Maureen and I had a head start on survival because of her college senior history paper on the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. In fact, we were usually well ahead of the so-called experts, not to mention several hundred millions of our fellow Americans. A few examples will illustrate that claim. Without our current array of scientific knowledge, our forefathers had learned by common sense, combined with trial and error, that fighting such a pandemic required the use of masks and keeping away from one another, now known by the more elegant phrase as social distancing. We ordered N-95 masks while they were still available everywhere.
Preparation was the key. We made sure our freezer, refrigerator and pantry were fully stocked in anticipation of potentially looming shortages. No toilet paper shortage in our house! In anticipation of social isolation, we laid in a large stock of 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles before they disappeared from Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc. This supply was augmented by a package of fifteen crossword puzzle books, each containing 11,000 words. We also compiled a list of British detective and mystery shows that had originally appeared on BBC for streaming in the evening.
Much of my time was spent promoting Lou Gehrig: The Lost Memoir which was published by Simon & Schuster in May of 2020. This included radio interviews, Zoom calls with bloggers and answering written questions. Thanks to Maureen’s computer skills, I was able to enjoy conversing with baseball fans all across the country. Success of this book has helped to bring attention to Lou Gehrig and his early death from ALS, which has contributed to Major League Baseball celebrating June 2 as Lou Gehrig Day in every stadium in 2021 and all years to come.
I have also rescued one of baseball’s most popular fictional tales that has somehow disappeared from every library in the world. Someday soon the world shall once more be able to read about the adventures of Swat Milligan, baseball’s greatest slugger. I am also nearing completion of a new manuscript on Christy Mathewson, the New York Giants pitcher from 1900-1916 who became baseball’s first superstar. While I have been researching and writing, Maureen has been kicking butt on several online video games.
We kept recharged by eating well. At home, Maureen, who is a wonderful cook, enlarged some recipes so that we had leftovers and she did not have to cook so often. I heartily recommend a new recipe called Egg Roll in a Bowl, healthy and scrumptious at the same time. We also became acquainted with a few people at drive-thru windows, using an insulated bag to keep our food warm as we drove home. Hardee’s is our new favorite for breakfast and burgers, the food and prices cannot be beat. McDonald’s is eating their dust. Arby’s is close and always has coupons, so they are high on the list. Popeye’s is a new favorite. God they have great chicken sandwiches. Another Gaff endorsement goes to our neighboring pizza prize, Raimondo’s, which does not have a drive-thru but has food competitive with major chains.
Curbside pickup gave us an opportunity to change up our menu. We celebrated Thanksgiving with food from Cracker Barrel. Santa brought us meals from Kroger, even though we had to pay. A real treat was barbecue from Famous Dave’s, a ghost restaurant in Granite City. Several trips to Tower Bar & Grill brought home some of Fort Wayne’s best food.
After receiving our two Pfizer shots, we celebrated our first Lou Gehrig royalty check with a lunch at Logan’s Roadhouse for ribeye steaks. We later treated our friends Carl and Rita to a similar meal at Logan’s, our first sit-down meal with other people in over a year. We had been to several social encounters with other friends from our General “Mad” Anthony Wayne Organization, Inc., but that had only consisted of coffee and donuts.
The highlight of our Covid experience was the addition of two new members to our family. No, Maureen did not have twins. We welcomed two rescue cats, named Cisco and Pancho after the 1950s TV series The Cisco Kid, back in October. Cisco and Pancho are their given names, but they often go by #*(^@+% and *&$@$^). Every day is an adventure since their arrival. They were kittens from a feral mom that were trapped and sent to Animal Control. Fort Wayne has a program where feral cats are neutered, vaccinated, chipped, have one ear clipped and then returned to their neighborhood. We offered to take the two boys while neighbors took the two females from the litter of four. Ever since their arrival, Maureen and I have laughed, cried and sent a lot of money to Chewy.com. They have made Covid isolation fun.