Oct 26, 2020

Since Pearl talked about her weekly coronavirus diary on CBC radio, we've been receiving calls about how to read them. They can be read every week in the Mississippi column of the Frontenac News, but for those outside our distribution area we've decided to make them available online as well.

Table of Contents


Don’t Quit (from the poem by J.G. Whittier)

“When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he'd stuck it out.
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow.
So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.”

Put your troubles of this time of crisis in a pocket with a hole in it.

Thank you to all the health care workers, nurses, doctors, employees at grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, etc., etc.

Thank you to all my friends for calling me to see if I need groceries, pills or anything at all. I have been in self-isolation now for fourteen days. It is not a good sign when I am fighting with myself all day and of course I always win. I am going to tell you about my “I can’t get out” days. I can’t get out to eat, so I celebrate by getting Meals on Wheels. It is my ‘you don’t have to cook day’. I can’t get out to get my hair done so I cut my own hair - Thank God it grows back. I celebrate bad hair days, bushy eyebrow days, stubble legs with razor burn days. I celebrate ‘do whatever you want’ days and ‘it doesn’t matter what you look like’ days. I celebrate by making plans when this bad time is over. I celebrate taking out the garbage day, getting the mail day, just going for a drive around the block day, giving my friends air hugs. I talk to me all the time - like “remember when” - you should be exercising - get them shoulders back. Sometimes I don’t listen to me but it helps me get through these trying times. Stay safe, stay home and keep your sense of humour.

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1. How I Pass My Days – Pearl’s Corona Virus Diary

It’s been 21 days since I’ve been in self-isolation, except for taking out the garbage, getting the mail and going for a small drive. My friends and family have been getting my groceries – Penny, Alice, and Sharon and Cheryl got my pills. We talk about 7 feet apart. Thank you, my wonderful friends and neighbours. I remember wishing I had more time to do things. Be careful what you wish for – it may come true in ways you never thought it would. I’ve so much time on my hands now. New things I’ve learned in 21 days: throwing kisses, air hugs, knuckle bumps, air high fives and stump bumps. I use the phone more than ever. My house is cleaner. I found out my treadmill is for exercising, not for holding clothes or piling stuff on; that Meals on Wheels is like going to a restaurant only a lot cheaper. You don’t have to drive to get it – it is driven to you and it is delicious. I’ve talked to people I haven’t heard from in years. I stay up late and get up a lot later. I write more letters. And I am getting along with myself better. My preacher, Pastor Phillip, phones me every week and we have a prayer which I enjoy so much.

I try many new dishes that I haven’t tried to make before. I made a lemon pie. It was very hard to separate the whites of the egg for the meringue but I did it. It looked almost as good as Karen Paterson’s and it was very tasty. I shared with my friends and neighbours. When this bad time is over, I can’t wait to go the senior’s centre and hear Roger Hermer and Heart Full of Country, the Land O’ Lakes Cloggers and Marg and Dave; go to the Community Centre where my friends gather and hear the tinkle of silverware and china, the gurgle of the coffee pot and the laughter and visiting; go to Phil’s (Maples) and ask, “What’s the special today?”); go to Diners - I am getting the meals but want to see the people, enjoy Catherine’s jokes and the entertainment; and go out with my friends and laugh until the tears run down my legs. This too shall pass. We will be together again. When faced with a challenge, look for a way – not a way out. There are some things you learn in calm and some in storms. Stay strong.

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2. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary - Day 28 Self Quarantine

Hello, North Frontenac, and all readers of this little local paper that I love so much. Happy Easter to all. I hope everyone had as lovely an Easter as I did, even though I am alone. It was not exactly as we spent it in other years. You do whatever you have to do in times of crisis. This week, I wasn’t sure whether to hide Easter eggs or wrap Xmas presents, dress up as a rabbit or dress up as Santa. I asked people to help me to build a snowman or go sleigh riding and no one would go with me. Thank God you are listening to the PM and staying home. Every morning I get up and put on my Stingray Country Oldies to set the tone for my day. I say to myself or out loud, “This is the day that the Lord has made – enjoy it.” It keeps me calm. A special shout out to all the people who put their lives on the line for all of us. To keep us safe and looked after, even though they have families at home and I am sure they are missing them – the doctors, nurses, health care workers, paramedics, those who are driving food trucks, keeping the shelves stocked for us, people wearing rubber gloves, face shields and using sanitizers and antiseptic wipes and everything else that we need. These people are our heroes. A thumbs up to all the cooks and volunteer drivers who are making our Meals on Wheels and delivering them to us. We sure appreciate it. Thank you for the lovely Easter brunch delivered at noon on Sunday. I think it was from Seed to Sausage, the lovely meal consisted of a whole roast of pork, regular potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots, a whole apple crisp a whole pie plus an Easter chocolate bar – enough for about 6 people! I am sure everyone north of 7 enjoyed the meal. Thanks to whoever prepared the boxes and delivered them to us. Also a thank you to Alice, who sent me a delicious pickerel dinner on Friday evening. Pickerel was so crispy and flaky and delicious – best I have ever had. Thanks a million. Sunday evening Elaine sent the most delicious full course turkey dinner, plus lemon pie – enough to feed me for 2 days. I can only say thank you for now, but it doesn’t seem like enough. Thank you, Rick and Barb, for the groceries they brought me and all my pills and all the other food that Alice sent over. I will have to get my door widened and join weight watchers. I love all the food but I can see a change in my body and it is not for the good. My toenails are so long I could till a vegetable garden with them (any takers?). I can chew off my fingernails but I can’t get down to chew my toenails. Believe me, I have tried. My hair is changing another colour – going more white. I found some brown shoe polish and wonder if it works on hair. With the hair cut I gave myself, no one will recognize me anyway. I have date night with myself every week; I get out my citronella candles, put on some sexy music from Bat Outta Hell, maybe have a little lemon grass and dance cheek to cheek with myself. However you entertain yourself – it is fine. Just to get you through these hard days. My neighbours behind me, Penny and Harvey, held up posters on Easter Sunday morning in front of my kitchen window that said Happy Easter (right back at you guys). Thank you for all the phone calls just to say hello, share a laugh or talk about your fears, knowing someday this way of life will be over. Stay safe, stay strong, stay home. Sympathy to Betty Hunter on the loss of her husband, Don. Happy birthday to my granddaughter, Sharon Rowland, Patsy Steele and Bev Ladurantaye and anyone else with an April birthday – Reg Chappell, Robert and Hanne Quigley, Genevieve Patenaude, Yves Sincennes.

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3. Pearl’s Coronavirus: Diary Day 42 Self Isolation

The saga continues. I have coffee every morning of the week with Justin. You know the PM, Justin Trudeau, about 11 or 11:30. Never thought that would happen in my lifetime.

I got a tree at Relay for Life in Flinton, my brother-in-law planted it and it grew into this magnificent Xmas tree about 8 to 10 ft tall. Last Saturday, my backyard neighbours, Penny and Harvey, decorated it in beautiful Xmas lights. It is turned on a dark and looks just beautiful. It looks like it grew out of nowhere and just popped up overnight. Come around and have a look at it – you will be glad you did. It made my day. Thanks a million to Harvey and Penny.

Well, people, now you have all the time in the world to write those letters you intended to write, make those phone calls you wanted to make, clean that room you wanted to clean and all the shelves, cupboards and drawers you said you would get to someday and there is no better time than right now.

I want you people to know it is OK to feel sad, mad, angry, unhappy, scared, anxious and panicked. I think everyone is having those feelings at one time or another. I know I do. It is fine to have those feelings. Thank goodness this pandemic came in the spring and not the winter, as we can get outside and exercise – walk around the house, go for a walk, plant a garden, sit in your lawn chair, do your yard work (at least until the mosquitoes come). Great to see the grass is turning green, flowers are growing, and buds are on the trees. I can’t wait until I start to see school buses on the road again, being able to go to church, having big birthday get-togethers at Maples with my friends. I miss going to the skidoo club for their world famous breakfast - seeing Ron and Morley sweating over the stove, cooking the bacon and eggs and Murray and Bev doing all those dishes, Erma making all that toast, and everyone working so hard. I can’t mention everyone’s names but you all know who you are and are so appreciated. I miss going to the casino, hearing all the noise from machines, seeing crowds of people, having a great meal and coming home either a little richer or poorer than when I left. I play casino games on my old, old computer but it is not the same. I miss music night at the community centre, coffee breaks on Friday morning, I miss Alice picking me up and going to town or Kingston or some function, like going to see Elvis.

I had a doctor’s appointment on Friday morning and it was curbside service. Kathy came out to me in the car and did my blood work. At least I think it was Kathy, as she was all covered up, but it sounded like her.

I found myself with a cuddle blanket. Isn’t that strange for an 80+ year old person to use? Never had one before, but I think that is what I am using it for as I wake up in the morning with a blankie around my head, twirling my hair with my fingers. I have been in isolation too long.

I have some guy friends who pop in for happy hour - Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker, Bud Weiser, and Jose Cuervo. More about that next week. Until then, stay safe, stay home and stay strong. Cheers.

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4. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary - Day 49 Self Isolation

Well, I had church over the phone this morning with Joel and Pastor Phil. I got to say hello to all my church friends. That was wonderful. If I had Zoom I could have watched it all on the computer.

I now have two stray cats coming for food. Put out food – they will come. Now I have Happy and Yappy. I made a dump cake this week and it did look like dump but was delicious. I also made a butterscotch pie, which I shared with my friends. I cut my toenails this week. If I can do it, anybody can. They were so long there were holes in my socks and I could have tilled your garden. The first time I tried to cut them I hadn’t soaked my feet first so my scissors were groaning but after I soaked my feet for about a half hour, they softened. My toenails are so hard and thick as my tongue. Here’s how you do it: sit on a low chair, spread your feet apart and attach them. Now I am good for a couple of months.

I think I am getting a little unstable. Maybe I am not made to be alone all the time. I am starting to look for that woman who is always talking to me. I expect a rash of babies around December/January; I expect more Weight Watchers, Jenny Craigs and Over Eaters Anonymous to be built; more divorces, and very bored kids.

I invited Johnny Walker over for drinks and a meal last week. After the meal, all I remember is waking up sitting on the couch with half a cereal bowl full of milk. I must have had my bowl of cereal before going to bed, like I always do. I took my bowl to the kitchen sink and my kitchen was a mess. There were crackers and cheese, cold meat and pickles and cereal boxes and all over the floor. I looked down at my body and I had bumps and bruises all over. I won’t be inviting Johnny back any time soon, as he left such a terrible mess to clean up. Thank God I had also invited Ben Gay, and he was still there, so he fixed up my wounds. Then, I heard a knock on my door and guess who was there - Mr Clean. He came in and cleaned up all the mess. Then I woke up - what a nightmare! This is what happens when you have too much time on your hands and your imagination runs wild.

