Appalachia COVID-19

Our Weird New World

mushroom growing on branch

I’m trying to get used to this weird new world we’re living in, I imagine a few of you are too.

We’re still staying home as much as possible, and I still haven’t seen Granny although I have talked to her on the phone every day. I haven’t seen Miss Cindy either, but we’ve emailed and texted daily.

The girls are working from home now too.

One of my nephews, you might remember him as Mandolin Man if you’ve been reading for a long long time, came home from Memphis to stay for a while. His wife is in ophthalmology school so her classes are put on hold and he works from home so he’s able to take his job with him.

My other nephew, Guitar Man, has been isolated in his home for longer than the rest of us. His wife is very pregnant and they made the decision to isolate before folks really started saying we should.

My niece, the nephews sister, was supposed to get married May 2. The dresses are bought (Chatter and Chitter were going to be bridesmaids), the invitations mailed, and the plans made. Now the wedding has been canceled and the couple will marry in a quiet ceremony at my brother’s home. At this point I don’t think any of us can even go—there’d be way more than ten of us. I told the girls’ to ask their cousin if I could watch from the woods 🙂

We’ve all heard the stories of canceled proms and graduations along with other important things that have been put on hold for the foreseeable future. Today the Governor of NC declared folks stay at home for the next 30 days except for essential travel so I’m sure the cancellations will continue to pile up.

Along with working from home there’s tons of other stuff I could do, but I find myself having a hard time focusing on anything. I’m hoping a new normal will arise from this weird new world we’re living in and my ability to focus on things at hand will return.

Please share what you’ve been doing to cope during this time.


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  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    March 29, 2020 at 10:35 am

    I’m confined at home due to age & chronic illness. I do miss my thrift store trips but our son is here & he is doing our necessary shopping. Trying to get some backed up house work done. I had started a major clean about a month ago–cleaned out & donated quite a few books which I’m now wondering if I should have!! I hope to continue with that & maybe we’ll come out of this squeaky clean!!

    We’ve got our seeds out in my little greenhouse & we’ve got it bungeed this year so we don’t have another calamity. Last year it was blown over with all mu plants up! We’re looking forward to the garden. I’d love to have some early stuff out already but we have had rain almost constantly.

    I’ve always been what I call a “sane prepper” so we’ve got most of what we need unless this goes on long term. I’m thawing some stuff from my freezer to can–got a pork loin ready. That’s about all of our “panic” stuff. I may do a turkey as well. It just takes so long to pressure can meat but I guess I don’t have much else to do!!

    Please take care! Thank you for so much joy over the years. The Pig is one of the first things I look at every day.

  • Reply
    Glenda C. Beall
    March 28, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    I began preparations for isolating myself before the government said to do so. I am usually proactive instead of reactive. Although no one likes this situation, I am glad we were told to shelter in place because so many won’t do anything unless they are forced to do so. What I miss most is going to physical therapy because it was helping me so much. I also miss meeting my friends for lunch or holding the class I am teaching in a classroom instead of online. However, I find ways to enjoy life. Today I took my little dog, Lexie, for a ride and a walk. We stopped by Dairy Queen drive through for a hog dog for me and a plain beef patty for her. I have someone run errands for me and pick up groceries for me, and my neighbors across the street check on me and offer to help me if I need anything. My lifestyle is not hampered so much, but I worry about my family down in southwest Georgia which has been hit hard with this virus. As much as I complain about technology and my frustrations with Internet, WiFi, and new Microsoft program, I am so thankful I have it now. It helps me stay in touch with friends all over the world and especially with my sister and nieces. I am so sorry for those who can’t stay home, but must take care of the sick and protect all their community. I pray they will have the products they need in hospitals and nursing homes, wherever they have to be on the first line of defense in this dark time.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    I’m working from home as are most of my colleagues. We’ve been home for two weeks now and tentatively will return to work on 4-13. While not missing the commute to and from the office every day, I miss the daily physical contact work provides me. I’m very much a homebody but this is different … like someone pointed out, I’m being told to stay home! We do have a humor break everyday and we reach out via e-mail or phone to check on each other, so there’s still contact of some kind.
    My adult children are also telling me to stay home! Bossy people! Haha! We all talk during everyday via text, so the social aspect of technology does help somewhat.
    Doing a lot of reading, devotional, Bible, your blog, tasks that have been put off for too long.
    This too shall pass.
    I’m not worried because I know God has a plan; but I get a bit concerned about some folks who don’t take it seriously enough – they could infect another person w/o even realizing it.
    God has always provided for me and I’ll trust Him now as well. I just pray for God’s best for our immediate families, friends and loved ones, but God’s will as well.
    (Been sitting on my screened-in porch most of the day reading, doing some chores, etc. been hearing sirens all day off and on; wondering what’s up out there. Praying.)

