The good and the bad of corona quarantine

Coronavirus diary, week 4:

So, we’re a month in, and the virus has not yet directly touched anyone I know — at least not that I’m aware of. But there are still many uncertainties about how long this will last, and how many people it will eventually infect — and kill — right here in Pickens County.

Maybe we’ll be lucky and have no deaths here. Or maybe I won’t be around to write the conclusion of this pandemic.

My mom’s coronavirus test came back negative, so that was good. She’s doing remarkably well for a 94-year-old woman who had a stroke a month ago.

I called her just a few minutes ago to get her recipe for poke salad. A reader, Mary Boggess, suggested I do a story about how to cook it. “It’s like free spinach,” she said.

So here’s my mom’s recipe, which she got from her mom:

Pick a passel of young, tender leaves of the pokeweed plant in early spring. You have to do it before they start producing berries. Check for any bugs on both sides of the leaves. Wash the leaves “really good.” Then boil them (for 20 minutes) and pour the water off. Rinse them in cold water and boil them again. Then do it again.

“That’s to get the poison off of them,” she said.

Then fry up some bacon and saute the greens in some of the grease. Sprinkle on some salt. Throw in a little onion, if you want, and the crumbled bacon.

“I think it tastes better than collards,” she said. “I like ‘em better than about any greens.”

She cooked them sometimes when I was little, but I wasn’t much of a greens-eater back then. I’m going to go out and try to find some, if my neighbors haven’t already picked them all.

One thing I’ve noticed since the governor issued his “home or work” order is that my neighborhood has come alive. I’ve seen more people out walking or doing things in their yards the past week than ever in the 25 years I’ve lived in Easley.

And there has been a lot of work going on in the neighborhood as well. Surveyors were across the street doing whatever they do. Pressure washers had a job going on down the road. Yard crews were busy here and there. A neighbor was doing some painting on the front of his house. “Don’t worry, I’ve done this before,” I heard him tell his wife, who was supervising from a lawn chair in the front yard.

You’d never know we were in the middle of a global calamity.

At this point, I’d like to join Pickens County government leaders in saluting all of you who are still out there working in jobs that are keeping us all alive during this dark time. Special thanks to the grocery workers, and all those who keep the food supply moving. You are vital cogs in the web of life, and we certainly are made more aware of that now than ever.

A month into this change in our lives, it’s still ridiculously difficult to get everything you need at the grocery store.

So I want to raise an issue with those of you who have been hoarding a certain product. My wife told me not to write about this because, she said, it will just make you want to go out and buy more of it. So I am not going to even mention the product.

But if you are among this group of hoarders — and you know who you are — you are being incredibly selfish and greedy. You’re being ridiculously anal. There’s no other word for it. Well, there is another word, but I’m not going to use it in the newspaper.

It would serve you right if you got sucked into your closet-full of this stuff and its tentacles wrapped you up like a mummy — and then you have to go out into public like that so everyone knows you were one of the hoarders.

I shudder to think what people who didn’t have an adequate stock in advance are doing to take care of this basic need. I don’t know if Sears & Roebuck even makes catalogs anymore.

I thought for sure after the first wave of panic buying that the shelves would be restocked, but it disappears as soon as it appears in the stores — because of these people. This is insane.

Thank goodness our need at the Barnett household for this commodity decreased exponentially a few weeks ago when we installed a bidet. I admit I was leery about trying such a device. (Of course it took the French to come up with such a concept). But it is a much better solution to this problem.

Please, Google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about: bidet. Get one, if they haven’t already sold them all.

That’s all for now. Stay safe.