The best thing to hold onto is each other. Don’t believe all you hear (or read). Don’t spend all you have. Don’t sleep all you want. Be brave, even if you’re not - no one can tell the difference. Spend your life lifting people up, instead of putting people down. Until next week - stay home, stay safe and stay strong.

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5. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary - Day 56 Self Isolation

It is too bad that gas is so cheap now and we can’t go anywhere. I notice this week that Trudeau is looking a little scruffy. He needs and haircut and I would love to give him one. We have made it this far by being kind and giving and knowing the more you know, the less you fear. Don’t watch Trump. Use your wit to amuse, not to abuse. Everybody has been in lockdown so long and they are probably running out of things to do. Here are a few ideas: how about having a garage sale later on when people can get out? Now is a good time to get the stuff together to get rid of what you don’t need. Try out a few of those new recipes and share them with our friends. That is what I do. Organize your recipe files or your phone address book; do a jigsaw puzzle or do a crossword; read a book. Go for a drive on a back road (that is free) – even going out for just one hour makes you feel great. Shave the hair off your legs – anything to keep you from being bored. We have been staying at home so long that now we feel safer staying home than going out. I know I do and this seems like normal now. But don’t get so that you want to crawl in a hole and pull the hole in behind you. Then it is time to call a friend or somebody.

Things I want to do when this is over: I want to go shopping without the fear of this virus always on my mind; I want to hear the sound of a car pulling into my driveway, a door slamming and know someone is coming for a visit; I want to get my hair cut, coloured and curled again; I want to go to Holly’s and get a pedicure and a manicure; I want to go to a restaurant with my friends and not have to sit six feet apart; I want to pick up Olive and Harriett and say let’s go for a coffee or a meal; I want to smell bacon or a sizzling steak on a BBQ as I can’t BBQ myself; I want to be able to greet my friends with a hug. These are all the things I look forward to when this craziness is over.

Me and my bathroom scales had a fight this week. For the past three weeks, I have been eating very well - cottage cheese, skinless chicken, no bread, and no butter. I get Meals on Wheels and they are low-cal except for dessert but I only eat half of the dessert. I was so excited to step on my scales last Monday and it says I’ve been bad. It says I gained 3 pounds. Every woman knows what it feels like to have the scales say you have gained weight. I looked down at that horrible mechanical device in disbelief – my confidence destroyed. I was dieting with the hopes that by the time this pandemic is over, I can get out my front door. I think when I get out everyone is going to call me pudgy – what a horrible word - pudgy! So I changed my other mind and figured out dieting is not for me at this time. This might go on for gosh knows how long, so I am going to enjoy ALL my food – no one is going to see me anytime soon. Yum yum yum.

This week, I found goodies on my door handle - a roast beef dinner and a loaf of homemade cheese bread and a box of chocolates. Rick and Barb brought me a Chinese supper on Saturday night – it was soooo good. Thank you, everybody, for the wonderful meals. That’s it for this week. Stay home – stay safe – stay strong.

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6. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary Day 63

Guess who coloured their hair last week? Well, I talked to the woman and she said let’s do it! So I bought myself a colour kit and asked myself, “how hard can this be?” (Act 1) Get towels, and washcloths, hair colour kit, mix solution together, towel around the neck, put on glove [finally did get glove on with the help of my teeth]. Thank God they are my own teeth or they probably would have dropped out. (Act 2) Try to part the hair at the crown of the head (because you can’t do it with one hand). I just poured it over my head, started on the top and went around the side and the back of my head, poured solution all over the head until you have used half the mixture. It’s dripping down my face and on my white throw rug on the kitchen floor. I get paper towels and wipe up excess fluid. Brown won’t come off the white rug or my face. I used some soap and it came off my face but not my white rug. (Act 3) It said keep on your hair for 20 minutes and then pour what is left in the bottle over your hair and leave it for 10 more minutes. I’ve already got too much on my head but that is what the instructions said. Well I am going to do it. I pour it on and I am dripping everywhere. Down my face, down my back, on my counter and the sink. (Help – Mommy, where are you?) Again, I mop it up with paper towels and wait 10 more minutes. (Act 4) Now I try to get that glove off my hand that was so hard to put on. Again, using the teeth, I pulled it off. Now rinse all that guck off your head until the water is clear. I should have done all this in the bathtub but I didn’t. I used my double sinks. I think the water is clear but I can’t see without my glasses. When water is clear you add conditioner to the hair. It looks good but oh maybe I should have cut it – it looks long. My alter ego said, “Pearl, don’t touch those scissors – don’t go near them. Look what you did to your bangs six weeks ago”. Well, it put in a couple of hours and I had fun, except for my white rug. When my hair dried, it looked like I had just left Donna’s hair salon. I love experimenting on myself! Would I do it again? Sure – but I might cut it first!!!

I forgot to thank the people who made the Mother’s Day Dinner, the people who delivered it, and for the two homemade masks that came with the dinner. Thank you so much – you are my heroes.

On Wednesday, Olive, Harriet and I had coffee together on Olive’s porch for 1-1/2 hours. It was wonderful to see each other face to face and talk. We used social distance and the time just flew by. Maybe we will do this once a week, it was great.

What I did this week – go shopping on The Shopping Channel, gave out care packages to my friends, had a visit with Harriet and Olive, made a chocolate pie, made homemade soup and cooked some bread. I now celebrate Sipping Soda through a Straw days, Junk Food Days, Barking Dog Days, Feeding Stray Cat Days, Pesky Bug Days, and Making Plans for Better Days. I celebrate life! Alice came for a visit. She is the first person to be in my house for 63 days. We had a wonderful visit. I hope we have many more. I have been in quarantine for 63 days. Do you people think I am getting stranger? People say that isolation will do that to people. Happy birthday to Brandy Armstrong and to Grayson, who is six. Happy birthday, buddy. The neighbours behind me (Penny and Harvey) have sold their home. New neighbours will be moving in sometime in June. I miss you already and you have even left yet. Tough days don’t last but tough people do. Stay home, stay safe, stay strong.

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7. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary Day 70 Self Isolation

What I am thankful for in these times: All the meals that are prepared and delivered to and they are so delicious; I am thankful that I am healthy enough to stay at home alone with myself (Pearl); I am thankful I can do all my own housework, and cooking, and driving, and baking. I had only been doing jello and opening fruit cups for years and now I am back into baking. I make many dishes in my crockpot and I make one pie and one cake each week. It doesn’t matter how they turn out, Pearl will eat them. She is like Mikey – Mikey will eat anything. What I can’t eat, I give away. I am thankful for my family, friends and neighbours. The A&W fairy was here again this week and left a big thick, juicy hamburger. Also the hanging basket fairy was here and left a beautiful hanging basket of flowers. Thank you so much whoever you are. They are all so appreciated and the made my day. Rick made me a big quart jar of leeks, all cleaned and delicious. I love leeks and they were devoured.

Thank you to all the people who have phoned and said how much they enjoy reading my nonsense. Glad you are getting a laugh out of it and it keeps me alert. I just put it in the paper so people will get a laugh or two in these trying times. This week I got a request from a man for a photo of me – WOO HOO! I spent all Tuesday morning making myself gorgeous for my photo shoot. Yes a photographer came and took my picture for the paper. Perhaps this man has been reading my column and wants my photo for one of those internet dating sites; or maybe he is the mystery person who left that flowering basket. (I’ll never tell – but yes it really happened.)

I cut a little bit of hair off the top of my head last week and when I got up the next morning I found a toonie under my pillow from the hair fairy.

Twenty things you did not know about Pearl:

  1. my favourite colour is pink
  2. my favourite number is 13
  3. my favourite singer is Elvis [everybody knew that]
  4. my favourite hymn – How Great Thou Art sung by Elvis
  5. my favourite fast food is KFC
  6. my favourite song – anything by Elvis
  7. I love to go to casinos
  8. I love scratch tickets
  9. I would rather clean a toilet than dust – I hate dusting
  10. I love soft boiled eggs
  11. my favourite pie is lemon
  12. I have a picture of myself and Charlie Pride taken in Wheeling West Virginia
  13. I was married, had 3 kids and still couldn’t vote (I was still under 21)
  14. I love cold pork chops
  15. If you want to drive me crazy – put me in a room with a ticking clock
  16. my favourite fruit is a peach
  17. I came over from England on the Queen Mary
  18. Gloria McEwen and I walked 100 miles for a Terry Fox run when the runs were on
  19. my favourite flower is a glad
  20. and I have a tie for favourite meal - turkey dinner or ham, scalloped potatoes and baked beans
  21. and my favourite newspaper is North Frontenac News

Stay home, stay safe, stay strong.

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8. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary Day 77 Self Isolation

Since my failed diet, I eat whatever I want with the freedom of no guilt. To get through this pandemic you have to have a sense of humour, at least that is what Pearl keeps telling me. But I don’t know how many more days I can deal with her. Since the diet I eat all the junk food I want. I don’t think I eat too much but remember I’m old and can’t remember much. I can’t remember eating that box of chocolates, but it is gone. It was half full the last time I looked. Then there was that bag of chips. I opened them a couple of days ago and they are all gone. It must have been Pearl. But at least I am getting some exercise looking for them. Remember the next time (if there is a next time) you are in a restaurant and you order something doused in butter or cream and someone gives you that evil eye, tell them to go sit on their rice cake or tofu. I try to keep busy even if I don’t know what I am doing. I have had so many messes to clean up in the last two weeks. I was making a cake - a chocolate one of course – I picked up the beaters without turning them off. That’s right! I had an instant brown speckled kitchen. Try cleaning that up - cake batter everywhere. I tried to open a jar of orange juice that had a plastic lid and it was filled right to the top. I hit the top 3 or 4 times with a knife, then put the jar between my knees and twisted off the top. Orange juice all over the floor! The third boo boo and there are always 3. I was filling up the kitchen sink to wash some stuff. I was waiting for the sink to fill, there was a book on the table (yes I did). I sat down to read a little bit of the book, and got so into the book I forgot about the sink until the water started running all over the floor. Another mess for Pearl to clean up. Where is my help when I need it the most? Well at least my kitchen floor is clean now.