  • Reply
    Paula V from Michigan
    March 28, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    Strange times for the whole world. We in Michigan are in lockdown as well. Fortunately for my husband I love to cook and am selecting recipes that take time to prepare, such as today’s stuffed grape leaves (dolma), yellow rice and spinach pie. Hmmm…what to make tomorrow? Stay well all.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    I’m sure we all feel the same as you. My son has had to change his wedding plans also. The plans have been ongoing for year. They have decided to marry in a small ceremony on their original date but will go ahead with the larger celebration at a later date so all the family and friends can be there. Although we are sad about the way things have turned out we are so thankful our family is all well. Here in a Kentucky we are almost completely shut down. Prayers to all the Blind Pig Family and readers that everyone stays well.

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    March 28, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    hi it really is just so peculiar at present here in new zealand we are on level4 lock down which means everyone is in isolation and has to stay home unless accessing essential services such as supermarkets doctors or banking bybeftpos or internet banking depending on how it goes the lockdown could be a lot longer thank goodness we still can communicate with each other although our demand for the internet is through the roof here theamount being used is phenominal to everyone out there please try and stay safe and well us people over 70 must stay home here in new zealand its so hard to do some times you just have to though as i and my friends have each deveope a support network to keep in touch and help each other love to everyone look after yousef as muuch as you can

  • Reply
    March 28, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    Interesting you mentioned “focusing”, as my husband and I have been fighting “something” for the last 6 weeks and fatigue and trouble focusing are still with us. We have not been anywhere and had the flu shot, but the “something” got us and was a bummer. It has consumed the winter of 2020. Spring is in sight and fresh air is glorious so my mental health is looking up and I can smile. My best to all at the BP.

  • Reply
    Bob Jones &Inez
    March 28, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Good Day to everyone reading Tipper’s blog and of course to the Blind Pig and Acorn family. I just read yesterday’s blog Tipper and PLEASE don’t send Jack Frost “up north” to us!Our day highs are only in the low 40F and we still have an abundance of snow. Yes,each day is different now. We live in a small rural area but over the bridge to town central is where we have to go for groceries, bank, etc. Our provincial authorities say anyone over 70 to self-isolate so that is our life now. We are both readers, my husband paints and is a musician, I like handwork (embroidery).Also some little neglected jobs are getting done. Family and neighbors are getting needed grocery items. We are very thankful and and know that God knows all about this situation. Even in our loneliness we are never alone as He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. However whether up hear in New Brunswick, Canada or down in Brasstown, N.C.U.S.A., we are all in this together. Love to read the comments and so look forward to reading Tipper’s blog each day. God Bless all and keep well.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 28, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Well, I spent the morning out amongst a bunch of folks. Why there was more than a thousand of us congregated together. But I’m not too worried about me contaminating them or vice-versa. In fact, I was sort of decontaminating them with a dose of cleaning solution, several applications of grease (of the elbow variety), and a good shower. Here’s what they looked like before and after decon:

    • Reply
      March 28, 2020 at 6:06 pm

      I’m sure the folks appreciated the helping hand. Brought a smile to my face! take care!

  • Reply
    Glynda Chambers
    March 28, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Hi Tipper, I’m so much like the rest of you folks. Staying in but I am getting out to walk a lot and that helps, my husband works at the USPS distribution facility in Asheville so of course he is still working. I really miss my family, talk to most of them often and they’re doing fine but I have two little great granddaughters 5 months and 17 months and had been able to spend lots of time with them and I really miss that and they’re growing so fast. I to have tons of work I can do in the house but I just can’t seem to motivate myself to do it. Read a lot. Seems like the times we’re in right now have just turned everything upside down. When this is all over it will not be too soon for me and I pray daily for all the people affected with this in every capacity.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    It surely is very weird. I personally think God is wanting to get our attention. Maybe the only way He could do that is to force us to all slow way down to where we can really focus on Him without all the distraction. I guess I think about things differently, but looking at it through a spiritual lens seems to be my default perspective. May He bless and keep all of us healthy and safe through all of this and also draw our hearts Heavenward. We are all just passing through here anyway. Sending much love and hugs to you all!

