Dairy Home Companion

A shut-down column for the Plague Year 2020.
 

#5Soup Kitchen + Taboo Inquiry


Tuesday our kitchen coordinator ‘Fast Ruthie’ told me at 6:30am that we had completely ‘sold out’ of food on the previous Friday. This meant more than 225 meals ‘sold’.


A few hours later I had made 200 pork chops with onions and lemon pepper, and she 4 or 5 turkey breasts, plus chile for 150.


That might do it, we thought. But we’ll see.


Meanwhile a friend from England offered us a cruise on his 51 foot boat [illus.], maybe up the West Coast of Scotland? My wife had half a bag packed and was most ways out the door before we realized that it was not going to happen for a few years. Pity. Nice teak interior too — ocean-going.


The Taboo Inquiry is about the lack of media questions of who is causing the current resurgence of the virus in Vermont. After reading a not-explicit but wink-wink article by the town of Cavendish, plus other material from such places as Manchester Vermont, or Greenwich North as some say, I think it is clear who is responsible, or better said, irresponsible. The law says there is mandatory isolation, but the governor says there is no means to enforce it and it operates on an honor system. Ho-hum.


And just yesterday on our quiet road in Brattleboro replete with “Resident Traffic Only” signs, there has been 1 New Jersey, 2 New Yorker, pretty nice SUVs cruising through replete with towed boat. They intend making an illegal left turn onto route 30, and are saving minutes. Ho-Hum.


#4•Ups and Downs•


G came by with a new puppy and thanked me for saving his life. That’s a bit strong I said — not from my perspective said he.


And it’s true, I delivered him 20 meals a week for 3 months when he was doing chemo, and this was encouraging to him.


I also completed another jigsaw puzzle [illus] and set up an exchange with a neighbor who sent me several, some said ‘support war bonds’ and were from 1943.


Downs were the on-line census I completed including responding to the question ‘Race?’ I have detested this formal declaration on American forms every since I came here in 1984. The census then proceeded to decline ‘Race’ by asking about color. I presume this is skin color and it offered me several for my own including Germanic, English and Irish. Not quite knowing how to fit this quare I wrote English, which is true only upon a nationalist basis, though I could have written Irish if the census folks were interested in 1500 years ago. I say I detest this question since Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a racist as someone who sub-divides the human race. And, you know, formal declarations of race simply substantiate the problem, the uniquely American problem, as if indeed human beings were of different races.


And to end on another downer: a kid [some spots still, prob 20 yo] at Walgreens was wearing no mandatory mask, so I challenged him why not, and he said without apology he was not comfortable in one, and then I asked what about the rest of us, to which he shrugged. They served him anyway even though it was against the law — likely because people have been shot after refusing service by pimpled young male white-trash impatient of any inhibition whatever.


#3Jig and Drabble


Like many people I have been doing more jigsaw puzzles recently, and also reading a title by Margaret Drabble, and so I was pleased to read this review from a recent Guardian:—


It’s not too hard to see why we’re reaching for jigsaws. Margaret Drabble wrote a memoir inspired by puzzles, The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History With Jigsaws. “They provide hours of painless social intercourse or moments of peaceful, solitary retreat,” she wrote. “They give you an illusion of order and progress when all around is chaos.” There is such a thing as competitive puzzling, but this is not the point, Drabble argued. Here is a “harmonious, constructive, co-operative activity, free of the rivalry that makes so many games contentious and so many children so cross.” And if you want to do it on your own, while listening to a podcast or the birds singing, that’s fine, too.


There have been studies into the cognitive effects of jigsaws. One concluded that the activity “recruits multiple visuospatial cognitive abilities and is a protective factor for visuospatial cognitive aging”. But it’s possible to overthink this. Dr Abigael San of the British Psychological Society sees it as a classic mindful activity. “Focusing on detail, taking the time to relax, having an aim without pressure – all of those things are beneficial and a counter to the wider anxiety that people are feeling at the moment. It gives you a sense of control in a chaotic situation. The world is unpredictable, whereas a jigsaw puzzle is certain.” As long as no one has lost a piece.


Illustrated is a 1,000 piece ‘garden of life’ mandalic theme.



#2baby talk


in response to a how-are-you from my children:


me do jig saws!

me do jig saws even though have 3 cats!

me employ night blanket stop cats making own puzzle


next week more attendance at loaves and fishes [soup kitchen]

attrition

plus increased demand


and yeah, snow

freeze warnings

but 65 today and sunny


taking bags garden junk to woods

to create fire hazard pile


meanwhile, here is my desktop de jour

its from the border between england and scotland 

call 'the debatable land'

which is like 'baitable' or where you can wild feed animals


and where people have always taken

self-isolation to heart

as remedy from the evil magicians

would rule over them


#1Paradise Postponed


Was it thirty years ago? There was this rumor that Garrison Keillor would switch his focus from Minnesota to right here, Brattleboro, and possibly broadcast from the Latchis Theatre. National interest in bachelor Norwegian farmers becoming exhausted, as well as whatever fantasy time his series existed — some thought that Brattleboro would provide a sufficiently eclectic and contemporary range of characters to be worth spinning on. I even heard a commentator back then talking about National White Man Radio, and there was a bit more to the country than perhaps Garrison ever gave credit to, including Black persons, Hispanic persons, and even Native persons, nevermind immigrants. 30 years of careful broadcasting, (careful not to upset geriatric sponsors and listeners?) had failed to include any of these on a regular basis. And there was our author writing from a tower in Manhattan, oblivious or without caring, but increasingly arid, sure.


Anyway, this was what I was thinking today in reaction to non-stop Covid reports on Public Radio, as if to another radio time when ‘at home’ meant something worth reporting, though not quite the quaint and quiet fantasy land of Lake Wobegone.



 
Dairy
Home
Companion

#3•Jig and Drabble•
#2•baby talk•
#1•Paradise Postponed•