I had the most wonderful act of kindness done for me on Tuesday 19th May. My grass was really, really long in the back yard. I heard a lawn mower going but there was no lawn cutting stuff main in my bottom driveway (truck or trailer) so I figured it was Penny cutting her grass. My kitchen blind was down so I could not see her yard. The lawnmower was getting closer to my kitchen window so I pulled up the blinds and looked and there was a man I didn’t know on a riding lawnmower and he was cutting my grass. It turned out to be Penny’s brother who I had never met until that day. He even cut my front lawn. His name is Chuck Johnson. He has no idea how happy he made me as my grass was so long. It was also 35 degrees outside. Now I know there are Earth Angels because I met one that day. Thank you Chuck (friends forever).

Things do not change but we do. I bet a lot of people have changed in a lot of ways during this pandemic. Everything is so routine now; it seems to me that it has been this way forever. I am enjoying sitting in my house with the heat and bugs outside. Last week it tortured me.

Love cures people, both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it. I am done my Coronavirus therapy now and I am ready for my hug therapy. I wonder how much longer I have to stay home. I am getting older by the day. My memory is gone and I cannot seem to find it. I am trying to turn on the TV and I have the phone in my hand. I am looking for the phone and I am talking on it. Pearl told me she is going to put me in the pout room for a long time if I don’t shape up.

I want to thank Elaine for the beautiful bouquet of lilacs and the muffins. Happy belated 50th Anniversary to Don and Janis Brown.

Wake up every day and be awesome. Our country is awesome, the people in it are awesome and so are we. Try to have a laugh once a day even if it is only you there. It makes a big difference in your day. Stay home, stay safe, stay strong.

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9. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary: Day 84

This week, I decided to have a fashion show and a cleaning of closets with the Wine isters. Ruby Red, Rosé, Peach, Thimbleberry, and Bailey (I think she is Irish) all dropped in Wednesday afternoon and we had a fashion show. I dug out stuff from more than 50 years ago, even some of my mother’s clothes, and she has been dead 30 years. They say clothes come back in fashion after so many years but I haven’t seen anything like this stuff around. Funny how stuff shrinks just hanging on hangers. There were plaids and checks and great big flowers, long tops, short tops, long shorts, knee- high shorts, skinny legs, bell bottoms, and short shorts in every colour and description you could think of. How did this stuff ever get into my drawers and shelves and on my hangers? I would never wear this stuff - short shorts so short and tight. Some of the stuff I don’t even have anymore. Floor length dresses, short dresses, outlandish dresses. We had a fabulous time trying on clothes and we looked fabulous in them. At least I thought we did, but my eyesight is going, along with my memory. The sisters also took some stuff home with them that they loved. What a wonderful afternoon we all had. When all else fails, bring out the wine or the Wine sisters. I will certainly have them back again. They were a lot more fun than my happy hour guys - Jack, Jose, Johnny and Bud and it sure put in the afternoon. But I think the sisters were here too long. I had a terrible headache the next day.

A dear friend passed away this week - R.D. St. Pierre, known to most as Don, but to everyone in Mississippi and this area he was known as R.D. He passed away June 2nd at Rideau Ferry Home. Don was an art teacher at Sharbot Lake High School for many years. I met him in 1958, shortly after we moved to Mississippi. He was busy teaching then and I used to travel to Picton and back with him to go and see my mother. He also taught in Picton years ago and we got to know each other really well, travelling back and forth. My sister and brother-in-law came from England for a 2-week visit and R.D. made the biggest “Welcome to Canada” sign I have ever seen. It wrapped all the way around my verandah (I had a verandah up until the 1980’s). Olive and Harriet and I had many wonderful visits with him at Rideau Ferry Home. He was still writing letters to me a year ago. I couldn’t understand what he wrote but I loved getting them. I took over writing the Mississippi News from R.D. He asked me if I would do it when he retired. I said “I can’t write anything like you, R.D.” and he said to at least give it a try and that was in 2002. I have been here ever since. Thanks for the job, R.D. and for all the visits, happy memories and laughs. Rest in peace, brother (he always called me his sister). From your friends Harriet, Olive and Pearl – we are going to miss you.

I want to thank all the girls at Dean’s who help me so much when I go shopping – getting stuff I can’t reach from the shelves, making sure the bags are not too heavy for me to carry, and taking my groceries to the car for me; and all the people at the pharmacy who are always helping and getting stuff for me, taking caps off bottles that I cannot get off; and to Bob’s Petro for all your help and pumping gas for me all the time. You all get gold stars, two thumbs up and you are my heroes. Every one of you are so appreciated. I am so proud to be a Canadian, especially when I see what is going on in the States in the past few weeks. It makes my heart hurt.

Thank you to all the ladies who called this past week to tell me how much they enjoy my write-ups. It was an L. Mackenzie, Joyce Lemke, Jean Brown, Rita, Arlie, Sandra and Diane. Remember: these stories are all coming to an end soon. My brain is tired of trying to think up stuff to put in the paper. I am glad they are helping you all get through this pandemic.

Love and prayers to the Hermer family.

Until next week, stay home, stay safe, stay strong.

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10. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary - Day 91

This week I decided to have a fashion show and a cleaning of closets with the Wine sisters. There was Ruby Red, Rosé, Peach, Thimbleberry, and Bailey (I think she is Irish) all dropped in Wednesday afternoon and we had a fashion show. I dug out stuff from more than 50 years ago, even some of my mother’s clothes and she has been dead 30 years. They say clothes come back in fashion after so many years but I haven’t seen anything like this stuff around. Funny how stuff shrinks just hanging on hangers. There were plaids and checks and great big flowers, long tops, short tops, long shorts, knee- high shorts, skinny legs, bell bottoms, and short shorts in every color and description you could think of. How did this stuff ever get into my drawers and shelves and on my hangers? I would never wear this stuff - short shorts so short and tight. Some of the stuff I don’t even have anymore. Floor length dresses, short dresses, outlandish dresses. We had a fabulous time trying on clothes and we looked fabulous in them. At least I thought we did, but my eyesight is going along with my memory. The sisters also took some stuff home with them that they loved. What a wonderful afternoon we all had. When all else fails, bring out the wine or the Wine sisters. I will certainly have them back again. They were a lot more fun than my happy hour guys - Jack, Jose, Johnny and Bud and it sure put in the afternoon. But I think the sisters were here too long. I had a terrible headache the next day.

This was a good week and a bad week. A bad week because I lost another dear friend - Patsy Steele. She passed away on June 13th. Patsy, Olive, Harriett, Ruth Jackson and I used to call ourselves the Merry Widows. We went everywhere together. Then Patsy moved to Kingston to be closer to her children. We did continue to see each other a couple of times a year after she left and then she got ill and couldn’t travel back here anymore. But we still kept in touch by phone. I sent her all my North Frontenac newspapers. She loved reading them to keep in touch with people and happenings back here. I knew she was very sick. We are going to miss her. Rest in peace – you will be missed by all your friends, especially Olive, Harriett, Ruth and Pearl. Sympathy to the Steele family on the passing of Patsy, to her children Susan, Mack, Jeannie and Lyn and to all the grandchildren.

The good news is I have a brand new haircut that I got on Friday and I didn’t have to do it myself. Thanks Donna. I look precious. I haven’t had a real haircut since January. On Saturday, I got these toes all pampered by none other than Holly at Ardoch. Elaine and I went and now we are all “polished”. It was a great morning getting to talk face to face (with our masks on). Thanks for taking me, Elaine. It almost felt like we were back to normal again.

My shiny Penny has moved. She was the neighbour behind me. I love her so much. She only moved to Ardoch, so I will get to see her again when this old world gets back to normal. And Chuck (my earth angel), I will be popping into the marina at Ompah for a coffee and a donut or some ice cream.

I was in chicken heaven on Tuesday evening when Wendy Crain brought me chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy from Popeye’s in Kingston. I had been craving crispy chicken for over a month and when Wendy phoned and told me she had my supper from Popeye’s, my knees went weak and I got out my bib and waited for that knock on the door. It was scrumptyumpsious (in English – delicious). Thank you, Wendy. And then I had a most delicious dessert from Alice – rhubarb crisp, which I inhaled. Thank you, Alice.

I want to welcome Andrejf and I think Irene or Irina (not sure of her name). They are from the Oshawa area and they are now residing in Penny’s house behind me. Welcome to the community and I hope we meet soon.
Welcome to Mississippi, Myrtle, Mabel and Marie – the three wooden statues that have taken up residence at the big pond on Gully Road at the Virgin house

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11. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary - Day 98

This is song I wrote and it’s called, “The Coronavirus Blues”:

I’ve got the Coronavirus blues from my head down to my shoes. It’s keeping me at home and I’m all alone. How much longer will it last? It has been 90 days and passed. With just Pearl for company and she is driving me batty. With masks, sanitizer, gloves and wipes; it keeps me busy from morning ‘til night. Stay 6 feet apart - no more than 10 in a group. It seems like I’ve been running around in a hoop. Picking up stuff at the curb or chatting on the phone or Zoom, sometimes I wish I could go to the moon. With Meals on Wheels so delicious and hot, served by people who are giving a lot, all their time and driving and skills – for the people getting them, it is a thrill. Someday, it will end, I just don’t know when. But I know we will all get together again. Tho’ it’s been weeks since we’ve been masking up, now the country is starting to open up. I hope it won’t be long before we can shout – “Take that, Coronavirus! And get the H... out.”

Warning – hope this does not offend anyone. It is just a funny story, no malice intended.

The Mammogram: I remember getting a mammogram many, many years ago. I remember hearing a loud popping noise. The technician said loudly “Oh, no!” Not the words you want to hear from a health professional. Not when you are getting this done. I looked down to make sure I hadn’t exploded. The technician suddenly went flying by me, the white coat whipping behind her. Over her shoulder, she yelled, “The machine is on fire – I am going to get help!” I struggled a few minutes to get free but even Houdini couldn’t have escaped. I decided on Plan “B” – yelling at the top of my lung (the one that still works). I hadn’t seen anything on fire, so my panic hadn’t quite reached epic proportions yet. But then I started to smell smoke. “‘This is ridiculous” I thought, “ I can’t die like this. What would my obituary say? Cause of Death: Breast Entrapment.” I must have inhaled some fumes because I started to hallucinate and an imaginary fireman ran with a fire hose and a hatchet. “Howdy Ma’am – what happened here?” he asked. I said “My breasts were too hot for the machine.” He ran out of the room saying “This is going to take the Jaws of Life.” In reality, the technician returned with a big fire extinguisher and put out the fire. They said, “Sorry, that’s the first time this ever happened”. I left running across the parking lot in my backless paper gown. After I relaxed for a few years, I figured I might go back, but I’m taking my own fire extinguisher.

I had a pair of Old Pharts stop in for a mini visit after golfing last Sunday. What a shock to see Red and Phil at my door. So great to see them. They have no idea how much danger they were in being the first men I have had in my house in years, except for my Toy Boy Ron (oops).