  • Reply
    Hank Skewis
    March 28, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Tipper. Yes, it’s a weird, almost surreal world these days but it sounds like you and yours are doing alright. We are lucky to live in a relatively rural area so we can get out for drives and walks in the country. I’m playing the banjo some every day and we keep busy; we’re retired so no job worries. Feel so bad for all those who do. The aid bill should give some peace of mind I hope.

    Blessings and health to all.

  • Reply
    Carolyn Anderson
    March 28, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    Tipper, Thank you so much for the beautiful stories you share on your blog. I enjoy reading them and it gives me so much hope in mankind.
    We are staying busy around the house and doing gardening and David is pruning some trees.
    I miss seeing everyone around the community but I think we are doing the right thing now by staying out of crowds.
    Please keep the good news coming and thanks again for all your time and talent.
    Tell the girls, we said hello.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    March 28, 2020 at 11:37 am

    My being retired and with the restrictions Parkinson’s disease has forced on me, my routine hasn’t really been affected. I usually spend my days taking my dog for short walks, reading, writing, watching TV and taking a nap or two. So self-isolating places no hardship on me, but it irks me to no end because I am told to do it. Perhaps I’ll take the dog for a longer walk, maybe even a ride in the car.
    Am I becoming a Covid Rebel?

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    March 28, 2020 at 11:37 am

    Isolation has been an opportunity to catch up on things that had been set aside for lack of time. Also for more prayer, more reading, and lovely naps. I’m thankful for online church services, but miss seeing people.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2020 at 11:21 am

    This is a hard time for me living alone. My dear husband passed last November and I miss him so much yet know that as sick as he was he would have been so concerned about his hospice nurses who would visit him weekly. We were married in Oct of 1968 and we both came down at same time with the Hong Kong flu Jan 1969. I think we were down for a week with fever and coughing and feeling like every bone in our body was aching but we got through it. We fought on for over 51 years and I sure miss him! Our sons are working from their homes now and they call and check on me every day.
    Right now I am sewing masks for our church. We have a sewing group that meets every two weeks at our church, but for now just doing the sewing at our homes. I am able to get out and walk in an area not far from my house as nature always brightens my day, and I am using this time to clean out cabinets and look through old cookbooks. Trying some new recipes too.
    Our church is streaming Sunday’s Worship Service and I am so thankful that I can view it on my P.C. Our small groups can use an app called Zoom to keep on studying.
    I always enjoy reading your blog in the morning with my first cup of coffee!! May God Bless and keep ya all safe and well!

  • Reply
    March 28, 2020 at 11:10 am

    I am finally cleaning old papers and bills from Mama’s home and also my old papers. I’ve let this stuff pile up. Why I saved some of the papers I did, I’ll never know. I’m taking walks when it’s not raining. I have no worries. One daughter in New York is working from home, and my youngest qualifies for unemployment, as she’s been laid off until things get better at her company. My husband and I are both retired, and we get Social Security and pensions from the school system. I really miss church being closed, but we are getting on-line sermons and other things we can watch.

  • Reply
    harry adams
    March 28, 2020 at 10:50 am

    Life hasn’t changed a lot here for me. There have been weeks before I left the farm before it is the norm. My wife is having a harder time with only me here to talk to and her clubs all cancelled. Thankfully the phones still work.

    She made your cabbage stew early this week and it was so good. She used noodles instead of dumplings which made it really simple.

    I really enjoy reading your blog and all of the comments. Another way of passing time while resting from outside work.

    One change that has occurred is I told Claudia that I needed her to go with me this afternoon to look at work that is to be done to stabilize our creek so that she could instruct the contractor if I wasn’t here to do it. That would never have happened in the past.

  • Reply
    Oklahoma Jan
    March 28, 2020 at 10:37 am

    My husband and I were just talking this morning that we think good can result from this time of crisis. Our kids and (future) grandkids may enjoy simpler things rather than material things, and they may be better prepared for the future, rather than living on credit. We could also see less need for brick and mortar universities as educational institutions, making college more affordable. However, more young folks may choose skilled trades rather than college, as our skilled trades men and women are recognized for what they are–“essential personnel”. Meanwhile, my husband and I are working from home…thankful we still love and appreciate each other after 38 years of marriage!

