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Nurse Judy’s Nook – A Pandemic Fall

Fall is here. How I used to look forward to it!

Fall meant new school clothes, football, harvesting and canning of produce, the beginning of the holiday season, and the getting back together of friends after the long hot summer. This year, of course, is a bit different. Let me explain.

We’ll start with new school clothes. School itself is very different this year. There are some in-school classes, more distance learning and a lot of homeschooling by parents.  One certainly does not need a new wardrobe for the latter two.

Since I, personally, no longer teach school, I cannot justify a new wardrobe even though Nurse Judy, my clothes horse alter ego, is begging for new duds. We can just cross that off our list.

How about football?  Football is back in a very limited and strange manner. Most of us can’t attend a game. We can dress up in our colors and huddle around the TV. Nurse Judy and I try this, adding wings and barbecue to our living room tailgate party.

It isn’t the same.

No friends in our living room jumping up and down shouting and few fans in the stands jumping up and down and shouting.

Nurse Judy and I love the Seminoles. They lost their opener.

We’re glad there are at least games but this shortened season doesn’t hold a lot of promise for us.

As far as harvesting goes, the fauna harvested the large majority of my crops.

Still, they don’t bother with my citrus. I prepare to begin calling in ‘pickers’ to help with the harvest but Nurse Judy is quick to tell me I’m deluded.

“First you better assess your yield,” she says. “You have one Satsuma and one key lime tree. You’ve never had an orange crop and the lime tree never has more than five or six limes.”

I don’t really want to hear this.

“My orange tree has doubled in size this year,” I say. “Surely it has produced, and the lime tree may be smaller this year because of getting stunted by the cold, but I’m sure it will be full of limes. It has always produced.”

We took a tour of our Lake Tallavana farm. I have to stretch high to examine all the branches on my orange tree, but try as I might I could not spot even one orange.

We had better luck with the lime tree. After carefully examining it we found two limes. One was a bit under-sized but nevertheless it was a lime.

“What do you think of that?” I ask Nurse Judy triumphantly.

Nurse Judy gives me a long sardonic look.

“Cancel the pickers,” she says.

As far as canning goes, without produce there is nothing to can. Besides, we have way too much food stored up as it is with no one here to help us eat it.

That brings us to the beginning of the holiday season. I really cannot face this.

With the pandemic, I have not sold a book this year and couldn’t even work at several of my jobs. Money is short and visitors are non-existent.

“Who would I decorate for?” I ask Nurse Judy. “Who would I plan a celebration for?”

“Me, me, me!” shouts Nurse Judy. “Well, I don’t care about the decorations, but you can certainly get lots of gifts for me.”

“Buying gifts for you is no celebration,” I say. “It’s an almost daily occurrence.”

“It’s a tradition,” she says smugly.

All that’s left on the list is getting together with friends. This is the one I miss most.

“As long as the pandemic lasts, isolationism and social distancing will last, especially for those of my age,” I mention.

Nurse Judy looks at me.

“That doesn’t include me,” she says with a big grin on her face. “I am still young. We can have my friends over.”

She is so ditzy.

“That defeats the purpose of precautions,” I say. “Besides, your friends are my friends.”

“You are so negative,” she responds.

I look out the window. The sun is shining. Some leaves are turning pretty colors. The temperature and the humidity are down. A doe and her fawn are walking through the backyard munching on some azaleas which shouldn’t be blooming now. Despite everything, God’s world is still beautiful.

“I’m going to be more positive,” I say with a huge grin.

“What are you grinning about?”Nurse Judy asks.

“I’m thinking about us toasting our blessings with our fresh limeade drinks when we watch football this weekend in the new FSU shirts I ordered for us. We’ll have a nice fall no matter what.”

“What about friends?” Nurse Judy asks dubiously.

“We’ll call them on the phone after every touchdown,” I say.

“She probably won’t have to make many calls,” Nurse Judy grumbles to the cat. 

“Now who’s being negative?” I ask. 

More later,