At some point, I’ll start doing sit-ups and pushups in the Time of Corona, maybe a few squats and wall sits too. But when? I seem to have taken a free pass on exercise. That puts me in mind of my dear and disciplined friends, Nancy and John Cheadle, who don’t make exercise excuses. I shall try to channel some of their good energy and make an effort… if you also need some encouragement, please join me today! I’ll do 10 minutes of sit-ups and pushups if you will. Someone please ask me towards the end of the day if I’ve done mine?

I’m so delighted for Nancy and John to stop in at Bacon to share some of their good cheer and good energy in the time of Corona.  

Hi, Nancy and John! It seems like a thousand years ago that we enjoyed dinner together. (In January.)

What is your state of mind? Does it change a lot, day to day, or do you feel like you’ve settled in and adjusted to Life in the Time of Corona? 

Nancy:  My state of mind is calm with a bit of anxiety, which I try to ignore. I’m lucky in that I have been incredibly busy the past few weeks helping our daughter and son-in-law move to a new home. My primary concern was moving loads and loads from one house to the other, working against a deadline. Several days I logged 26,000 steps on my fitbit! Busy hands are happy hands and in the ten intense days of moving, completing those tasks overshadowed news of the virus. Now I’ve settled into more of a routine, helping with tasks at the new house during naptime and then bringing one of the two children home with me until dinnertime.

John:  Resigned. 

The tornadic early morning hours of March 3rd devastated precious lives and smashed Tennesseans’ homes. On a lesser scale, our small airplane was totaled when much of John Tune Airport was demolished.


Without fanfare, the superb Gus Puryear appeared at my office with a greatly-appreciated balm.

  We all know those who, when any topic is raised, manage to turn it on themselves, usually trumpeted on social media. Gus and Jennifer are the antithesis. I cannot tell you how therapeutic Gus’ quiet thoughtfulness was.

You are very kind to say that. And I’m so glad it was a small consolation at a hard moment.

What are you secretly or not so secretly enjoying in the Time of Corona?

Nancy:  I am secretly enjoying my freed-up schedule and not having to worry about what to wear to upcoming social events.

Jennifer: Laughing! Me too.

Nancy: I am not enjoying not having the freedom to go and do as I please, not being able to get together with friends and not being able to travel. This past week I was scheduled to visit my 94-year-old mother who lives in St. Louis. Also cancelled are a trip to Italy in April with my Garden Club and a June trip to Europe with John and friends.

John:  I am not so secretly enjoying Jennifer’s efforts to sustain our spirits with her hard Bacon work. I think Bacon is a great gift to help us escape that cloistered space between our ears which these times compress.

John, you are very sweet! You promise you’ll tell me when every day gets to be too much? I don’t want to wear people out. 

What’s the biggest hardship? What do you miss most? 

Nancy:  My biggest hardship has been not being able to visit my mother. She was very disappointed, as she really looks forward to my visits. The retirement facility where she lives, understandably does not want visitors.  To compound the anxiety over her, she was rushed to the hospital recently which fortunately ended up being a kidney stone. But in the time before she was diagnosed, my worry ran rampant about how I would get up there, if they would allow me in the hospital, if she had the virus or would catch it in the hospital – not a good thing at 94. The good news is, they allowed my brother to be with her in the hospital and only kept her overnight. The whole incident highlighted extra concerns we currently face during this time if you have an elderly loved one, especially one living far away.

Another hardship is not being able to go to church, however, John and I are listening to the livestream broadcasts from St. George’s on Sunday mornings. I’m also tuning into the 10-minute prayer service St. George’s is livestreaming at noon, Monday through Friday. A new bible study has started through Zoom. Since we are all isolated, it is fortunate we live in a time of such advanced technology to keep us connected.

On a lighter note, when my hair color appointment was cancelled, I asked my stylist Jana to recommend a root touch-up product I could purchase. She recommended a certain color of Miss Clairol root touch-up and I’m here to say I washed that grey away! Since that time, Jana has contacted me to say she has developed customized at-home coloring kits with everything we need to do the job, which will be delivered to our doorsteps.  Props to Jana for adjusting her business model. I’m all in and hope I will not need to purchase too many of her kits before it is safe to go back to the salon!

John:  I started to say: “not being able to go to the gym”, and realized my hardships are relatively paltry.

Nancy, I’m pretty worried about my parents, too. And my hair. 

What has not changed at all?

Nancy:  I am still cooking, taking walks, puttering in the yard, reading and babysitting.

John:  As a doddering grandparent, I still speak only about, and think mostly about, our grandchildren.

Some people are feeling busier than ever in the Time of Corona. Are you?

Nancy:  In a way I feel busier because I’m experiencing a greater need to keep in touch with family and friends. I’ve upped phone calls to my mom, to at least daily and am helping more with the grandchildren.

John:  Yes, but it feels reactive and not productive.

How are your grandchildren faring in the Time of Corona? 

Nancy:  They are faring well with copious amounts of attention from their stuck-at-home parents due to no pre-school and no parental outside activities. Mary Walton is four and a half and John is a very busy two-year-old. They are expecting a baby brother in August (the reason for the move). It has also been a fun time of settling into their new home with a much bigger yard and playroom. The pre-school sends daily homework assignments. Part of my new routine consists of  bringing one of them to our house every afternoon after nap and before dinner, to help lighten the parental load, get some quality one-on-one time and give them a change of scenery.

John:  The grandparents’ massive spoiling efforts continue unabated.

What’s your best coping strategy when you feel stressed out in the Time of Corona?

Nancy:  Red wine! Now that my favorite “everyday” wine (Meomi from Costco-$15.99/bottle) is depleted, I’ve started into the “good” wine sitting in cases in the basement. John says, “desperate times call for desperate measures – drink the good stuff!” Also, getting outside on these beautiful Spring days really lifts my spirits as well as the noontime ten-minute prayer services streamed from St. George’s.

John:  See Gus’ balm above.

Favorite delivery service?

Nancy:  Amazon

John:  Philosophically, I am a Fred Smith’s FedEx fan.

What are you reading right now? What have you read in the last year or so that you would recommend? People keep asking me for light, fun, distracting reads. Any of those, in particular?

Nancy:  Two books I found to be particularly entertaining this year were:

 Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World’s Most Coveted Handbag, by Michael Tonello. This book is a true story with down-to-earth wit of Michael Tonello’s quest to figure out the system for acquiring these handbags.


Small Admissions, by Amy Poeppel. This book is the story of a young woman who takes a job in the admissions department of an elite school in Manhattan.  Some of the scenes of interviews with parents and prospective students are laugh-out-loud funny.

John:  I have yet to live down my last Bacon suggestions, so I will remain quiet.

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

Nancy:  My advice is to count your blessings and stay busy with productive activity. If I weren’t so involved with our daughter’s family right now (which I love), I like to think I would be tackling those home projects you never quite get around to, like cleaning out closets and the basement. In a way, this time is a gift. If you ever wanted the world to slow down and have time to do in-home projects, this is it! Don’t watch or listen to too much news, it will just make you worried and anxious. Catch up with friends and loved ones. Spend some time walking outside, it will lift your spirits!

John:  My advice would be to not take my mental health advice.

What are you most looking forward to when we return to “normal”? I fear it may be a new normal for a while…

Nancy:  I look forward to eating in restaurants, going back to church, getting my hair and nails done at a salon and traveling!

John:  Well, OK. Going back to the gym.

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