Covid circa 1964

While reading yet another article today about Covid-19, my mind started wandering and wondering what would have happened if Covid had surfaced in the year 1964. I had just vaulted into the double-digit year of ten. How would Covid have affected my life at that youthful age? How would the decision makers close my world?

Bag swings would have to be the first thing banned. At any given time, in my yard, we had a bag swing swinging. You might ask how that would have spread the virus. Well, you see, we never just had one kid a swingin on that bag. Nope. We had at least two and I believe our record was seven. It was an art really. The first kid would crawl on a barrel to jump on that burlap rag stuffed full of other tow sacks or plastic bags or anything to keep it plump. We tied the bag to a chain wrapped several times around a sweet gum limb. Kid one jumped on the bag and swung at as high an arc as possible, using their momentum and a pulling process with their legs and body. As they reached the top of the swing, they spun their legs in the second kids direction, who had mounted the top of the barrel and was waiting anxiously to hop on this swinging disaster about to happen. The trick now was to jump on the legs of kid one. Once accomplished, the real artistry became on display. This twosome must now approach kid three, waiting on top of the barrel, with their sides open. Kid three jumps on their sides. We repeated this process until all kids in the neighborhood were on the swing or until the chain broke, which it always did. WE shed tears briefly and then dusted ourselves off and moved on to the next game. Covids would have just been all over us by now.

Lightening bug catching would surely be scrapped. It always started out clean enough. One of us would catch one of those amazingly strange insects. I mean, what insect lightens up? Next, we would always decide we wanted to keep the prisoners. Out came a mason jar, with air holes poked in the top. It would be okay if we would have stopped there. But no. Someone always wanted to wear and share jewelry. And therein lies the problem. I’d tear off the light and make an earring. Someone else would make a bracelet. Then we started sharing and before long…Covid.

Football and basketball pickup games would be the next to go. Oh, some of us would have used masks, but I can see us choosing sides by masks and no masks, ala shirts and skins style. Covid!

Bikes and horse riding would certainly be banned. Rarely did we ever have only one-person riding. Double riders meant Covid!

On the sizzling summer days, and they were all hot, after playing our kid games, we would share water from the nearest hose attached to the house. I can see Covids lurking inside the hot stinky water of that hose and then spread from kid to kid while we each lipped that hose. It would not have mattered if we had a water jug. We all would have lipped that jug after each other. Covid!

If I had contracted Covid, I may have had an antidote with my moms cooking. Her breakfasts always had those scrumptious hub cap biscuits. Holding them together was at least a quart of pure unadulterated lard. I truly believe that lard, coated with about a pound of pure butter and chased with fried eggs in some of the leftover lard from yesterday’s meal, would have blocked any would be Covid invaders.

Lunch (or dinner as we called it as a kid) could punch out any leftover Covids. Moms sweet tea had almost as much sugar in it as water. The consistency of that tea was slightly thinner than syrup, which helped to wash down the fried okra and fried hot water bread, yes, fried in lard left over from breakfast.

Any Covids that had the audacity to still linger for dinner (or supper back then), well, that sweet tea just got thicker sitting out all afternoon. We mixed fried squash and fried green tomatoes with the leftover fried okra. And dessert? You guessed it! Fried apple pies.

If I showed signs of any covid type illness, mom always had a homemade remedy.

“Mom, my throat is sore,” brought out the sure gargle with saltwater remedy.

“Here, gargle with this,” mom said, as she handed me a scalding hot cup of a little water and half a box of Morton salt, you know, the one with the umbrella girl.

Trying to gargle that concoction brought an instant gag reflex resulting in most if not all landing on the medicine cabinet mirror. Anyone who could gargle the entire cup could surely rid themselves of Covid.

I learned quickly to never complain about an upset stomach as mom loved to bring out the enema bag. Just the pure humiliation of laying on the floor with my sister and dad watching while she inserted…. well, I’m sure the Covids would have ran away at that sight.

As I grew older and started taking part in sports, Covid opportunities were everywhere. In practices and in games, slinging blood, sweat, and tears was prevalent on the field. Afterwards, showering always resulted in a good old towel pop on your buddy’s rear end, right before you wiped your face with that towel. There is more to discuss here but I will leave out the details for you.

The coaches unwittingly did their part to fight any undercover Covid’s. Before the games they made us take about a dozen salt tablets, designed to help us sweat and keep cramps away. At halftime, we downed more salt tablets. After the game, completely dehydrated, what did they give us? Milk! Many times, it was chocolate milk. And they acted as if it was a treat!

That milk formed a mucus type coating on my water depraved throat and stomach lining and was so thick, no Covid could or would even want to stay around. On top of the coating, it got bounced up and down on the bus ride home before I could finally get water to hydrate my chocolate milk self!

We did not know the term social distancing, but we sure knew how to do it. I knew when dad was about to pick peas. Or beans. Or corn. It did not take me long to realize I needed to social distance myself as far away from my parents as possible or else I had work in my future.

“Mom, I’m heading over to Jack’s house,” almost a plea rather than a statement.

“No, you are not, young man. You are staying here and shelling peas with me,” mom commanded.

“My hand is cut, and I can’t shell.”

“Here, put this Mercurochrome on it.”

Another Covid buster!

I’m so grateful my childhood was void of Covid so I could experience the very best memories. My prayer is for our kids to be safe as they return to school, whether kindergarten or college.

And I hope you stay safe as well!


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