her old friends who lives here in SW Virginia simply because they are both Facebook friends with Wendy and me. All part of the great kaleidoscope of life.

Margaret had always sent electronic greetings cards to us for our birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Somehow Christine got wind of this and she has carried on the tradition. We get lovely online greetings from her for each occasion and it reminds us not only of our friendship with her but of Margaret.

As I get older (and older) it’s inevitable that many contemporaries pass away and it reminds me of a much shared observation. You die three times – 1) When your body dies 2) When you the last person who remembers you dies 3) When the last thing you impacted is gone.

I’m pleased to have known so many friends and relations whose third death is yet a long way off.

Of course the calendar can’t go on the wall until Friday; any earlier would be bad luck, and we’ve had enough in 2020 – another Scots tradition.

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, Scotland, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch