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  • Writer's pictureSusan Welsh

1,001 Days of Solitude

For what feels like 1,001 days and nights of social-isolation, an interesting phenomenon has emerged in our household—my wife and I have developed accents. Increasingly, her go-to response to most of my questions has become "shoe-ah," spoken like a true Boston bred Southie. Most likely, this is the result of us binge-watching 7 seasons of Ray Donovan over the past few weeks of quarantine.

My accent is altogether different. I'm dropping "r's," emphasizing "t's, " and switching my "wh's to hw's" none of which has anything to do with my Invisalign and everything to do with watching classic movies and delighting in the manufactured Mid-Atlantic accent favored by actors during the Golden Age of Hollywood—think Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story or, more recently, Marianne Williamson on the 2020 Presidential campaign trail.

Living in what feels like a biosphere of sorts, has changed the daily dialogue. It hasn't turned us into full-on doomsday preppers, but it has altered our list of necessary home purchases. I worry about the little stuff, a day by day rant on the insufficient supply of canned butter beans and flour, while Steph sits on the couch after dinner and muses over whether we should buy a second freezer and a generator.

We'll get by in this summer. Long hours of warm sunshine to carry us thru. What worries me is that winter is coming and the dire warning of vaccine scientist Dr. Rick Bright who warned, last week, that this could potentially be "the darkest winter in modern history." if an effective vaccine isn't developed.

Much of this is reminiscent of Laura Ingalls Wilder's autobiographical children's novel, The Long Winter, the sixth in a series of nine books in the Little House series, this one is set in Southeastern Dakota Territory in 1880-1881, considered the most severe winter in US history with snow arriving in October followed by blizzard after blizzard into March leaving people snowbound and short of food and fuel. In the novel, a prescient Native American who arrives at the general store warns the white settlers that hard winters come in seven-year cycles and the coming storm is the 21st winter. If my calculations are accurate, then, our next hard winter will fall in 2027.

In the meantime, we are fast approaching summer 2020 and I've temporarily had my fill of baking, tired from searching to the ends of the earth for yeast, yet grateful to finally find it just a click away at Waffle Pantry. I'm going to whip up a batch of Creamy Butter Pecan ice cream— an old childhood favorite. For today, I'll put aside my worries over possible apocalyptic possibilities for the world and savor the sunshine and delight in the simple pleasure of a cold bowl of ice cream on a warm Spring's day.

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