Thank you, Alice, for getting me the lovely rib dinner on Sunday. It was delicious and enjoyed very much. Thank you to all people who prepared, packed and delivered this great meal – Seed to Sausage, and Rural Frontenac Community Services.

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12. Pearl’s coronavirus diary, day 112.

Are you still feeling down and out of sorts from this Coronavirus. It’s just been going on too long. Even though the country is starting to open up I don’t think this world will ever be the same, at least until they get a vaccination for it.
It has kept us away from our families and friends. But try to stay as positive as you can. KI know its hard, some days are harder than others. But do like I do, once in a while invite the happy hour boys over or the wine sisters. Not all the time, just once in a while, they’ll cheer you up. The do me. Just have them on special occasion, like Tuesday, or I didn’t brush my teeth today, or ‘it’s too hot today’, or ‘it’s too bug’. But always remember to war your mask, stay 6 feet apart and stay safe. Stay home, stay strong.

I want to thank everyone for the “love packages”, as I call them. Cheryl for the rhubarb cherry pineapple jam, best I ever ate. To Harriet Rose and Bob for all the goodies from Burger King. I am starting to waddle like a duck, have you any idea why. But I love you guys and your thoughtfulness.

The sad tale of the Rhubarb Pie
(In order to get a full picture of the following article, readers need to know that our intrepid Mississippi reporter Pearl Killingbeck has had one of her arms amputated above the elbow)
By Pearl Killingbeck

This story isn’t funny, it’s just one of my usual days which shows my frustrations, of which I have many. Everything I do is and adventure, whether I want it to be or not. But I have late rhubarb, and when I get the rhubarb the grass is up to my … knees and the ground is uneven and hard to walk on. These legs are almost 82 years old and wobbly. I can hardly walk on even ground. And there were so many mosquitoes, they were in my eyes and ears, under my glasses and on my back. I had lumps everywhere the size of anthills. Now I can’t cut the rhubarb with a knife, I have to use scissors so I have to pull the stalk out of the ground, an cut off the leaves which are almost as big as me, and toss them on the ground until I get what I want. Then try to put them in a bag by holding the handle in my mouth, picking up the stalks and trying to get the bag to stay open so I can put the rhubarb in. It takes a lot of time. I got about 12 stalks more than I needed, and getting them all in a bag too about 20 minutes, while the mosquitoes were on every inch of my body. I then headed back to the house where I was happy to be fleeing them blood sucking mosquitoes. There were enough of them, they could have carries the bag for me. At home I washed rhubarb, cut it up with my scissors, put it in a pot with sugar, water, and minute tapioca like the recipe said, It put the pie in the oven at 350 [Fahrenheit] for 50 minutes. It looked lovely when it came out. I waited until it cooled down and put it in the fridge overnight like I do all my pies (just because).

Then I decided to put a meringue on top. I got the egg whites, crème of tartar and whipped and whipped and whipped for over 30 minutes. It would not thicken! The date was good on the egg whites. So much for the meringue. I threw it in the garbage.

I’ll just have rhubarb pie, I thought, I cut into it and it was like slicing water. It didn’t thicken, maybe not enough minute tapioca. I scraped the rhubarb out of the pie dish and threw away the crust, and was just left with a dish of rhubarb, which I will enjoy. 2 hours of frustration. I won’t be making Rhubarb-meringue pie for a while. I hope the neighbours didn’t hear the ugly cries out of a frustrated woman. But the rhubarb was delicious, although too thin.

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13. Coronavirus Diary - Day 119

Forget your mistakes, forget your failures, forget everything except what you are going to do to get through this pandemic and do it now. Start that book you were wanting to do. Paint that room you were wanting to paint, that garden you wanted to put in, flower or vegetable or both. Maybe make some crafts you’ve bene wanting to make. Try anything, you might get it right or it might be a failure. But at least you tried. I do it all the time, most are failure but no one can hear me when I cuss or yell. I keep my kitchen window closed so no one can hear this frustrated woman. But it does help to pass the days and they don’t feel so lonely.
25 things you did not know about Pearl

  1. I am 2” shorter on my right side than my left side
  2. I have never used soap on my face in over 60 years. I only use Noxema, soap dries your skin.
  3. I am a morning person. If it doesn’t get done in the morning, it doesn’t get done.
  4. I have a fear of heights, especially ferris wheels.
  5. Fall is my favourite time of the year. Beautiful colours, no humidity, not bugs, no grass. (I hate summer)
  6. I love stickers
  7. I was born in Brighton, England
  8. I love rue crime stories
  9. I met my best friend, Kathleen, 68 years ago. We were both on blind dates.
  10. My favourite place on earth is Mississippi Station, my home.
  11. When I was 70 years old, I went on my first plane ride to Victoria, BC.
  12. I was 72 years old before I saw a real ball game, Blue Jays in Toronto
  13. When I was younger, walking was my favourite activity. Sometimes I would walk 10 miles a day.
  14. My first vehicle that was all mine and I didn’t have to share with my husband was a 1986 Jeep Wagoneer. He fell in love with it and gave it to me for Valentine’s Day.
  15. I have never worn high heels in my life
  16. My favourite music is country music (sorry, Elvis)
  17. I don’t like spicy foods.
  18. May favourite sandwich is club.
  19. May favourite holiday is Christmas
  20. My first job in Canada was delivering newspapers when I was 9 years old, with my brother Ken.
  21. I became a Canadian Citizen in December, 1985
  22. My first do was a mutt we named Puddles (I think you can figure that out)
  23. The first time I ever spoke in public was at a “Relay for Life: in Parham. I was so scared (Ask Mike Procter) I came off the stage with wet armpits.
  24. My favourite country singers are Shania Twain and Garth Brooks.
  25. The reason I have one arm is a blood disease called Protein C Deficiency. I causes blood clots, which I had. It is hereditary and my daughter Pam has it and so does her daughter Holly. Now you all know more about me.

A lovely basket of oatmeal mini-muffins was found on my lawn chair on Monday evening. It was a mystery until Thursday, when my neighbour told me Polly, our mail lady, left the muffins for a few other neighbours. Thank you, Polly, so kind and thoughtful of you and they were lovely, delicious.

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14. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary Day 126

True Story: June 30th was the day I was to test my Lifeline. This is something you have to do every month to make sure it is working properly so it will save my life if I ever need it. I did not know it would not work if I didn’t have phone service. My phone service had been out since Sunday, June 28th. Around 2:30 pm I pressed my Lifeline button to do the check. The lady on the other end – let’s call her Wilma – that usually talks to me said “your health call is in progress, please wait.” What else was I to do? For about 20 minutes she kept saying “your health call is in progress, please wait” and no one was coming. My thoughts were where is Alice or Wendy or Donna?”. They should be charging in my door by now trying to find out what is wrong with me, even tho’ I was just testing my Lifeline. Wilma just kept repeating “please wait, your call is in progress”. Oh where oh where are my contacts? You see I didn’t know it wasn’t working right because I had no phone service. I got out my manuals and it said if we cannot reach your contacts, Emergency Services will come to your call. I could just imagine ambulances and police cars coming down the road, sirens blaring to get to me all dressed in their hazmat suits or whatever they call them. I kept looking out the windows and waiting for them to get here – pacing, pacing, and pacing for 2 hours. Then I start to get worried. I thought no one is coming. What if I had fallen or was bleeding or was very sick? Wilma is still saying “Your health call is in progress, please wait.” By now Wilma is irritating the H*** out of me! Shut up Wilma! How will I ever sleep tonight with Wilma yapping nonsense all night long. She is loud. About 11 o’clock I dozed off for five minutes and Wilma started over and over again, every 5 to 6 minutes. I got two thick heavy towels and wrapped Wilma up in the machine as good as I could, put pillows on top of her and still couldn’t drown her out. I don’t like Wilma anymore. I finally figured out that if my telephone is out my Lifeline doesn’t work. I wondered what would happen if I unplugged the phone even tho’ it wasn’t working. So I unplugged it and Wilma finally shut up - she finally quit talking. Thank You God. So I finally got some sleep after 1 o’clock in the morning. The phone service did not come back on until Thursday afternoon July 2nd around 12:30 or 1 o’clock. Five days with NO service. I hate to think what would have happened if I had fallen or had some kind of emergency. What about all the fire calls or paramedic calls or other people with a Lifeline calls. While I have got over my hate of Wilma as I now have service, it will now make me scared every time the phone goes out.

I want to thank Waterford Kingston Retirement Centre for the lovely surprises. Thank you whoever sent me the bags they were lovely. Thank you to Valerie Truelove for bringing me a basket of strawberries all cleaned on Sat morning. I got “fairy dusted” last Saturday afternoon – a lovely basket of strawberries from Mississippi Berries and a pink basket full of goodies with a note that said “you have been fairy dusted - everyone enjoys your articles in the paper – keep on writing”. Also, a Thank You to Jinny for the kind words about my stories and that you are sending them to your mother in Pennsylvania so she can share them with her friends. It makes my heart happy to share these stories with everyone. Just this morning (Sunday 12th) I got a fresh salad out of Rick and Barb’s garden and some Chinese food for my supper. Thank you everyone for being so wonderful to me. Thank you is just not enough to say. I hope soon I can do something wonderful for all of you. That’s it for this week.

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15. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary - Day 133

Elvis and Pearl (I wish). This hunk a hunk of burning love of a man named Elvis called me one evening and said, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and I said, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”. He said, “Would You Wear My Ring Around Your Neck?” And I thought he said, “Do you wanna neck?” (Do fish like water? Do eggs like bacon? You’re getting me All Shook Up. My hands are shaking and my knees are weak. He said, “Would you Love Me Tender?” and I thought he asked, “Do you love chicken tenders?” I said, “You Ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog!” And he said, “Would you like to go to the Jailhouse Rock with me?” I said, “Only if you wear your Blue Suede Shoes.” I said, “You were Always on My Mind.” He said, “Will you be My Teddy Bear?” (Oh boy oh boy oh boy would I ever!) “Could we go to Heartbreak Hotel? Elvis, whenever you are around, I Get the Fever. I just wanna be your Good Luck Charm. So Help Me Make It Through the Night.” He said, “You are just the Devil in Disguise.” Well that’s no secret. “I heard about you and Long Tall Sally but I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.” And he said, “so do a million other girls.” I said, “Don’t Be Cruel, I’m Just Your Puppet on a String and I Don’t Have a Wooden Heart.” I said “But Elvis – You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling, and that’s When the Heartaches Begin.” He said, “You have a Suspicious Mind” and I said I don’t have a mind. He said, “It’s Now or Never” and I asked “Could we be Kissing Cousins? Could I bring along my Little Sister?” He said, “No – It’s Only Make Believe” (Like this story). Elvis said you could return me to sender but I said, “I am so Stuck on You that that is when the heartaches begin. I think you’ve Lost your Loving Feelings. Soon you will hear me Crying in the Chapel. What happened to our Burning Love?” Elvis said, “That’s What You Get for Loving Me”. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me. I am so Stuck on You just like my stickers. I Will Always Love You. I have a shrine in my house for you (It’s true). I’m So Hurt but I Couldn’t Help Falling in Love with You.

