The Sun Will Come Out
By Terry Baxter
I am sitting on my lovely patio at 121 Marina practicing my social distancing. I have been washing my hands, first advocated by Ignaz Semmelweis in 19th century Vienna (I am not making this up, Google it). I also try not to touch my face, but as Dave Barry said, “Let’s face it folks, this is not humanly possible.” I have passed 14 days since my last airline flight (a two-day trip to Jacksonville for an outside board meeting) with a sigh of relief. And I seemed to have survived the incubation period since my last big social gathering, the fabulous Commodore’s Weekend celebration at the Anglers Club (thank you Frank and Karen McKee).
But for now it is isolation. It reminds me a little bit of the two weeks 35 years ago we were trapped in the Exumas by rampaging fronts and high winds. We huddled with three dozen other cruising boats anchored in Georgetown Harbor with little opportunity to interact. One morning a ferocious squall swept through the mooring. Rather than hunker down, all the boaters rushed on deck to spread tarps and funnels to direct the deluge into nearly empty water tanks. Soaked yet victorious, we headed inside to listen to the daily party-line VHF radio call — news summary, weather forecast, requests for advice or assistance. Then one intrepid sailor announced she had an easy recipe for banana bread. Forty minutes later, the smell of banana bread emerging from a dozen ovens filled the harbor. The sun came out.
Now in 2020, I have isolation again, and time to read books. Literary critics report that in times of fear and uncertainty, readers turn to apocalyptic stories. I hate to be such a cliché, but I have become captivated by accounts of World War II London and the courage of the British during the Blitz. Lynne Olson, who spoke to us several years ago in the Cultural Center, has produced a classic: “Citizens of London.” And I just finished a current best seller “The Splendid and the Vile,” by Erik Larson. It is sobering to remember what the people of Britain endured – months of nightly bombing, sleeping in fetid subway tunnels, and endless scenes of death and destruction. As the war progressed, the Allies repeatedly suffered catastrophe: Dunkirk, the fall of France, and an utter rout in North Africa. Yet, instead of defeat and surrender, a spirit of purpose and resistance swept the country and carried them to victory. It is a stirring story worth revisiting.
Today again, uncertainty abounds. Who would have guessed that a roll of toilet paper would be the new tendollar bill? Although the current challenges are grave, we are fortunate to face our social distancing at Ocean Reef. After the one-day panic buying at Wynn’s, which stripped the shelves bare, Wynn’s has actively restocked. Prepared foods are produced daily, there are plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and even Prime steaks have reappeared in the meat case. The Club is providing takeout service from most of our venues. Our favorite chefs have developed pared-down but varied and enticing menus (and you don’t have to dress up). I can still get my four morning papers at the Gift Shop, while complimentary coffee is brought to my golf cart. ORCA and the Club work every day to protect our safety and security. I know the Medical Center staff will care more about my health and treatment than the nameless, faceless providers back North. How lucky we are.
Read a book, listen to Ignaz, bake a loaf of banana bread. The sun will come out. A modest prediction: in about two week’s time, we will know everyone’s real hair color.