We had become like spoiled children in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” You doubt me? When we were hungry, we drove-thru dozens of fast food places to satisfy our need for hot, cold, salty, sweet, and greasy. We ate in the car and zoomed off again. When we really felt beat, we beat it to our favorite sit-down indoor diner. They knew us, we knew them. Most wait staff brought our drinks right to the table without our having to ask. Ahh, the good ole days of January. Then came the evil villain: invisible, dastardly, and deadly. We had not had a villain like this since the Dustbowl of the 1930s. Our grandparents, long since dead, had to deal with a like situation, worse even. There was no government checks, no F.E.M.A. or food banks. Heck, there were no banks with money in them. Americans went hungry or went to live with their relatives. That group, the greatest generation, and their parents, never got over that time and were careful with their money always.
We went into shock in March when our world shut down. What will we tell our great-grandchildren?
“Oh, it was terrible I had to wear a mask and it did not match my bag or shoes. The gloves made my hands sweat. And, we were ALMOST out of toilet paper.” Goodness what next?
I heard, “They took our churches away from us.” Really, I never believed you had to have a building to be with God. It is easy to put God in your heart and pray wherever you go. One solved.
“The doctors won’t see us.” Old Vaudeville joke, “Doctor, Doctor, when I raise my fingers upside down, they hurt. What shall I do?” “Don’t do that.” (Laugh here!) If you have a car accident, they will take you to the hospital, wear the darn mask. Problem two solved.
“My kids are not getting a good education at home.” Kids have been watching television since 1950. Why stop now? Turn on PBS or get your computer or tablet online and learn. Problem three solved.
Now the real reason for this article. My two sons, Will, 47 and Tom, 45, always believed Mc Donald’s was mother’s home cooking. When they shut down the restaurants, not only did it kill our economy, and it did; it stopped my constant ability to get any type of food. I was thwarted. “What shall we do,” asked Scarlet O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind.” What did they really have to eat in Atlanta? We are talking Mexican food, Greek, Italian, Thai, Japanese, and Chinese. OMG.
As sturdy as our ancestors were during the 1930s, we too can survive with tent cities. I was sitting with my granddaughters in Albuquerque; they wanted Japanese food from Azuma. I called in the order for pick up. Azuma is west-facing on Paseo del Norte. Their tent was on the west. The setting sun was killing the people inside and part of Texas was blowing to Arizona with almost a blinding windstorm. I grabbed the sushi and habachi and drove fast to the kids at home.
The next tent was at our own Chili Hills in Edgewood. Kathy Schuit and I ordered some of their wonderful Mexican food. One man sat alone, and three others were at another table. While waiting for our food, a tiny barn swallow shot out of her nest and accidentally left a white deposit on the man’s lap and hand. We all love barn swallows, but they are not trained to live with us eating outside. The man was gracious when we offered him our napkins. He said he was from Minnesota down here working and they had barn swallows at home. He did not fuss or blame anyone. I told him I was from Iowa and had been here 58 years. I informed him to be careful in arroyos and asked if Minnesota had tents too. He nodded, smiled and said, “Our Boy Scouts do.” I wonder how it will be in December?
My friend, Totsie, from Covington, Louisiana sent me a tea towel with a faucet and cross on it. It said, “Wash Your Hands and Pray Strong.” Kind of says it all, doesn’t it? Maybe we can cover our food with plastic bags. If the Army can do it, we can too. Roaring Mouse, taking my own salt and pepper. Out.
From 1966 to 1971, Jo attended the University of New Mexico and Memphis State University, earning degrees in Communications, English, Journalism, Speech and Drama with history minors. At UNM, her hero was Tony Hillerman. She taught high school and middle school in city, country, and private schools for 30 years. Roaring Mouse is in its 25 th year. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org