My husband called me on my cell phone. He lay in our bed, feverish but not at death’s door, while I sat in the kitchen. “I hate to bother you,” he said, “but would you mind bringing me a ration of cheetos?” I smiled, power-mad perhaps. Also more than happy to deliver cheeto joy. The man loves them. And I love him.

“Of course, dear,” I replied. I poured a generous (but also conservative) measure of cheetos into a bowl and left it just inside the bedroom door. He rose gratefully from the bed as I closed the door.

This is love in the time of Corona. 

In other news, our trendsetting daughter Ruth is confirmed positive for Covid-19. She’s in Atlanta – in an apartment close to Emory – where her sweet roommate is also hacking up a lung. All will be well, we hope and pray and trust.

Today our dear friends Caroline and Gary Shockley stop in at Bacon to share some of their experiences and advice in the time of Corona. Caroline and Gary live in Nashville; he’s a partner at the law firm Baker Donelson, a writer, and musician; Caroline has served the community in so many ways, as a banker professionally and including most recently as co-chair of University School of Nashville’s Artclectic…

Hi, Caroline & Gary! Thank you so much for spending some time at Bacon today! In times like these – and in every other time – I am so deeply grateful for your love and friendship.

Are you worried about the coronavirus? How worried? 

Caroline:  I was not that worried until this week. Now, I am trying to breathe deeply and not panic!

Gary:  Yes, I hope as worried as I need to be.  

Are your sons – both in college – concerned about Covid-19? And: are they still at school, or coming home? What does all this mean for your family? What if anything can we learn from our college-aged kids at this moment in time?

Caroline:  As of last night, both sons are home, and I had forgotten how much they eat. I think they both are a bit stunned by how fast this virus is changing their normal world.  They both seem to have a somewhat healthy appreciation for how serious this is. However, they will soon be stir-crazy.

Gary:  Hard to tell. They have the healthy disrespect of authority (particularly us) that we could all learn from.  

Will you change your daily or weekly routines?

Caroline:  I have been home the last several days, which is very unusual for me. I am also washing my hands much more, wiping down the counters with clorox wipes and wondering what I should be doing.

Gary:  Yes; I’m lucky that I can work remotely without a lot of disruption. Also trying to maintain normalcy in the office.

Is there any place you will STOP going? 

Caroline:  We just learned that our church services will be on-line and no small groups will be meeting.

Gary:  My bands are both on hiatus, which gives me a chance to practice and aspire toward mediocrity.

Presuming that we might all be spending more time at home, how do you think you’ll use that time?

Caroline:  I am going to clean out our basement – finally!

Gary:  I’m going to try to avoid the basement. In the meantime, I’m reading John LeCarré, working on a melodic-style arrangement of “Sailor’s Hornpipe” on the banjo, and running and walking the dog to get out of the house.

If you watch more TV, which shows will you watch? (And which streaming service are they available on?) 

Caroline:  We have been watching “Hunters” on Amazon and give it about a 7 out of 10. I am sure the longer this continues, we will watch everything we can on Netflix and Amazon since there are no sports. Did I mention we have two sons?

Gary:  Personally, I’d love to watch nothing but spy thrillers and classic Westerns but I face significant headwinds.

What shows (including documentaries) have you watched in the last year or so that you would highly recommend?

Caroline:  “Chernobyl,” but that might not be the best of mood lifters right now.

Gary:  “Fantastic Fungi” (I’m not kidding), “Once Were Brothers,” the Miles Davis documentary, the Blue Note records documentary, “Leonard & Marianne,” “The Sound of My Voice.” 

What are you reading right now?

Caroline:  I just finished American Dirt, now binge reading the new Michael Connelly book for something completely easy on the conscience.

Gary:  Just finished Agent Running in the Field and started Legacy of Spies by John LeCarre, who is like 85 and at the TOP of his game. Truly amazing and NOT just a genre novelist.

What have you read in the last year or so that you would highly recommend?

Caroline:  American Dirt, The Overstory, and The Dutch House.

Gary:  Hmmm. Ian Port, The Birth of Loud; John Le Carre, The Pigeon Tunnel; Ronen Bergman, Rise and Kill First; Hampton Sides, On Desperate Ground; Margaret Atwood, The Testaments; Tom Ewing, Bill Monroe.  

What essential supply are you stocked up on?

Caroline:  Wine.

Gary:  Guitar strings.

What essential supply are you not stocked up on? 

Caroline:  Wine

Gary:  Wine.

Approximately how many times a day do you wash your hands?

Caroline:  I have lost count.

Gary: 784.

What is your advice for friends trying to stay mentally healthy in this trying time?

Caroline:  Walking with our dog, Scout, makes me appreciate the beauty of nature and learning to take one day at a time.

Gary:  Listen to Pete Seeger (or anyone else) sing Quite Early Morning or going  to Yo Yo Ma’s Twitter feed – Jimi Hendrix meets Mozart. The kind of incandescent genius that will save us, or at least make the cockroaches miss the good old days.

Gary Shockley

Caroline  Shockley and Scout

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