When you live in the country, being quarantined, put on lockdown or given a “stay-at-home” order means something a bit different than if you live in town, especially a big city.
None of those coronavirus-control measures have been mandated in Mississippi or nationwide as of this writing. But I got an idea of what they might be like last weekend when I took an extra day off to visit with my father-in-law, who was passing through the area.
What “lockdown” means for a lot of country folks is more time for fishing, gardening and other outdoor pursuits, including cattle and timber.
My father-in-law Billy Clemmons, 90. of Jackson, Tenn., wanted to do a little pond fishing, so I fixed him up. The action wasn’t great but he did catch a few bream, including a hand-sized one. But he was just happy to be out in the spring sunshine with flowers blooming and birds singing.
Later I talked to Don Hoffman of McComb Tackle Box, who is overwhelmed by the number of customers — both due to the extended spring break and people idled from work.
“It’s been amazing. It’s been really, really good. It’s been unbelievable,” Hoffman said. “We are averaging 120 customers a day.”
He admits to being nervous about being around people and has put up signs urging customers to be safe.
“We’re using hand sanitizer after every transaction,” he said.
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I usually don’t plant a garden until Good Friday, but spring came early this year so I went to a local nursery for plants. Angelyn loaded up on flowers while I got tomatoes and peppers plus a couple of crabapple trees, not to mention several bags of potting soil.
I also paid visits to a local co-op and a farm supply business over the weekend, buying various springtime-related items. Both places were bustling, as you would expect this time of year, coronavirus or no.
Gardens don’t wait on pandemics.
Sunday morning was strange as our church has suspended services. No hugs and handshakes, no stories swapped, no updates on the sick, no Sunday school discussions, no hymns or sermon.
Makes me think of the story in John 4 where Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well. She remarks that Samaritans worship one place and Jews another.
“A time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem,” Jesus replied. “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.”
Looks like that time is upon us.
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I went walking on the Outback and came upon a black cow and gray calf, which bolted.
I notified Donnie Kinabrew, who raises cattle on adjoining property. Meanwhile three more cows trundled across my front yard.
Donnie came out and tried to round them up but they were skittish. With the wisdom of a seasoned cattleman, he cut his fence to let them back across the line, and by late evening they made it home of their own accord.
The fact is, virus or not, gardens need planting, cattle need tending, fish need catching.
And that’s not to mention turkey hunting, burning off pine stands, mowing the grass, bushhogging and so on.