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16. Pearl Coronavirus Diary Day 140

Getting Back my Bikini Body: I needed something to do this summer while still in lockdown so why not try to get my bikini body back. I had a rocking body 66 years ago when I was 16. So I am going to see what I can do to get it back by late August or early September so I will look thin and in. My measurements at the moment are 46-40-46 but by the end of August or early September, I hope to be 36-25-36. I am prepping for a bikini competition and I will give it my all. I will eat clean (I will clean up everything) and I will work out hard 5 or 6 days a week. I really struggle with my water weight as I am mostly water. I’m really bloated and puffy but that is from the water. I will really be excited when I see my 6-pack (do women have a 6-pack?). I will do a mixture of weightlifting and heart-pumping cardio. I will have such a lean toned physique that no one will recognize me. I will work so hard that my metabolism will be revved up for 40 hours. After my sweat sessions, hydration is necessary but I have so much water weight I don’t need to be drinking 8 glasses of water per day. It will only make me heavier. They say cut out sugar but I have a sweet tooth - the third one down from my front tooth so I can’t do that. My training is so strenuous I sometimes have to take 2 or 3 days to rest my body to get rid of all those aches and pains from all that exercise. I nosh on potato chips (white of course) and low fat ice cream when I get the munchies. I replace greasy fries and lasagna and pasta of any kind with baked chicken wings (large of course to keep me fuller for a longer time), or pizza - two or three small slices with just tomato sauce and cheese. The pounds are pouring off me! When I need to get hydrated I will have a large Coors or a coffee with lots of cream and Splenda. If I am still hungry before supper I will have a chocolate bar and a diet Pepsi but the diet says to stay away from processed foods so I won’t get any closer to that than 1 or 2 feet. I hope my eagerness to get a bikini body will help to inspire others to join me. Over the years I have stored a lot of fat. I didn’t mean to, it just latched onto me and stayed. I have 3 good rolls that I can see. There could be more hidden where I can’t find them. I have to boost up my workout sometimes. It shouldn’t be hard to get rid of my rolls of fat when I am putting so much effort into this diet and workouts. Soon everyone will want to look just like me. I was so worried I would be hungry on this diet but I am not hungry at all. Here is a sample of what I eat for one day: breakfast - 2 fried eggs, 6 pieces of peameal (there is no fat on peameal), homefries with just a tad of butter to fry them, 2 pieces of texas toast with lots of butter and jam and 2 cups of coffee. That keeps me going until noon. Then I have my Meals on Wheels which doesn’t have very many calories and it is delicious. That keeps me going until about 5 o’clock and for supper I will have a baked potato, one inch thick steak about the size of my hand and a nice tossed salad. If there is cake or pie around I might have just a little piece with some diet ice cream. If I get hungry between supper and bedtime I will nosh on light chips, or popcorn and a diet Coke. It won’t be long now that I will be out in public and you probably won’t recognize me. I have so much energy now it is amazing. If you want to join this diet with me, get your doctor’s OK first. I have lost so much weight that when I went to pull up my socks this morning, I didn’t have any on. I knew this would be hard, but I was brought up on hard work. Look for me at a beach near you soon – looking spectacular!

Thank you Donna for the lovely fresh corn on the cob last Thursday – all cooked and ready to eat. Happy belated 55th anniversary to Pat and Earl Sargeant. Speedy recovery to Fred Fowler after his knee surgery. Until next week – wear your masks.

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17. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary Day 147

No story today. Fun is still the best antidote for stress as the days stretch into weeks and then months. Being locked up at home with this irritating woman - she is getting to me. We’ve been together too long and with this terrible heat and not having had my phone working for 5 days, things could get dangerous. I’m looking in the mirror seeing this image of that woman and telling her to get out of my house and she just stares back at me. She scares the h*** out of me.

I can’t have coffee with Justin anymore. He just deserted me but I hear he has issues going on in his life so I don’t think we will have coffee together anymore. As this pandemic goes on and on, just try to keep your sense of humour. Try to have a least one laugh once a day. Sometimes I laugh at the stories I wrote. Some are funnier than others. There is so much good in our little communities with everyone helping each other to get through this Covid 19. We can now get our hair and nails done. We can have coffee with our friends outside or inside if we social distance but it has been too hot to go outside. Olive and I did go up to the marina at Ompah to have coffee with my “Earth Angel” Chuck then my daughter Sharon came in and I didn’t even know her with her mask and shorter hair. We had coffee and a great visit. We went home through Ardoch. Nice just to get out for a little while and have some human contact. We social distanced and we wore our masks.

On Wednesday Alice came and brought me devilled eggs and potato salad (yum) and we had a great visit over coffee. I miss the activities I used to go to all the time, but it is great to meet up with a friend and have a coffee now and then. But that virus is always on the back of my mind. I had a wonderful afternoon at Elaine Delisle’s in her gazebo with ice cold lemonade and iced tea and carrot cake. Linda Russell, Valerie Truelove, Harriett Riddell and yours truly spent a wonderful three hours. On Friday, Harriett, Olive and I had coffee and muffins with Alice for an hour and a half. We social distanced but it is so great to see real people face to face.

Mystery: There was a note on my door that the flag ferrie was here but I don’t know who it was – man or woman?

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18. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary

A Guide to Senior Moments: Befuddled, bemused and bewildered – just another senior moment. Have you hit it yet? Those wonderful years called golden years. You know when you have all the time in the world to do anything or you can go anywhere but no one said anything about your brain shrinking or your memory loss. Do you know why women over 50 don’t have babies? They would put them down and forget where they left them! You can live without food, but not without your glasses. When you know all the answers but no one bothers to ask the questions. Some signs of old age- there are three: Loss of memory and I can’t remember the other two. Regular naps prevent old age, especially if you take them while you are driving. The only real advantage to old age is that you can brush your teeth while you are singing! By the time we’ve made it, we’ve had it. Now my memory is beginning to go, the only thing I retain is water. Nowadays, Happy Hour is a nap. I can’t remember a thing and I know my secrets are safe with my friends as they can’t remember a thing either. When you see people, the face is familiar but you can’t remember the name. I only need glasses when I am driving the car and trying to find where I parked it. You know you are old when the candles cost more than the cake. At my age, everything is either dried up or leaks. You are smart enough not to take all the garbage out in one trip. When your husband doesn’t care where you go as long as he doesn’t have to go with you. You no longer can sleep until noon - you probably can’t sleep much past dawn. You may have trouble going upstairs but if you make it you forget what you were going up for. You have a home worth 4 times more than you paid for it. You tend to refer to anyone under 50 as kids. You are smart enough to pace yourself to finish jobs you start. People start telling you that you are not getting older – you’re getting better and you believe them. You feel like the morning after and you didn’t go anywhere. You keep forgetting. You surround yourself with memo pads, calendars and notes and you still forget. You can finally afford all the things you wanted, but now you no longer want them. Many of the things you threw out years ago turn out to be collector’s items. Your calendar is filled up with doctor appointments. You are smart enough to hire someone to cut your grass and shovel your snow. You look forward to getting into something soft and loose after a day of shopping. People complain about your snoring. You start to look forward to a dull evening at home. Your back goes out more often than you do. You go to doctors, orthopedics, chiropractors, and surgeons. You change your mattress, your shoes, your posture, your car seat, you lose weight, you wear a brace, you rest in bed, you hang upside down and it still hurts. Now all you people who are under 50 - look what you have to look forward to. Thank you Brenda Martin for your call and the kind words you put in the paper about Coronavirus. I don’t know how people are getting my stories, but I am getting calls from Windsor, Toronto, Brighton and London. So glad everybody is reading and enjoying my stories but I am almost out of stories. Jean Brown – your recipe Bikini Beach Body Blizzard sounds as good as I look with my new bikini beach body. Haven’t tried it yet but I intend to; and the Killingbeck Killer Concoction I tried and loved it. There must be a story there somewhere. Get well wishes to my son Rick.

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19. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary Day 151

I know this is the day all you people have been waiting for: The Big Reveal – I decided to have a reveal party of my bikini beach body. I invited the Happy Hour Boys and The Wine Sisters to my pool party, BBQ, and shindig. I decorated the house with balloons and toilet paper hanging everywhere. The BBQ was all cleaned and ready to be fired up. The beer was chilling in the washing machine full of ice. The wine was in the cold room and I had the 8-track playing lovely country tunes. Finally, all my guests arrived and were happy to see for the big reveal. After some chatter and some drinks, we went out to the pool so they could see the beautiful body I had worked so hard to get. I had a tank top and shorts on over my yellow polka dot bikini. I wanted them to get the full effect when I took off my top and shorts. You have to remember that when you lose weight, you get some saggy skin. I had some stretch marks, and batwing arms and saggy stomach skin but I don’t think they noticed it all that much. I didn’t really get the reaction I wanted from the Happy Hour Boys. They tried to shield their eyes – they rubbed their eyes and shook their heads and looked to see what they were drinking. They couldn’t believe what was standing in front of them. They were in shock! I’ve got that reaction many times now that I look so stunning. Everywhere I go, I turn heads. I’m a head turner. I have such a glow now. The Wine Sisters want to go on my diet. Jack Daniels told me I was the best looking woman in the room, which made The Wine Sisters mad. The Wine Sisters said, “we don’t know why you invited us here. They like you the best.” I said, “Just have some more wobbly pop and you will look and feel better after”. The Happy Hour Boys wanted to stay overnight, as they came prepared with sleeping bags and backpacks. There was an old set of drums in the corner which belonged to my son when he was a teen. Johnny Walker started pounding on the drums and the Wine Sisters started dancing to the awful drum beat. Mister Clean was there with a dust rag and a dust buster, cleaning everything. Whomp, whomp, whomp, tap, tap, tap – I had to get those drums out of Johnny’s grip. They were so noisy, no one could hear. The Happy Hour guys were trying to pick out which of the Wine Sisters they wanted for their date that evening. Of course, they all wanted the same girl (ME). I thought maybe it was time to feed them and they would be quiet while they were eating. Budweiser started up the BBQ, but they had food in their backpacks - crackers and cheese, sardines and oysters, and salami wrapped up in newspapers soaked in grease. Bud forgot he turned on the BBQ as everybody started eating stuff from the backpacks. I had the desserts already made for them - Jean Brown’s Bikini Beach Body Blizzard and Killingbeck Killer Concoction. They loved it. Eating Jean Brown’s low calorie desserts all month has made me look even more awesome. These guys were partying too hard and it was time for me to cut them off. I checked the bottles in the washing machine and it was empty and nothing left in the cool room. Ben Gay was supposed to be the designated driver but he forgot. Everyone was looking tired after eating. My God – I think I am going to have overnight guests whether I want them or not. So 20 minutes later, they all jumped in the pool with all their clothes on – laughing and yelling and being real noisy. These people are out of control! Ben Gay is sleeping under a tree, and Jose Cuervo is singing at the top of his voice. What will the neighbours think – they will call the police and put me in jail for having too many people in my bubble. Finally I got them all inside and dried off. I will not invite them all over again at the same time. I gave a big sigh of relief as they all started to fall asleep – on the chairs, on the floor and some outside. They’re going to feel like a Mack truck hit them in the morning when they wake up, but we made it through the night. Wasn’t that a party? I waited 82 years to be a head turner - so never give up on your dreams. Try my diet and you too can look like a masterpiece. Amen.