  • Reply
    SusieQ and Donnie Ray
    March 28, 2020 at 10:31 am

    Tipper, we over here in Kentucky can sure relate …….every morning I wake up and it seems so weird when you get to thinking about all that has come about ,and so seemingly suddenly. Seems like everything around us with some exceptions are closed, canceled ,or postponed…… So many changes…. But our hope and help and trust are in God who changes not….,.we are doing church online via their fb page, and also they give us a daily encouragement online…yesterday a song was shared along with it… the hymn ”’On Christ the solid Rock I stand ” every verse. 🙂 and then Romans 8;28 ….so thankful we can talk to God about everything , coming to Him in Prayer….. We are socially distancing 🙂 …we did that last night out on the porch with my sister and husband who live down the road 🙂 talking past our usual bedtime….we drive around too just to get out a bit. Even in the midst of it all we do have so much to be thankful for .

  • Reply
    March 28, 2020 at 10:00 am

    It’s the high school seniors I feel so sorry for. They have looked so forward to their prom and graduation that will eventually happen but wont be the same. My grandson broke the all time record at his school for most points ever scored in basketball. He didn’t get the recognition he deserved but has never complained. That was about the time schools closed, newspapers had more important things to report and the school lost two students in an auto accident. Not being able to attend funerals has got to be one of the worst things this pandemic has caused.
    I’m so thankful for the few warm days that allowed me to be outside working. I don’t think I know what it feels like to be bored with as much as I have to do. I’m not into watching TV. If I have extra time, I grab a book.

  • Reply
    Edwin Ammons
    March 28, 2020 at 10:00 am

    Not a lot of difference here. I have been “sheltered in place” for several years now. Long before this disease reared its ugly head I was only leaving the place for mail, medicine and meat. And some vegetables of course but they don’t start with m. Actually I don’t eat a lot of meat.
    Being “home bound” ain’t a lot of fun but at least now I have a lot of company if that makes any sense.

    PS: I did get a 1 lb piece of london broil to grind to make the Cabbage Patch Stew.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2020 at 9:55 am

    My wife and I enjoy being together as well as with others. We are catching up on a few projects around the house and yard, We play 2-3 games of Scrabble each day, she paints and I read. As long as we have electricity and water I think we’ll be fine. We have plenty of food in the freezer. I need to make a “drug run” to the pharmacy soon. I’ll use the drive through window.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 28, 2020 at 8:45 am

    I guess I am an oddball but I don’t feel much difference. We have no family close. I don’t go out and about much anyway. I am doing what I would be doing normally, working in the garden, mowing grass, etc. The biggest change is having no church. I feel for those whose lives have been much more disrupted.

    I recognize that unsettled, neither here nor there feeling though. Change affects us that way. We are not where we were but we are not yet where we are going to be. Difficult to guess how much and in what ways the future will be different from what it looked like before New Year. I pin my hope on there being redemption for this trouble “according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.”

  • Reply
    gayle larson
    March 28, 2020 at 8:38 am

    We are so lucky to live here and be able to go outside and enjoy nature. Do you think maybe God is tired of hearing us complain and argue? Maybe he is sending us to our room for a time out. We will all come out of this rested and with a new outlook on our blessings. We are a hearty bunch.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 28, 2020 at 8:34 am

    I live alone so am used to spending a lot of time with myself. My major socialization is the gym and at least a weekly visit with you all. The gym is closed and you all are in isolation, sooooo, it’s just me and the cat and he’s not in the best of health.
    There is a 1/4 mile walking track behind the gym and I’ve walked there a few times. Yesterday I walked half of the town’s river walk trail. It’s a really nice trail maintained by the town beside the river, several miles in length.
    Fortunately it’s spring so it’s yard work time! I’m cleaning up from torrential rain flooding my yard in preparation for moving. Also tidying up my herb garden in preparation for planting.
    Then there is reading…I love books and can easily spend hours reading.
    And there you have it. My life in a paragraph!
    The thing I miss the most is my family and I keep telling myself this will not last forever.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2020 at 8:29 am

    Not wanting to be an alarmist, I am wondering about the bigger picture. Through the ages we have had diseases and plagues that really rocked the world. Apparently we are in a worldwide crisis, and it is touching everybody in some way. I choose to trust in “the man upstairs” as we Appalachians sometimes call him. Meanwhile I wade through all the conflicting info and just try to follow what I learned in many years of nursing, Good hygienic handwashing often and keeping hand sanitizer in my car is what I find most important. Even though some articles say a mask does not help, it is my choice to wear one anytime I am around people….masks required and served me well all those many years when I entered isolation rooms. Also, I change out of my clothes as soon as I get home. Any barrier helps, and I never caught any of the deadly diseases I was exposed to. I carry minimal into a store with just the card I use and my car key. This was my world for many years so it comes natural. Meanwhile, for sanity sake I have been down to my community garden and picked the kale that wintered over, and went ahead and planted onion sets and anything that could possibly thrive. My windows are filled with soup cans full of soil and seeds. I mowed the grass, and looked at those pesky dandelions in a different way. Great time to clean those ceiling fans I have neglected. Time for careful and strategic grocery pickup. Meanwhile my prayers are with the Blind Pig family and all the readers, We are a strong “bunch.”

