This week I took advantage of a sunny day and went out for a short walk. It’s good to see that even with most folks inside, the rhododendrons and trilliums are open for Spring. The smell of jasmine makes invisible patches of sweetness that catch you by surprise.
There are still quite a few joggers and dog walkers in the park, and it’s not always possible to properly socially distance, so we walk in the neighborhood. Many folks have taken to crossing the street mid-block to avoid too-close contact, and there is usually a smile or friendly wave that goes with this, acknowledging each other but staying safe. People can be pretty darn wonderful.
We are continuing to be careful but I may have caught a touch of the bug. Grandpa Nelson went out for groceries yesterday because I was feeling really tired, and Auntie Bridgett is just getting over a nasty spell of fatigue.
We are good at taking care of each other. Lots of ginger tea, fruits and veggies, and quiet time for naps will pull us through.
The shut down because of Covid-19 is now in its third week here in Portland. It is starting to get me down a little.
The last time I sat down with anyone besides Auntie Bridgett or Grandpa Nelson was March 11, when I had a cup of Golden Fire tea with dear Misha Moon at the Rocking Frog. Now, with the extra time imposed on us, we have both finished drafts of our stories that we were talking about.
That same day I met a good soul named Roger, and we exchanged stories of our childhoods in Southern California. His had a stepdad who was a building inspector in Watts, not far from where we lived for a while in Bellflower.
Grandpa Nelson and I had lunch at McMenamin’s Barley Mill the next day, just before they closed up shop for the duration.
These are the sort of chance meetings and conversations that I have taken for granted, and now, for a while at least, they are over. I miss my species.
We eat, chat, read and write, here in our pleasant little house. There is enough room that we can be alone when we need to be, and we have games and movies and food, and even enough toilet paper. There is nothing really wrong, as long as we stay inside and away from people.
So, I heave a big sigh and tell myself to get over it, and decide what to do today.
One of the reasons we bought the house we did, here in the Southeast part of Portland, is because of the neighborhood. It is a nice mix of Victorian style homes and newer houses, full of big trees and rhododendron bushes, and just a few blocks away from fabulous Laurelhurst Park.
It is also close to dozens of bars, restaurants, and cool shops, and even a Korean grocery store. We love being able to walk less than a block for milk or eggs at H Mart.
But it is the little restaurants and the people who run them that make our Friday nights special. Pulled pork, shrimp with grits, a glass of wine while hanging with David at at the Hobnob. Watching scifi movies and having dessert with Mitch at The Nerd Out. Street tacos and chatting with Gilly at Ankeny Tap and Table. Making our own birthday pancakes at SlappyCakes. You know, the good times.
And it is exactly these small restaurants that are suffering during the shut down mandated by the corona virus. Keeping everyone safe and distant means the dining rooms have to close, and there just isn’t enough take-out business.
The only businesses close by that are doing well are H Mart and the smaller convenience stores like Plaid Pantry and Belmont Market, and pizza places like Baby Doll and Straight From New York Pizza, who are doing take out and even free delivery.
I am worried about a lot of things, lately. Staying healthy, and keeping Auntie Bridgett and Grandpa Nelson well. What this virus’s stay in our country will cost in jobs and retirement investments. Whether our Federal government, which doesn’t seem to have a good grasp on things, is going to make things better instead of worse.
But I am also worried about the survival of the small businesses that make our neighborhood special.
I am writing to you when I would rather be getting ready for your visit. You and Your Momma Olga and Daddy David were going to come up and spend a whole week here with us.
And now, you are staying in Salinas. This makes me very sad. But I think, in the long run, it was the right decision.
The corona virus is spreading, and people traveling can make it spread faster. Auntie Katie and Auntie Bridgett both work in shops and galleries where things get handled, they can get the virus and pass it along. With you and all the cousins being in school until this past Friday, you can catch it and pass it, too, even without feeling sick.
Doctors have asked us all to stay put for a while to slow the spread of the virus so lots of people won’t need hospital beds all at once. I am willing to do my part, even when it makes me sad, to keep all the people healthy.
I promise we will get together as soon as we can. I love you very much, every day.