Thanks to the lady who called Thursday evening and Saturday. Her name was Diane Revell from around the Verona area, telling me she loved my stories and couldn’t wait for them.

I had my first meal in a restaurant since March 12th.on Wednesday in Kingston at Swiss Chalet - piles of fries and gravy that I had been craving for a month, delicious chicken and a salad big enough for a family of 5. Needless to say, my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I brought some home. Can’t let all that food destroy this awesome body that I worked so hard get. Thanks, Alice, for the girl’s day out. Other than the heat and the standing in line, it was a great day, great meal and lovely to be out among people, but we were all masked up and sanitized everywhere we went

Until next week – wear your mask.

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20. Pearl’s Coronavirus – Diary - Day 158

Today, you are getting useless information. I was born in 1938. Here are some facts about that year: Some may be Canadian, some might be American. I don’t have a computer to check any of this information. I got a birthday card from my sister-in-law that said 1938 Facts and Trivia. Were you born in 1938? Some could be true, some could be false - I don’t know. I believe it all, so here goes. My God, I am as old as dirt. In 1938, the world population was 2,150,000,000 people. The population of Canada was 11,267,000. Life expectancy in 1938 was 62.9 years. Household income for the year was $1,730 a year and a gallon of gas was 10 cents, minimum wage was 25 cents/hour, a loaf of bread cost 9 cents. Price of an average new car was $763. Typical price of a home was $3,900. Top songs in 1938 were A Tisket A Tasket, Begin the Beguine, Cry Baby Cry, Thanks for the Memories, Two Sleepy People, You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby. Some famous people who were born in 1938 include Charlie Pride, Peter Jennings, Bill Masterson (hockey player), Kenny Rogers, Evil Knievel, Gordon Lightfoot, Connie Francis, and Jon Voight. 1930’s Fads: Betty Boop, zoot suit, Monopoly, drive-in movies, gambling, and mini golf. Food fads: Bird’s Eye frozen vegetables, Bisquick, Skippy peanut butter, Carnation canned milk, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Jello, Lay’s potato chips, Hostess Twinkies (that’s just a few). Also, back in the 30’s - paper dolls, Nancy Drew books, Dr Zeuss, Daisy air rifles, yo-yos, pedal cars, Radio Flyer wagons, electric train sets, Shirley Temple dolls. Jobs in the 1930’s – soda jerk, elevator operator, bell hop, railroad worker, telephone operator, milk men that delivered milk, doctors making house calls, cigarette girls. Advertising – Coca Cola, Spam. Cars of 1938 – Ford pickup, Chevy suburban, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Chevrolet. This is just a little 1930 to 1938 trivia as I am running out of stories to write.

Stay safe and wear your masks.

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21. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary - Day 165

It is a true story today: How the Dump Cake Got Its Name. I always take things literally. My day started off just like any other day. I decided to make a dump cake. I usually make one every second week. To those of you who don’t know what a dump cake is , you just dump everything into one pan and mix it up and you have a dump cake. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? And it is, if everything goes well. But not in Pearl’s house. I always have a story to tell about everything I do. I got the cake pan and all the ingredients I needed together. Things started out normal. I put two cans of cherry pie filling in the bottom of the pan, I sprinkled one dry Jello mix over the cherries, I got a chocolate cake mix and poured the dry cake mix over the cherries and topped that with a large can of raspberry tea mix and added three pats of butter all over the top of the cake. This is a whole lot of stuff in a 9x13 pan. I have to put the pan on a cookie sheet and carry it over to the oven to put it in and it is very heavy, especially with only one hand. By the time I got to the hot oven door, it was getting very heavy. You can probably guess what happened as I tried to put the pan into the oven. My hand was so weak, it started to tip to the left. I just had to let it go and do its own thing. It was a terrible mess! It poured into the hot oven, into the storage drawer, and all over the floor. I did manage to save about half the dump cake. There were cherries dripping off the oven rack, there was powdered cake mix on the glass oven door, raspberry tea drink running underneath my stove and the butter was floating on top of the raspberry tea mix. At this point, my mind was in slow motion watching this happen and not being able to stop it and I can’t even write on paper the words going through my mind, and some might have even slipped out of my mouth. You know what it is like to clean up an egg. Well, this was no comparison, needless to say. But it hasn’t stopped me from making dump cakes again, even if it is in a dirty oven. After I made this dump cake, I swore I would never make another, as they are too heavy for me to put in the oven. But I am not a quitter – so I have done it again and as far as I am concerned, that is how the cake got its name. Just call me frustrated - because that is what I always am.

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22. Pearl Coronavirus Diary Day 172

Blessed be my friends. I love my friends so much, I think they know that but this is just a reminder. I’ll tell you what I think a friend is. The best thing in life is a friend. Friends really do make the world go around. Hearing from a friend out of the blue lifts my spirits. It’s all about remembering, cherishing and sharing special relationships. In 2nd or 3rd grade my best friend and I would chew each other’s gum until recess. We didn’t think about germs back then. It was all about sharing with your best friend. You shared the same glass, double dipped, or ate from the same apple – just sharing. A true friend knows your real weight and age. A friendship is like an endless supply of chocolate. Friends know how to be happy for you even when they are sad themselves. Friends are the ones you have the most memories with and the ones you couldn’t imagine making those memories without. A friend is someone you can speak to today or tomorrow and pick up right where you left off the last time you saw them. A true friend will put a smile on her face even on her darkest days. The best thing about friendship is that it is blind. It doesn’t matter if you are black, white, American, Canadian, French, Mexican, etc. We are all the same. Life without friends is like death without a witness. Friends are like wine – best when they are aged. A friend is that one door that is always open no matter where you are, not matter how far away or how close. Anyplace and anytime is the best pace I can be when I am with my friend. You don’t have to be perfect to make a difference. I’m blessed to have so many friends in my life. Even tho’ we can’t do all the things we did before Coronavirus hit us, we have phones to talk to each other, somehow the calls seems to be a lot longer now. Talking from 6 feet or a safe distance away, we can now have a visit or a coffee together but I am still scared of the virus working in the background. The best thing you can have or be is a friend. Thank you all for being my friend. The world would not be the same without you all in it and you all know who you are.

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23. Pearl's Coronavirus Diary: Day 179

My Date with Johnny Walker - As you all now know, Johnny and I are going steady. I am so excited! He loves my new body and says it makes me look years younger. Our first date was awesome! I looked precious in my poodle skirt, saddle shoes and bobby socks, and my shorty coat from when I was a teenager, along with my fishing lure earrings. He had his hair in a duck tail with long sideburns, even though he had lost the hair on the top of his head which was fine by me. He was wearing a white t-shirt with his cigarettes rolled up in the left sleeve. He doesn’t smoke – it’s just to look cool. He had bell bottom pants and pointed toe shoes. He was so handsome. His car was very noisy and it had no muffler, and not much of anything else. The backseat was piled high with old food containers, cups, oil cans, old lamps and even a barrel and a cooler, etc. (Not much room for fooling around in the backseat). We wanted to go somewhere to eat and we saw a big BBQ outside at the park and decided that would be a great place to eat. There were lots of people there and lots of food. We helped ourselves to everything - hot dogs, hamburgers, salads, and piles of dessert. After we ate, we tried to talk to the people there but they were very rude to us. As we were walking and talking, Johnny laughed and his teeth fell out and broke. He just went to the car and got his glue gun and fixed them right there. We decided to leave the BBQ as people didn’t seem to like us and were not very friendly. Johnny said, “Where would you like to go, Honeybun?” That’s so sweet - it is his new name for me. I said, “Let’s go to a yard sale.” as we had passed many on our travels. We found one and by the time Johnny picked his way through the yard sale, there was hardly a spot in the car for me to sit. “I will always make room for you, Honeybun” (I love it!) He threw a dozen articles from the front seat into the back. Now you couldn’t even see out the back window. The cool air was making my arthritis flair up. He said, “Don’t worry about that, Honeybun. I have something for that.” and he jumped in the back seat and came up with a can of motor oil. He opened it up and rubbed it all over my shoulders and arm – he is so thoughtful. I felt so much better after but I didn’t smell so good. He said, “Would you liked to go fishing now?” and I said yes, even though I hate fishing. We found a spot to fish. He took off his bell bottom pants to put on a pair of shorts, but when he undid his belt, the buckle fell off and broke his toe. “We can’t go fishing now because we will have to go to the hospital and get my toe checked out”, he said. At the hospital, they told him they couldn’t do anything for a broken toe - just wear a tight shoe and put up with it. When we left the hospital, we saw a tattoo shop so we stopped to get matching tattoos on our forehead that said “Going Steady”. Our day was filled with such lovely surprises. We went by a cemetery and he stopped the car and got out and he got me the loveliest bouquet of flowers. All of a sudden, people started chasing us and yelling things at us. I don’t know why. We did nothing wrong. We decided to call it a day because there were just too many people out that day. But we have another date planned. He told me he would take me to his house where he lives. He said he has couches in his yard, and chairs and tables and he said if he cuts his grass, we might even find a car or two. I can’t wait for our second date.

