Ready for a Few More COVID Jokes?

The COVID waves from Chicago and Detroit have now met in the middle, causing some undertow right her in quiet Grand Rapids, which has become Michigan’s hot spot. Therefore, our governor has extended the stay at home order until June 12. Nationally, America has now lost more than 100,000 people to this terrible plague. Please forgive me if you are among those suffering, but for the rest of us, who are suffering economically and socially, I think it’s time for a few more jokes to bolster our sense of humor while waiting out the storm.

On the topic of watching more T.V. and videos during the shelter-in-place order, Alan and I just discovered a “Faith and Family” streaming service (at least here in America) that has a lot of wholesome movies on it. It’s $5.99 a month or $4.49 (billed $53.99 for a year), and you can get a free 2-week trial just to see what you think of it. I’ll include the link below.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). I think this is a great standard for all of us as we consider how to use our leisure time.

COVID Considerations (Just for Fun)

From my niece: “I never dreamed there’d be a day when I went into a bank with a mask on and asked for money!” (My response? “I never dreamed there’d be a day when I took off my wedding ring before leaving the house to shop!” P.S. as in Pre Script: All the rest of these jokes and cartoons are gleaned from FB and emails from friends. Thanks, ya’ll!)

I feel like a kindergartner who keeps losing more recess time because one or two kids can’t follow directions.

Tomorrow is the National Home-school Tornado Drill. Lock your kids in the basement until you get the all clear. You’re welcome!

2019: Stay away from negative people.
2020: Stay away from positive people.

The world has turned upside down. Old folks are sneaking out of the house, and their kids are yelling at them to stay indoors!

Since we can’t eat out, now’s the perfect time to eat better, get fit, and stay healthy. But we’re quarantined! Who are we trying to impress? We have snacks; we have sweatpants – I say we use them!

Do not call the police on suspicious people in your neighborhood! Those are your neighbors without makeup and hair extensions! (I heard in one community the police were having to remind people to put on more than just their boxer shorts before checking their mailboxes.)


Day 7 at home and the dog is looking at me like, “See? This is why I chew the furniture!”

Does anyone know if we can take showers yet or should we just keep washing our hands??

I never thought the comment “I wouldn’t touch her with a six-foot pole” would become a national policy, but here we are!

Quarantine has turned us into dogs. We roam the house all day looking for food. We are told “no” if we get too close to strangers. And we get really excited about car rides.

Me: Alexa what’s the weather this weekend?
Alexa: It doesn’t matter – you’re not going anywhere.

Thoughts on getting enough exercise during our sheltering-at-home mandate:

Every time I hear the dirty word “exercise,” I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.

Walking 20 minutes can add to your life. This enables you at 90 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $4000 per month.

Don’t worry! We all get heavier as we get older because we have more information weighing down our brains. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Now that I’m over sixty, I don’t need to exercise anymore. I got all I need just getting over the hill.

My grandpa started walking five miles a day when he was 60. Now he’s 97 years old and we don’t know where he is.

In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19).

When Pa Goes to Town

Ready for a zany poem about shopping? My father was the quintessential bargain hunter and was always coming home with at least a dozen of whatever was on sale at the Piggly Wiggly or Red Owl . . . along with unusual “new” taste sensations to expand our palates, like pickled kumquats, pig’s feet, or scrambled beef brain (I kid you not). “OOOOh, yukky!” 😦 With five children, Dad would dig deep into the bargain bins and day-old bakery supplies to keep us fed! A generation later, as a mother of seven (six strapping sons), I built on my father’s foundation and quantity shopping became a basic survival skill. Many a week, as I waltzed down the checkout lane with 7 gallons of milk and two baskets loaded to the brim, I would get a casual smile and, “Do you run a foster care home?”

At any rate, my oldest brother wrote this poem about my father, and in honor of April being GloPoWriMo (Global Poetry Writers Month) AND musing over my big COVID shopping-for-a-month spree a couple of days ago, I thought you might appreciate a bit of comic relief.

When Pa Goes to Town
(—Robert Ward, reflecting on our father’s shopping in the 1950’s;
Copyright 2019)

When Pa goes to town
All the grocers around
Go down in their basements and hide.
They cry and they scream,
And with eyes all agleam,
Lock the doors
So Pa can’t get inside.

But Pa with a glare
Like a buzzard’s cold stare
And nose like a beagle-sired bloodhound
Gets in where he can
And with swift-moving hand
Grabs all the bargains around.

