I really never felt captive during the virus outbreak. My plans were abruptly changed. Suddenly I found myself sequestered in place at my son’s house in Kentucky. Except for the occasional trip to the grocery store or pharmacy and a few outdoor day trips to experience the surrounding sights, my days were spent going through social media (too much) and writing (too little). Nights included watching a movie or two although, quite frankly, after you’ve seen one Bruce Willis movie you’ve seen them all. Most of the new blockbusters were more like lacklusters.
My work-at-home son has been doing most of the cooking and we’ve had our share of sandwiches, pizza, and even a little fast food. The hardest food decision has been what to eat. Yet, we survived.
Kentucky has been very cautious with its coronavirus response. While never issuing a strict, enforced stay at home order, the governor did limit travel — especially from out of state. Rolling roadblocks from the north to south (Louisville area and especially Tennessee with its close proximity to Nashville — both hot spots) were implemented. Motorists were ordered to quarantine for 14 days.
Giving in to national re-open plans, the governor reluctantly gave the go ahead for restaurants to open for dine in service with strict rules — limited service, masks, social distancing, outside whenever possible. Last Friday was Day 1.
It took us two days to take advantage of that newfound freedom. We went to Texas Roadhouse Sunday.
It felt good breathing fresh air. It felt good sitting down to a prepared meal. I chose the Parmesan crusted chicken while Joe opted for a sirloin. Ironically, we chose the restaurant because we were hankering for ribs. Go figure.
It was a different experience. Every other booth was cordoned off. The tables in the aisle were well spaced throughout the L-shaped dining room. The bar was closed. There was a sign in the lobby asking people not to congregate, but rather wait outside. The hostess greeted guests through a mask, asked for their name, party size, and cell number, then called when the table was ready. The table was sanitized just before we sat down. And yet, even though restricted to 33 percent capacity, the place was full. There appeared not to be an overrun for inside dining, but a steady flow of customers out to enjoy a mid-Memorial Day Weekend afternoon out. There were couples, friends, families, young, and old. Everyone seemed to have a smile between bites.
And now, with the quarantine restrictions lifted, I’ve chosen to visit my youngest son and family in South Carolina for a long weekend. I’m on my way there now, breaking up the 10-plus hour trip with an overnight stop i Asheville, NC. I’ll head back to Kentucky — with an overnight stay in Asheville again — early next week. The pup has a date with the groomer.
The freedom feels good. I’m not one to be hemmed in. I am happiest when I travel and, Lord knows, I’ve been doing a lot of traveling over the past eight months. It’s time to explore again.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: A man identifying himself as a Christian wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper and complained it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. “I’ve gone for 30 years now,” he wrote, “and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me I can’t remember a single one of them. So I think I’m wasting my time … and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.” This started a real controversy in the Letters to the Editor section, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: “I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall what the menu was for a single one of those meals. I do know this: they all nourished me and gave me strength. If my wife had not given me those meals, I would be dead today.” That pretty much ended the discussion.