I’ve had a lot of time to think for the past 40 days and 40 nights (or however long this quarantine has been in place). I let my mind wander a bit between watching Inspector Morse slam his third or fourth glass of whiskey as he solves the murder anyway, and seeing Miss Marple figure out who murdered the seemingly harmless college professor without ever putting down her knitting.
And one of the things I have been thinking about is what three people I loved who are now in heaven would think about what’s happening in our world right now. One is my friend Megan, who died 11 months ago from cancer. Another is my mother-in-law Wilma. The third is my own mom.
Megan was one of the smartest people I have ever known. But she was more than just smart. She had a way of looking at things more clearly and objectively than most people. Politically, she was a registered independent. And she really was an independent. She liked President Obama, but she also liked former Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. She loved statistics, and even more important, she understood them. She made her living that way. I would give just about anything if I could sit down at the Imperial Café in Denver and discuss the coronavirus and our world’s reaction to it over some sesame chicken.
Wilma was another very smart woman, who faced life and its challenges head-on. I asked Bill the other night what he thought his mom would think about the quarantine. He thought for a moment and said that he would guess she would compare it to other health scares she faced in her long life. She was born in 1917, about the time that the Spanish influenza was hitting the United States. That pandemic lasted 36 months, and some 500 million people were affected. Death toll estimates range from 17 million all the way to 100 million. She would have been just a baby during the worst of it, so likely didn’t remember the fear that the world felt. However, her parents probably talked about it. She would have thoughts, for sure.
As for my mom, I hardly can imagine what she would think about all of this. While she wasn’t particularly an outgoing and social person, she loved her family. I don’t know if she would have embraced the technology available to us now that could have connected her to her kids and grandkids while we all sheltered-in-place. I’m pretty sure if it wasn’t easy to understand, she wouldn’t have had the patience to try and figure it out. But I’ll bet she would have had a thing or two to say about sheltering-in-place. I’m pretty darn certain my dad would have gotten an earful. Every day. Perhaps he does anyway.
There is that age-old question: If you could have dinner with five people, who would they be? For me, at least today, I would choose those three, and forget the other two. More food for us.