Stay Positive. Be Safe. You’re Awesome.

We are now in our eighteenth day of social distancing. I count the beginning as March 13. Ignore the fact that it was Friday 13th. I am listening to medical science these days. This is no time for ignorant superstition.

I have been out of the house for a couple of grocery shopping trips, once to the drugstore, and a road trip to Houston to pick up the VW after a repair that took a week. The Houston trip was an unusual one for us because we almost always have other chores to do there and a stop for a meal or some shopping at Central Market. This time it was up and back with the single stop at Momentum VW at Kirby and Richmond.

Otherwise, I have gone out for a few walks in the neighborhood. Cheryl usually goes with me but I sometimes go alone. On those occasions and when there is still enough light, I take the camera just in case a I see a picture that needs taking. You can see a few of those photos here.

While neighborhood businesses are, for the most part, hibernating, sidewalk traffic is a bit heavier than usual. People are coming out of their houses for exercise and exposure to something other than their television and computer screens. I have experienced many pleasant greetings from people I do not know, people who usually assume that strangers do not want to be bothered. Now there is a sense that we all dealing with the same threats and fears. And we need signs of friendship and solidarity.

This one popped up in front of me as I walked on Bougainvillea. It was accompanied by more chalk art and other brief messages such as “Nana Rules” and “I ❤ Paw Paw”. But this was my favorite:

A Message from the kids on Bougainvillea in Lake Jackson for all the people who are sharing their fears about COVID-19.

Stay Positive. Be Safe. You’re Awesome.

Thank you, Bougainvillea kids. You are plenty awesome, too.

So How’s the Coronavirus Spiral in Lake Jackson?

I know you have been logging on daily hoping to see the report titled “Coronavirus in Lake Jackson.”

In fact, there isn’t anything to report that you haven’t already seen on the national news. Schools are closed. Now we know there is something more important than the STAAR tests. No hand sanitizer. No church services on Sunday. A town without toilet paper!!

Digging around for a local twist, I thought I could at least give you access to Dr. Ron Paul’s contrarian view of recent events. He is our former member of congress who has run for president some number of times. (Google his name if how many times is important to you.)

His son now serves in the U.S. Senate. Rand’s latest senate adventure was to hold up consideration of the first House coronavirus relief bill to talk about the war in Afghanistan. If you go to his dad’s web site and listen to the coverage he delivers from over on Plantation Drive, it should help your understanding of Dr. Paul, the younger.

A friend in New Mexico (formerly of Lake Jackson) wrote that his daughter in L.A. couldn’t buy flour and yeast to make bread. I suggested he check the King Arthur flour web site. He responded that they, too, are having trouble with heavy ordering, difficult shipping problems, and thinning out of staff due to quarantining. So, don’t expect a bag of flour any time soon. Besides, even before the plague, the cost of shipping five pound bags of flour from Vermont to Texas was prohibitive.

But let’s talk about Lake Jackson.

My last two trips to HEB found the shelves spare on the first trip and virtually empty on my second the day before yesterday (Monday, March 16). Since we tend to the foodie side of the political spectrum, I was able to snag a couple of items we needed to make a pot of chili — the very last can of black beans on the shelf and a jar of tomatoes.

Now, I was looking for 14 oz. can of some ordinary diced tomatoes. Of course they were not available. What they did have was larger and a tad more upscale: some organic diced tomatoes from San Something-or-the-Otherino in Italy. I scored those and they made the most delicious chili we have ever enjoyed here at our house. Then, today, I remembered that everybody in Italy is dying. Oh well.

I was also instructed to pick up fresh cilantro if they had any. Of course, fresh cilantro was almost the only thing they had left in fresh produce. No surprise there. But there was a woman at the cilantro bin going through every bunch with her bare hands. I have no reason to believe her hands were any more unclean than mine, but just watching her made me uncomfortable enough to decide to move on without fresh cilantro.

And, did I say it was the best chili we ever made at our house?

Moving on. Organic capers? (Not for the chili.) No problem. They should still have plenty if they are on your list. Just pray they don’t give you diarrhea. If you have trouble making the connection, then you haven’t shopped for toilet paper lately. None in sight, friends.

On the bright side, the next night we were hoping to help a friend stay in business by ordering a carry-out. We found The Local to be very much open and ready to send out meals. We trust them to wash their hands, sneeze into their elbows and stay home if they are sick.

The meal was brought to me without having to get out of the car (a cell call after I arrived was all it took) and it was still hot when I got it home. Best of all, it didn’t have to be handled by a third party delivery service with gig economy health insurance. Always good eats at The Local. But we missed the people, the atmosphere and the occasional chat with the owner who is willing to manage the enterprise from a seat in our booth while we talk about our families, the way business is going, issues at our church, etc.

And, on the subject of trying to be good patrons of local enterprises, I direct your attention to the Blue Water Highway Band. They are offering a live-stream concert tomorrow night since, as they pointed out, they are finding themselves with time on their hands since social distancing doesn’t work so well with their mosh pit crowds. Their live concerts were being cancelled about as far ahead as they had them scheduled. So, give it a look. We will be “there” tomorrow night. And leave them a tip. The ticket is only $20 and you can enjoy it with as many people as you can squeeze in 6 feet apart around your computer. We love these kids. Help them, please.

And be entertained as you watch the world spiral downward. And downward.