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24. Pearl's Coronavirus Diary: Day 179

The Triple Date:

After Olive and Harriett found out that Johnny and I were going steady, they were upset that they didn’t have a boyfriend. They said I was spending too much time with him and they never saw me anymore. So I said I would try to get them a date with my Happy Hour Boys. I know Harriett likes men in uniform, so I got her a date with Mr. Clean (also known as Squeaky Clean) as he is always in his spic’n’span whites. I asked Olive who she would like to date and she said she didn’t care, as long as he was still breathing. We picked a day, but we all had to go in separate cars as Johnny’s only held me and Mr. Clean didn’t want anyone but Harriett in his ultra-clean car. I had gotten Ben Gay for Olive as he seemed to like her. We planned to take a picnic lunch and all go to Johnny’s house to eat and get to know each other better - especially Olive and Harriett and their dates. It was fall and the trees were in gorgeous colours, no bugs, the air was a little crisp. It had rained the night before so there were puddles lying around. It was around 11:30 when we got away and we said we would drive slowly so we could see all the sights along the way. We made a convoy with Johnny in the lead, then Olive and Ben and Harriett and Squeaky. We had been driving about an hour and Harriett and Mr. Clean were nowhere in sight. Johnny and I turned around to see what had happened in case they had car trouble or something. But no, Mr. Clean was stopping all the time to clean up the mud on his spotless car because of the puddles. We told him no more of that or we wouldn’t have time for a picnic so keep up with us. Johnny and I were making small talk. I asked him how far he went in school. He said 5th grade was his senior year. It started getting colder as we had spent over an hour waiting for Harriett and Squeaky. Johnny said we were not far from his place, and he would go put on a bonfire to keep me warm. So another hour later, we reached Johnny’s place. Johnny got out of the car and started chopping up his furniture in the yard for the bonfire. The chairs only had 2 or 3 legs so we couldn’t sit on them. We tried to sit on the couch but mice flew up out of everywhere. Harriett and Olive were screaming. Olive needed to go to the bathroom but we couldn’t find one. Johnny said there was one out there somewhere but the grass was so long we couldn’t find it. Finally, Olive took a trip to the bushes. We had brought our own lawn chairs so we had somewhere to sit. Johnny got a nice big bonfire going. Mr. Clean drove way over on the other side from where we were, as he didn’t want to get any smoke or soot on his car or on himself. He laid down a lovely white tablecloth on the long grass. We had all made salads, chicken and other finger foods, hot and cold tea, which we were going to eat soon. We saw a small barrel that looked like it had grapes in it. Harriett, Olive and I took off our shoes and jumped into the barrel to squash the grapes but it wasn’t grapes – it was rotten tomatoes. We played in it for awhile and we were red from our toes to our knees. Along came Mr. Clean with his spray and sprayed our feet and legs. Harriett said, “That was so much fun!” and Olive said, “I will have to get a new cane as this one is ruined. It is all covered in tomatoes.” but Mr. Clean fixed that. Olive’s legs and feet were swollen from being on her feet almost all day. Ben Gay said to hold on as he had some special ointment to rub on her leg and foot. Olive thought he was spending too much time rubbing her leg, so she took her cane and put it around his neck and said, “Your time on my legs and feet is over now – leave”, and he did. We saw an old tire hanging from a tree and decided to go for a swing, but we just got dirty from the tire. Thank God, Mr. Clean didn’t see it. We decided to finally have our lovely picnic and everyone enjoyed it. Then Johnny said, “I will get some marshmallows and we will roast them over the fire”. He gave us all table legs with a nail on the end to hold our marshmallows (he is so creative). Ben Gay had been looking for an outhouse for Olive for an hour but he was not having much luck. The marshmallows were lovely but then Mr. Clean noticed the dirt on our clothes from the tire swing and he got his cleaner and started cleaning us up. Harriett had had enough! She took some ashes and iced tea and mixed them all up, and poured them over Squeaky Clean’s head and said, “Now clean that; I’m done. Ben, can I go home with you and Olive?” Olive was still mad at Ben for spending all that time putting ointment on her feet. She said, “You can come home with us but I am sitting in the back seat”. Here we had spent the day with our friends, trying to bond and nothing good is happening. The four of them left, not speaking to anyone. After they left, Johnny cut the grass around his special car – a 1976 Monte Carlo. It wasn’t piled full of stuff – it was just dented and dirty. He took me to Blueberry Hill in his special car. He gave me a promise ring and he said, “No more double or triple dates for us, Honeybun - just you and me.” I was in heaven.

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25. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary - Day 200

A Week With Pearl (True Story): I thought you might be interested in how I spend my days at home. This week, September 20th, Alice took me to get my car stickers and health card renewed as they were both ready to expire. We left early so we could be first in line when it opened. We were there at a quarter to 9 and there were about 20 people already waiting on the steps, so we decided to do some shopping first and come back later. We went to Giant Tiger. Alice had to go to a garage for Ron and then we had breakfast at Peter’s. By the time we got back to get my licence sticker around 10:30 there was no line-up and two people inside. By the time I got out, there were another 20-12 people lined up again. We then went to Independent to get our groceries. I guess we spent a little over a half-hour in there and got back to the car ready to leave. A man came running over to us saying, “You have a ticket – you have a ticket.” We couldn’t see the ticket but Alice got out of the car and found it. It was a ticket for $300 for not having a handicap sticker in the window of the car. We had the sticker; we had just forgotten to put it in the window (it was on the console). Some people are so picky! Alice headed straight to the Town Hall and she somehow managed to get it down to $16.75. Quite a savings! It could have been a very expensive day.

A couple of days later, my grandson, Rob, who is an electrician, came to check some outlets and my kitchen light. Before he got away, Harriett and Trish drove in. I introduced him to the ladies and he left to do some work for Cheryl and Olive Allan. Trisha had come all the way from Kitchener to give me a card from all the fans I have in Kitchener. Hello to all you lovely ladies in Kitchener. So glad you are my fans. Trisha took our picture to show to the ladies so they could see this old face. Thanks, Trisha. She brought me scratch tickets, which I won $20 on, plus tarts and a lovely card and a great visit. That same day, as Trisha and Harriet were leaving, there were dogs gone wild. I think from all the commotion in my yard, the dogs wanted to come and have a visit and see the weird lady who lived over there. They are two beautiful little dogs, they are brothers – I call them Syd and Sam but have no idea what their names are. I have never seen them cross the road before. When I opened the door, it came right into my home. Lise, the owner, got the black dog and Terry, my other neighbour, got the white dog when I opened the door. Now I have two more fans – Syd and Sam. That’s the day I found out that Terry is the flag fairy. I think it was the sound of Harriett and Trish leaving that made the dogs want to come over. No harm was done to the doggies.

Sunday, Pam came for an overnight visit and brought a lovely Elvis cuckoo clock. Elvis is the cuckoo – every time the clock strikes the hour, he comes out to sing. It doesn’t tick, and I can use it manually and I love it. She also brought me a beautiful queen size bed cover and the whole top is Elvis’ head and face. Now I have Elvis exactly where I want him (in my house). Kent is also in the room with him and I am not sure how they are going to get along. Pam and I had a great 24 hours. Johnnie Walker showed up a few times during the day, but then he left. He rang the doorbell about midnight with a big smile on his face and a big cowboy hat on his head – now he is my Midnight Cowboy. Pam left around 11am on Monday. It was a beautiful, sunny day. Once a year, I take Kent out for a bird hunt. He has been passed away for 15 years but he is still with me and I take him out once a year. I had a hard time getting him in my car as it is a Ford and he hated Fords but I got him in and got the seat belt wrapped around him and we had great time bird hunting. We didn’t see any partridge but had a nice drive around the block. Now you think I am weirder than I really am. But this is Pearl just being Pearl.

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26. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary Day 207

Pearl’s Surprise Birthday Party: Sunday October 4th was my birthday. Johnnie wanted to know what I wanted for my birthday and I said “Let’s just have a quiet day – just you and me Babe”. He was good with that. We thought we would go for a drive and see the beautiful colorful trees, drive all the back roads and maybe go somewhere for lunch. What I didn’t know was that Johnnie had other ideas. He had planned a surprise birthday party for me at the Wine Sisters’ home with my friends Jack Daniels, Jose Cuervo, Bud Weiser, Ben Gay, Mr Clean, Olive and Harriett. For Johnnie to get me to the Wine Sisters’ house he said he had left his sunglasses there. What was he doing there without me?

The party was in full gear when we got there - dancing and singing and music – the wonderful old tunes on the 8-track. A lovely luncheon was set up on the dining room table. The house was decorated with beautiful colored leaves, branches and maple leaves scattered around and toilet paper strung from the branches, the lights and the fans. The bathtub was filled with ice cold beer. We had a punch bowl filled with punch and a signature drink called “Going Steady”. It was a mixture of rye, rum, lime juice and ice cubes. It made you squint your eyes and smack your lips when you drank it. My Johnnie loves to scour dumps - that’s where he finds his treasures. He had gone to the dump the week before the party and found a lovely 9x15 cake pan which he gave to the Wine Sisters to make by birthday cake in. They washed it good and made my Pearl’s Party Pleasing Happy Birthday Dump Cake. This gives a real meaning to dump cake.

The Wine Sisters had made lovely sandwiches, cheese, pickles, veggies and dip and the special birthday cake. Johnnie gave me a lovely old toilet he found in the dump filled with flowers growing out of it. He also gave me 2 quarts of motor oil for my arthritis and a couple of floor mats that didn’t look too bad after they were washed. (I love that man!). We were dancing and having a few drinks and just having a wonderful time. Although it didn’t work out too good the last time we were all together; it did seem a little better this time. Olive was hooked up with Jack Daniels. Harriett was with Jose Cuervo. Sometimes birthdays can do ‘wonders’ for you - I wonder if I have had too much wobbly pop? I wonder where I am? I wonder where my keys are? Sometimes I wonder who I am. It was a great afternoon until Jack Daniels started cuddling up with one of the Wine Sisters. Out came Olive’s cane which she used to poke the Wine Sister.

“Get away from my man, you hussy” she said and Harriett was having problems with Jose. Ben told her that Jose that winked at me and Harriett threw an ashtray and a lamp at Jose. Jose is a hard-drinking man and a womanizer and I am terrified of Harriett as she has a bad temper and I won’t go near her man. She is like a volcano that could explode at any minute. It was Ben Gay that said Jose winked at me but he was lying through his tooth. Johnnie said Ben should be tarred and feathered and run out of town. It was getting wilder and wilder. Jose wanted to drink a shot out of Harriett’s navel and Jack wanted Olive to have some tequila shooters. Dishes started flying from Harriet and Olive started hitting everyone with her cane. \Johnnie and I decided to slip away from the party as it was getting too wild. We had had our lunch, opened my gifts and had some drinks. That terrible chaos was going on inside the party. I think they all had too much wobbly pop. We went to Blueberry Hill and sat by the water, saw the beautiful sunset and then we went home.

