We're doing fine

South Dakota is one of two states that I know of where we have a hunting season on and eat our state bird. The other state is Alaska, where the ptarmigan is the state bird, There might be other states that eat their state bird, but the ptarmigan and the ring-necked Pheasant are both big enough to make a tasty meal. It would be a bit of a challenge to fill up on Idaho’s state bird, the mountain bluebird, or Montana’s western meadowlark. Anyway here we eat our state bird. I’m not a hunter, but I have the good luck of being friends with a hunter who gives me pheasants, dressed and ready to cook. While we are journeying with our friends through this time of social isolation, we’ve been carefully eating through some of the food in our freezer to cut down on trips to the store. Of course yesterday, I wanted to cook the pheasant in a particular way. I had the idea of making a pot pie. So, on my way home from work, I decided to make a quick trip through the grocery store to see if they might have any potatoes. We have sweet potatoes, but no russets. Walking through the store I noticed that there were some foods in the freezer section, and then I rounded the corner and “score!” The dairy case where they keep eggs, which has been empty for at least 10 days, was filled with eggs. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Knowing that we were down to three eggs at home, I picked up a carton and checked to make sure that there were no broken ones. Pleased with my selection, I headed on around to the produce department, which had quite a bit of food, but no potatoes, paid for my purchase and went home. Pheasant pie with carrots and cream sauce was a real treat for dinner. I cooked rice as a side dish and we didn’t miss the potatoes at all.

It makes me sad that the “normal” for so many children in our community is to get their meals at school, and now from whatever church or other site is handing out food. At the same time, we’re eating like royalty, with rich cream sauce over exotic meat. I know it isn’t fair, and we had enough to share, but didn’t know how to do what was required.

One of the things about having been around for a while is that people call you to check up on you. I spoke with both my sister and one of my brothers yesterday. It is a rare occurrence for me to speak to both in the same day. My sister is doing great. She’s a small town Montana girl. The thing about Montana ranchers is that they don’t have to change their lives a bit in order to practice social distancing. People don’t go into ranching because they want to be close to their neighbors. She’s perfectly happy that people aren’t driving down her driveway. Once a month or so she goes to Costco where the shopping carts are big enough to guarantee no one can come within six feet of you. The dog keep the UPS driver in his truck, where he slides the door just enough to hand her the package. Who knows how terrified he is being a UPS driver who is afraid of dogs who delivers in rural Montana? I don’t think he has any customers who don’t have dogs. That guy must hate his job.

My brother is a caregiver for a man who has cerebral palsy and so is considered an essential worker and isn’t house bound by the rules. He is a bike rider who absolutely enjoys empty streets and a lack of traffic. He likes to spout his philosophies, which are, to say the least, different from mine. Each conversation with him gives me an opportunity to practice restraint and to keep my mouth shut, a skill that could use quite a bit more practice, I’m sure.

So maybe the new normal will be talking with my siblings more. That wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Our son, who is enjoying a 15-day quarantine because the library where he is the director is across the alley from the city hall where someone visited and later tested positive for the virus. He has three children so just being at home means working. In addition, he has to find time to keep the digital portion of the library functioning and serving people. He has been researching the best ways to provide maximum service to their population. Last time I spoke to him he was researching specialized commercial ovens that can heat up books to a particular temperature for a particular amount of time to kill any viruses that may be on them without damaging the books. That will allow them to sterilize books as they come back from being loaned. I’m fascinated that his city is actually paying him to learn how to cook the books.

Our daughter lives on a US Air Force base in Misawa, Japan that is about to go on lock-down because there have been cases of Covid-19 within about 20 miles. Her son is approaching 8 months old and is clearly capable of entertaining her. She isn’t getting bored staying home and taking care of him. We get delightful pictures every day.

And we are fortunate to have plenty of work and enough space to walk outdoors every day. I feel slightly guilty because I see the front-line workers in the grocery stores and I speak regularly with hospital workers and cops and firefighters who have jobs that expose them to unknown bacteria and viruses every day. My job these days involves talking on the phone and learning new things on the computer. It is a challenge, but not a hardship.

The biggest thing is that I don’t have an audience for my jokes. I could have used the one about cooking the books in a sermon. So it goes.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!