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Posts Tagged ‘the plague’

Year of Wonders

Water World

I just started an aquasize class offered by our local YMCA!  The other aging ladies in the group call it “water aerobics.”  This may be wishful thinking but we do jumping jacks midstream in the pool and even cross country skiing (or at least we make motions to that effect).

Sometimes I feel like I am Esther Williams though.  You may not remember her – a film star who was once the center of synchronized swimming.  If I squint a little, I think of my current “aerobics” group as my mininons and I am Esther in all her glory.  Imagination is a wonderful thing.

Social Media for the AgedAging

A charming and dedicated fellow high school graduate from my early days (those days celebrated in history books now) has initiated a new FaceBook page by-invitation-only,  a private group just for us graduates of our particular year.  I was so excited about participating that I immediately heaped a boatload of photos and stories onto the page.  It dawns on me now there are only 21 of us participating.  I think there were 600 in our class.

Rain, Floods, and Vitamin D

It keeps on raining around here in rural Virginia.  Sometimes it even floods and our local Alert System is always warning that soccer team and other sports events have been cancelled.  Bill and I are “hill toppers” so we are not too worried about being flooded.

I do get concerned about a Vitamin D deficiency!  They say, “Twenty minutes of natural sunlight on two thirds of your unprotected body parts is all you need to self-generate enough Vitamin D for good health.”  So in those brief periods of sunshine we now enjoy, I head for the deck with bare legs and arms, and with no SPF protection.

Down with a Cold or is it The Plague?

All that sunbathing didn’t help after all.  I developed a nasty cold the day after water aerobics!  Tylenol worked for a low grade fever, but I am left with a deep gutteral cough, light headedness, and the occcasional sweats.

I have however, found the ultimate cure-all, feel-better-right-away solution.   I am reading “Year of Wonders” – a story about the Plague!

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We conducted an informal  poll at my local book club – The Blue Ridge Readers.  We have been reading and discussing books for over ten years now and lately asked the question:

 What is your favorite kind of book?

There were the Historical Novel lovers,

the Romance Seekers (aren’t we all?),

Avid Gourmet Foodies,

the Humorists,

Non-fiction Devotees,

and

Dor the Doomsdayer.

When I somehow stammered out the ugly truth, that I love doomsday books, there was a shocked moment of silence and twitters of nervous laughter in our normally all-accepting, socially correct gathering of serious readers.

And someone finally said, “You are the last person I would think would like that kind of reading.”

“Well, it is my contention,” I replied, “that one should not only enjoy reading, but one should try to acquire wisdom and learn something useful in the process.”  

The above haughty approach is what I meant to say but what I really said was,

“You know, I like survival stories. 

and by way of further explanation,

 “I LOVE reading about the Plague and am now engrossed in The Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks, where a small English village is left nearly empty of people and the roads are overgrowing with grass for lack of use (since everybody dies of course).”

Year of Wonders

This explanation did not help much to explain the pleasures of doomsday reading to my book group.  I went on,

Great Infuenza“I really enjoyed reading The Great Influenza.  Now that’s a winner and it’s all true stuff.”

“And I loved Isaac’s Storm about the devastating 1900 hurricane in Galveston, Texas and the arrogance of man against nature. Did you know that most of Galveston is only ten feet above sea level? “Isaac's Storm

Silence.

But then there was a hint of a giggle from the back and that ended up in all-group laughter.  And they weren’t laughing at me (at least I don’t think so).  They were laughing with me for a preoccupation with surviving encroaching tragedy.

I am also preoccupied with stocking up for a potential pandemic but there was another post about that.  Did you know they have found edible honey in Egyptian tombs?

But, finally to prove my point to my Blue Ridge Reader friends, the last book we discussed at meeting, (which everybody seemed to love)  was The Widow’s War, by Sally Gunning, a novel about a brave woman struggling to keep her home and stay afloat after her husband drowned at sea.  Her “widow’s war” was a fight for her rights to an independent life and to own property in Massachusetts in 1761.

Widow's War

The Widow’s War is a perfect survival story.

The poor widow had to make her own cheese you know.  Could I do that?  I need to find a book on how to make cheese.

And she made her own candles too.  That was fascinating even though she practically burned her house down in the process.

But you get the idea right?

There is something to be said for doomsday reading.

Or are you laughing with me like the rest of my book club?

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