Bread for a nickel,
Peaches a dime,
Dates for a quarter,
Pa’s having a time.

“I’ll take a dozen of those,
A gallon of that,
A gross of these,
Put the rest in my hat.”

Pa loads all his stores
On his trusty go-cart,
Cracks the whip to his kids,
And yells, “Do your part!”

Dad comes home with more stores
Than can fit through the doors.
He has yams and hams
And cans of canned Spams,
And musty old
Crusty old dates.

Ma in despair
Pulls the last of her hair
And muffles a fast-rising sob.
“You can try if you care
To fit more in there,
But the army says it’s an impossible job.

But Pa is not stopped,
Though some things are dropped.
He crams and pushes and groans.
And as the roof pops
And the second floor drops,
He returns for that special on dog bones.

She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens” (Proverbs 31:13-15). I know in most families the wife probably does most of the shopping, but my mother didn’t like to shop so my father took it on. They both taught school—Mom elementary and Dad college—so on school days, while my mother packed our lunches, my father made breakfast. Without a doubt, my mother was a virtuous woman, but looking back, I remember many ways in which my flamboyant and highly unconventional father was a good dad, too!

COVID Shopping In Style!

Having not been shopping in more than a month, Alan and I weren’t sure what to expect for our “Senior” hour shopping trip from 7:00-8:00 am yesterday. We set the alarm and woke up before dawn, feeling as tense as if we were about to leave for a transcontinental flight! It was snowing lightly, so I bundled up in my winter coat and dawned my handy, dandy double face mask along with a pair of rubber gloves. We were at the store and ready to shop by 6:59 am, and Meijer was ready for us . . . along with a straggley stream of older folks.

We were intent on being in and out before 8:00 am when the general public is welcome to shop, so I divided our carefully organized shopping list in two. Alan’s list included the pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and non-food supplies, and I concentrated on food.

The store was fairly well stocked, although I did overhear one husband complaining to his wife in the baking aisle, “Welcome to the decimation of the cake mixes!” We were allowed only 2 boxes of kleenex and 2 packages of toilet paper.

There was no fels naptha soap to be found (best over-the-counter way to get rid of poison ivy we know) and no tomato soup or frozen grape juice. No rubber gloves or disinfectant wipes, but they did have some toilet bowl cleaner this time . . . and some leftover Easter candy. 🙂

We felt like treasure hunters, and YES! We were back in the car with our treasures loaded by 8:00 am, although it took me the rest of the morning to wash, separate, isolate, store, and wash down every surface of everything we touched from the shopping bags to the frozen foods, door handles, keys, and credit card. Now we have to wait 14 days to see if we’ll catch COVID (again??) or if we’re going to be okay.

Strange times, aren’t they? And this is in Grand Rapids, which so far has not yet been hit by the COVID tidal waves that are moving in from Chicago to our west and Detroit from the east. (Grand Rapids is in the middle between them, where there’s not much action yet.) Will we be hit by terrible cross-currents, or will COVID fly over our heads like a tornado that never really touches down? The prognosticators are saying we should know in a month.

Tomorrow I want to share a few ideas for shopping strategies, and a poem written by my brother, but today I wanted to share photos of fellow shoppers, just in case you’re wondering what’s in vogue for dress while shopping these days. 🙂

The horse is prepared against the day of battle:
but safety is of the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31).

Of course, I didn’t really see any of these amazing get-ups at Meijer yesterday. They all came from a forward of a friend on line infinitum, so I have no clue who took them or where they occurred, but I thought we all might benefit from some styling tips! 🙂

Brenda’s Tangine Adventure

Here’s a story on trying to be thrifty that will make you laugh, shared by Brenda, who has been my Anne-of-Green-Gables style “bosom friend” since childhood.

As a quick introduction, Brenda and I met on the first day of eighth grade and have been close ever since.

It was a bittersweet day indeed when Brenda married Tom and “left me!” However, after twenty-five years of marriage, we ended up in the same community and have been able to resume our steadfast friendship for this past twenty-five years! We were over to their home for a delicious Moroccan dinner recently, and the story behind the meal was so funny that I asked her if she’d be willing to write it up to share with you. Because—if you are at all like me—you will resonate with the idea of how often we spend money trying to be thrifty! Here it is:

I started with the best of intentions.