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    March 28, 2020 at 7:46 am

    Tipper–These are trying times indeed, ones which find us, to use an expressive word from Pap, “needful” of a lot of things. We long for companionship when circumstances mean loneliness. We want cheer when it seems tough to find. We desire social mixing and mingling when common sense (and in many areas, the law) dictate otherwise. Some have loved ones in situations where no visitation is possible.

    All of this reminds us though that in tough times mountain folks stiffen their backs, straighten their shoulders, strengthen their resolve and figuratively plow ahead. It’s an opportunity to perform some long postponed chores; launch new project;, get one’s home, yard, and garden in tip-top shape; try some new recipes; take long, contemplative walks; and look back to those who went before us for lessons.

    Among those lessons are making do with what you’ve got, knowing God helps those who help themselves, helping others as you can, and finding sanity in the sanctity of work.

    Then there are opportunities to read, renew old acquaintances via e-mail like Kat is doing, and maybe bring some kind of new dimension to life. Most of all, I’m trying to keep my head high and attitude positive, and it’s my wish all your readers will be able to do likewise.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    March 28, 2020 at 7:28 am

    I will never forget The three Indian Princesses that you wrote about several years ago. April is as pretty as she can be, and I know Chitter and Chatter are proud are Proud of her too.

    I spoke to her one time as she was arriving at her uncle’s school, where Paul is the Principal. She didn’t even know me then, but spoke anyway. I’ll bet Steve and his wife are fit to be tied, so are Mark and Ben. It isn’t every day when your loved one get’s married. Congratulations, April! …Ken

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 28, 2020 at 7:08 am

    My house stays clean, I live alone but have a couple of cats to keep me company. I have been sorting through old photos mine, my momma’s, my grandma’s and my great aunts. It is both joyful and painful. I am scanning them into files to share with my children. If this continues I may have to start scrapbooking. To date I have almost 400 photos scanned with my dad’s old WWII army trunk still to go through

  • Reply
    Roger Fingar
    March 28, 2020 at 7:00 am

    While we’ve always imagined Brasstown being the better place to hunker down in a crisis like this, we find ourselves in our other (original) home on the outskirts of Tampa. Being isolated from family (kids, grandkids, my mother & sister) while living in relatively close proximity, for about a month now is weird beyond description. We, like Guitar Man, took action early, as my wife is a five year cancer survivor. I guess in this time of isolation, it’s good to think about the freedom we DO have – the internet, phones, greeting folks from a distance, even the abilities of thinking and physical movement are not to be taken for granted. This is a steep price the world is paying for character building, but it is just one of the positive byproducts that we can take with us when we emerge from this.

    My wife has been painting a series of signs called “Signs of Hope” and hanging them from trees and utility poles in our neighborhood. Trying to find the best things to say to offer encouragement, without being preachy or too pollyana, isn’t easy, but we’re trying our best.

    Home repair, repainting, cellar conversion to shop space and reorganizing have been our winter projects that have spilled over into this unexpected contradiction of a Spring.

    Be safe y’all. We’re all counting on you.

  • Reply
    Kat Swanson
    March 28, 2020 at 6:49 am

    Two weeks ago my old college pals and i started an email thread now up to 18 of us. Some of us have not seen each other in over 40 years and we are really enjoying the carch up. I came off chemo in January so I have been home for a year, so this is ok. I decided months ago to do very little house cleaning, so I PLAY …This week I made a wind chime from old flattened silverware and glass beads.

  • Reply
    Sheila Lowery
    March 28, 2020 at 6:46 am

    It is very trying times we live in. I live alone and feel the strain of loneliness. I work at our local school so, of course haven’t worked in awhile. I am blessed that our school board continues to pay me.
    Before this shelter in place began I had bought paint to freshen up my little house. I have basically painted or cleaned everything that stands still. Yesterday I mowed for the first time this year.
    I’ve been reading Psalms and listening to some of my favorite music that you’ve uploaded to YouTube. I really enjoy your family’s talent. Such a blessing!
    Stay safe and well!

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