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Oh, the things we can do

How people are making the best of staying at home

  • Mary Anne Poarch shared this photo of the quality time she’s spending with her grandchildren, which is Christmas in April!

  • Nikki Swisher did this beautiful project with her girls. A little tape and colored tissue paper can turn any window into a stained glass mosaic.

What is everyone doing?

It’s a simple question, but one that takes on a whole new meaning during these strange times, because times like these, these so-called “black swan events,” breed ideas that one might never have dreamed of before.

Out there, right now, there are people and children discovering and rediscovering things that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives, be they hobbies or books or wisdom or time with their loved-ones they might have missed in the humdrum hubbub of their everyday scheduled lives. There are people doing and learning things that will continue to affect them long after everyone has gone back to work and this time has been scratched into the history books.

Of course, even as millions are laid off of work, wondering how they’re going to pay rent and feed their children, there are, without a doubt, a number of people experiencing a bit of rest after working too hard for too long, and who don’t want to go back to whatever “normal” was.

Those are abstractions, though. For those who aren’t “essential employees,” the question is: What is everyone actually, physically doing?

Well – as it turns out – a lot.

Some people, like Jeannie Williams, are trying to help the relief effort.

“I’m sewing masks for people,” said Williams. “I’m a beginner sewer, though, so it’s slow going.”

Others, like Heidi Young, are helping in their own way. Young runs a Facebook page called “Story Time and Crafts with Mrs. Heidi,” where she does, unsurprisingly, storytime and crafts that younger children can participate in. Each sessions lasts close to 40 minutes and is great for parents searching for ideas to keep their children occupied while everyone is cooped up.

“We have so much fun together,” said Young.

In that same vein, teachers are still working hard – maybe harder than ever. Kristy Loveday, a teacher at Clinton Middle School, says she’s spent her time creating lessons and videos for her students.

While it’s nice to respect the people who try to help and are doing their best to keep things moving, it can’t be expected of everyone, and some have used the time to catch on their hobbies and improve themselves. That’s what Rianna Snyder did.

“I dug out the old sewing machine and completed a few sewing projects that had been gathering dust,” said Snyder. “I also taught my teenagers how to use it. I did some yard work, taught the kids how to mow, took up baking, and picked up my reading pace.”

A lot of people have used the time just to catch up on housework and cleaning that falls through the cracks.

“Just been cleaning, organizing my house, and yard work,” said April Abercrombie, an eighth-grade science teacher at Clinton Middle School.

“Remodeling the house and building a garden fence,” said Joyce Bruneau.

Many people seem to have fixated on gardening during this crisis, with people reviving an old nickname for their coronavirus planting spree: Victory Gardens, after the gardens their parents and grandparents planted going through a very different kind of crisis.

Anderson Countian Crissy Thurman said she more than doubled her garden this year, and another county resident, Teri Johnson, said her family is planting grass to make a raised bed. Debbie Moore, from Powell, said that, even though it isn’t a new hobby, she’s planted a garden as well.

The list goes on, with too many varied responses to list here, ranging wildly from one man humbly practicing his photography skills in his back yard to local comedian Beth Tomkins, who has been organizing stand-up comedy shows where comedians livestream their sets to people watching from home.

Some people, like local teacher Nikki Swisher and resident MaryAnne Hudson, have used the opportunity to spend more quality time and bond with their family.

“I’ve been taking the time to do more arts and crafts with my girls,” said Swisher.

“I’ve been having fun with the grandkids,” said Hudson.

Still, there are always people who don’t feel the need to do really anything, such as Becky Weeks.

“I’m sitting outside on the deck when the weather has been nice,” she said. “I’m just enjoying the slow pace of things.”

So with everything happening, and in the face of something we can do so little to actively combat, people are still doing a lot. They’re flexing those creative muscles and planting gardens and staying occupied, and, there is, without a single doubt, some beautiful stuff that will emerge from the other side of this crisis.

So, whatever you’re doing, even if it’s just sitting on the porch, enjoying the fact that the world has slowed down a little bit for the first time in a long time, whatever it is you’re doing – you’re doing great.