I’m not sure when this project took on a life on its own, but it did. It was like a snowball rolling downhill gathering speed and becoming bigger.  How did having a dinner party for close friends end up with an international cooking experience that involved new equipment, new spices and new cooking methods?

It started innocently enough.  I was going to make Candy Cane coffee cakes for Christmas gift giving.  I needed cherries and dried apricots for my baking project.   The first step on the path was buying my apricots at Costco where a 3-pound package of apricots sells for the same amount as a one-pound package at my local grocery store.  As I look back, this is the point where the snowball started rolling downhill.  Imperceptibly at first, but slowly and steadily it got bigger. I had bought that big bag of apricots trying to be a cost-conscious person.

After I had finished making and distributing many candy cane coffee cakes, I still had 2 pounds of apricots remaining.  I needed to find a way to use them up, since I didn’t want to waste them.  I’m a cost-conscious consumer, after all.

I was going to be hosting a dinner party for friends after Christmas, so this was the perfect time to try something new.  I began looking for a main dish recipe that included dried apricots.  I found one easily online.  Lamb and Apricot Tagine.  A dish from Morocco that used several cups of apricots.

I decided that this was a perfect recipe to treat my friends coming to the dinner party.  We had eaten together at a Mediterranean restaurant, so I knew they were up for adventure in this type of cuisine.  What a great way to impress them while being a cost-conscious consumer.

The recipe said the Lamb and Apricot Tagine was cooked in a traditional Moroccan dish called a tagine.  This clay pot allowed slow cooking that continually steamed the food with a domed lid. I could almost smell the dish cooking as I read the recipe and the cook’s comments. The recipe also included instructions for cooking in an Instant Pot, which I have, but that couldn’t be as tasty as using a dish that had been used for hundreds of years in the Middle East, could it?

After researching sources for a tagine, I found that World Market had them and with an after-Christmas discount, I was able to buy one for under $30.  Not too bad but slightly more than I wanted to spend.  However, the price was much higher on Amazon, so again, I felt like I was being a cost-conscious consumer.

I began to gather the ingredients.  The lamb for the recipe meant a trip  to an international market.  I learned a lesson here-lamb is not a cost-effective meat to use. Then I needed saffron threads.  I found these at the International Market after much searching.  I asked the clerk and found they keep saffron in a locked cabinet behind the counter, which tells you the value of the spice. 

On the advice of my chef son, I also ordered some saffron from Amazon who was happy to deliver a small amount of the spice.  Saffron is really the thread-like parts of a crocus flower that grows in the Mediterranean area.   The most expensive spice in the world by weight but luckily, I only needed a very small amount. 

On the positive side, the use of a tagine on an electric stove requires a diffuser to keep the heat from directly touching the tagine.  Fortunately, I have a gas stove and could bypass the diffuser by keeping the heat very low. 

As I began planning for the dinner party, I realized the tagine would not hold enough ingredients to feed six people.  I was going to have to make two batches of the recipe which would require six hours of cooking.  But as often happens, the day of the dinner party, I didn’t have six hours.  My daughter and family had decided to come for a visit from Ohio and left just a few hours before the dinner.  Necessity stepped in, and I had to  cook one batch in the tagine and one in the Instant Pot. 

When my guests arrived, I shared the whole story of the dinner menu that had spiraled out of control.  I placed two dishes of the lamb and apricots on the table and asked them to compare and decide which method was  tastier.  They felt the results were very similar, and that possibly the Instant Pot version was slightly more tender. 

Lesson learned: Either don’t buy large quantities to save money or go with the flow and be open to new experiences to broaden yourself.  I’m going to go with the latter.  We’ve tasted new food, learned how to cook with a tagine and found that the new method (Instant Pot) may be as good as the method used for several thousand years.

But now I need to get a recipe book that features Moroccan cooking so I can make more meals in my tagine.  So, I may not be done with my cooking adventure yet.  After all, I’m a cost-conscious consumer.

(Tangine! This Saturday I’ll share her recipe) 🙂

And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour,
it is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:13).

What Does Your Church Have to Say?

Every once in a while, I have friends who forward emails that make me laugh and brighten up my day. In honor of the snow beginning to fall here in Michigan (unseasonably early, I think! 😦 ), I thought you might enjoy a few laughs too!

(This church must be in Florida! 🙂 )

And my personal favorite (because it’s so true, not because it’s so funny):

Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5, HCSB translation of our Bible).