We drove past the Wine Sisters’ house on our way home. They were in the yard – all in handcuffs with police cars everywhere. don’t think we should have any more parties. They are not ending up well. I am going back to just Johnny and me. Here’s to another year trying to keep it classy with the Happy Hour Boys and Wine Sisters. I haven’t done so well so far.

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27. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary - Day 214

This is just bits and pieces that I did not get into my other stories due to lack of space. About a month ago, I went with Alice to Sharbot Lake to pick up my drugs and some money at the bank. I never pay enough attention to the car I am in - I just know the car is red and the woman’s name is Alice. I went to the bank and she went to the grocery store. When I came out ,I saw 2 red cars that looked exactly like Alice’s but I didn’t know which one was her's so I tried them both. The door on the first car was locked, so I tried the door on the other car and it was open, so just like Goldilocks, I got in and sat down. I sat there for a few minutes and looked at the first car I had tried to get into and two men were sitting in it, looking over at me like I didn’t belong there. I looked around the inside of the car and it didn’t have a big backup screen like Alice’s car does, and there was other stuff in the car that had not been in Alice’s car. I got out of the stranger’s car as he was coming over to get into it (I wonder what they were talking about all the while they saw me sitting in it). My face was red and I mumbled something to the man about being old and senile and not knowing what I am doing. So to the two gentlemen: I am so sorry I got into your car by mistake - my sincere apologies. I finally found Alice’s car that had been blocked by a big truck, parked sideways in the parking lot. I bet you men have wondered for weeks about who that woman was and what she was doing in your car. Now you know. Do not let me out alone.

Also, about a month ago, Olive and I went to our favourite coffee shop, Chuck’s diner at the Palmerston Marina. The only place you can go in and sit down and have a coffee and a chat. After coffee, we went to see Chuck’s sister, Penny, who used to live behind me. Penny made me a very interesting bright orange Coronavirus sweater and matching face mask. I will reveal the sweater to you all soon – just waiting to get the arm cut off it. It is beautiful - I love it. Thank you, Penny.

Twenty things you do not know about my sweetheart, Johnnie Walker: 1. He needs a police scanner to keep up with his relatives. 2. He is famous for his bonfires. 3. People hear his car coming long before they see it. 4. Every pair of shorts he owns used to be a pair of pants. 5. He spends more time under his car than in it. 6. He always comes home from the garbage dump with more than he went with. 7. He refers to his ashtray as his savings account. 8. There is never any space in his car for a passenger (only me). 9. Sometimes he is driving the car being described by the police – it is not hard to describe. 10. When he cuts his grass, you never know what you will find – it could be barrels, lawn chairs, cars, etc. etc. 11. The promise ring that Johnnie gave me turned green after a week – I love green. 12. He was once hospitalized after eating at a hot chili contest. 13. The only blood test he has ever had was at a police station. 14. The emergency room nurse knows everyone in his family. 15. He has a lovely shot glass collection. 16. The sexiest gown he ever gave me was from the hospital. 17. Johnnie never leaves the seat up in his bathroom as he doesn’t have one. 18. Johnnie won first prize for the most chickens in a coop. 19. He sometimes takes the road less travelled and gets lost. 20. His senior year was 5th grade.

I was on CBC radio on October 13th. Thank you to all the people who phoned and said they heard the program and that they love my stories. I got 16 calls from Tuesday to Thursday. I think I’ve made it! Autographs, anyone?
[If you missed it, you can hear it at https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1805907011737. Pearl's interview starts around minute 14:25 and runs to 19:12]

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28. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary - Day 221

This warning is issued to all my friends, relatives, and acquaintances, readers of Frontenac News and beyond:

Pearl will soon be in your midst. Pearl has been in lockdown so long, she is insane, senile and ready to take on the world. Pearl wants to take her place again with human beings, with renewed vigour, in pursuit of life, adventure and happiness. Before making your joyous preparations to welcoming me back into your society, you must make allowances for the isolated environment from which I have stepped out of these last few months. In other words, I might be slightly unstable, suffering from lack of human interaction and face-to-face contact and I should be handled with extreme care and curiosity. Show no alarm if I walk out in my nightgown and slippers, carrying my Meals on Wheels. Please don’t be shocked if you see me dazed and confused out on the highway saying, “Which way to the casino?” or driving down the middle of the road with my mask and rubber gloves on and my wipes and sanitizer, singing “I’m Over the Coronavirus Blues”. If you see me, treat me with kindness and respect. I know I will be able to be rehabilitated with a jug of Johnnie Walker.

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29. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary - Day 234

Twenty things you do not know about my sweetheart, Johnnie Walker:

  1. He needs a police scanner to keep up with his relatives.
  2. He is famous for his bonfires.
  3. People hear his car coming long before they see it.
  4. Every pair of shorts he owns used to be a pair of pants.
  5. He spends more time under his car than in it.
  6. He always comes home from the garbage dump with more than he went with.
  7. He refers to his ashtray as his savings account.
  8. There is never any space in his car for a passenger (only me).
  9. Sometimes he is driving the car being described by the police – it is not hard to describe.
  10. When he cuts his grass, you never know what you will find – it could be barrels, lawn chairs, cars, etc. etc.
  11. The promise ring that Johnnie gave me turned green after a week – I love green.
  12. He was once hospitalized after eating at a hot chili contest.
  13. The only blood test he has ever had was at a police station.
  14. The emergency room nurse knows everyone in his family.
  15. He has a lovely shot glass collection.
  16. The sexiest gown he ever gave me was from the hospital.
  17. Johnnie never leaves the seat up in his bathroom as he doesn’t have one.
  18. Johnnie won first prize for the most chickens in a coop.
  19. He sometimes takes the road less travelled and gets lost.
  20. His senior year was 5th grade.

Love my hillbilly high-tech man Johnnie.

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30. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary - Day 241

Being as it has been such a sunny, warm, wonderful week, I think you should have some laughter to top it off and to give that funny bone a workout.

Olive and Harriett have been friends for years. They are now in their 80’s and 90’s and they still get together to play cards a couple of times a week. One afternoon, they were playing Rummy and Olive said to Harriett, “Please don’t be mad at me, but for the life of me I can’t remember your name. Please tell me what it is.” Harriett glared at her. She continued to glare and stare at her for at least 3 minutes. Finally, she said, “How soon do you have to know?”.

With his tears in his eyes, a little boy told his teacher that only one pair of boots were left and they weren’t his. The teacher searched and searched but could not find any more boots. “Are you sure these boots aren’t yours?” she asked. “I’m sure” said the little boy, “Mine had snow on them”.

A toddler was throwing a tea party for her daddy. She brought him cup after cup of “tea”, which of course was just water. After Dad had had several cups of “tea”, Mom came home and Dad said, “Watch our little princess bring me cups of tea”. Mom watched Dad drink it and then said, “You know the only place she can reach the water is in the toilet”.

After staring at her granddad’s wrinkly old face, a little girl asked him, “Did God make you?” “Yes”, said Grandpa, “a long time ago”. “Did he make me?” she asked. “Yes, but that was more recently”. The little girl thought and then said, “God’s doing a lot better job these days, isn’t he?”.

A husband and wife [Ron and Alice] were sitting at home, when the husband suddenly said, “Darling, just so you know, “I never want to be kept alive in a vegetative state, having to depend on machines and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens to me, just pull the plug.” So the wife got up and pulled the plug out of the TV and threw out all his beers.

“Doctor, I can’t stop my hands from shaking”. Doctor: “Do you drink a lot of beer?” “Not really, I spill most of it”.

“Doctor, Doctor, I think I’m a dog. Doctor: “Why don’t you come over here and sit on the couch so we can talk about it?” “I’m not allowed on the sofa.”

A teenage girl had been chatting on the phone for an hour before she hung up. The father was impressed. He said that was a quick chat, you are usually on the phone for over 2 hours. His daughter smiled and said, “Oh, it was the wrong number”.

A wife was keeping a close watch on her new neighbours. “They seem perfectly devoted to each other” she told her husband. “He kisses her every time he goes out and he even blows kisses to her from the window. Why don’t you do that?” Husband : “I hardly know the woman”.

Three buddies died in a car crash and they all go to heaven. They are all asked, “When in your casket, and friends and family are mourning over you, what would you have liked to hear them say?”. The first man said, “I would like to hear them say I was a great doctor and a great family man.” The second man replied, “I would like to hear them say I was a wonderful father and a wonderful school teacher.” The last man said, “I would like to hear them say, “Look! he’s moving.””

Now don’t you feel better? Stay safe and God bless you.

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31. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary

Johnnie and Pearl’s Camping Weekend: Johnnie asked me what would I like to do with our one-week holiday which we are starting soon. I said, “Let’s go camping” . Johnnie said that was an excellent idea, as he loves camping as much as I do. We started packing our stuff that evening as we planned to leave early the next morning. We have a favourite spot where we love to camp – it’s called Salmon Point. It is grassy with large trees on one side where we would put up our tent and the other side was flat rock and water. We got out our camping gear, fishing rods, lawn chairs, flash lights, etc., and our tent, which Johnnie said leaked but only when it rained. We also brought some comic books and some food. We packed the car the night before so we could leave early the next morning. We left at daybreak, as it took over two hours to get where we were going. I made Johnnie my Pearl’s Deluxe Grilled Cheese for breakfast. It is a huge sandwich and stays with you for hours. I will share the recipe with you someday. It was simply delicious and you only need an iron fry pan and one knife. We are now watered and fed and good until supper time, when we will be at the campgrounds. We got to the campground around 11, set up our camp, and since we also brought bicycles with us, decided to take a tour around the campground and beyond. We planned on fishing for our meat, catching fish and frogs and Johnnie had a whole chicken, so we cut it up for our first couple of nights. We rode our bikes for about an hour and a half, away from the campground, and there was this beautiful community garden that had carrots, potatoes, yellow beans, corn, squash and they even left a shovel for us to use. We could take as much as we wanted. We dug some carrots and potatoes and picked some tomatoes for that night’s supper. I said to Johnnie, “The people in the country sure are kind people”. We went home with the food from the garden for our supper and we were so happy. Once back at the campground, we scoured the beach looking for treasures that people had left behind. Johnnie loved it – it was just like going to the dump. He found a couple of lawn chairs that were only a little bit bent and broken, but Johnnie said, “I can fix them”. He found an old tarp and some empty water bottles, so we used the bottles to put out our camp fire. When it was dark, there were fire flies everywhere. We put them in jars and had them to light up our tent so we could read our comic books. The next morning, Johnnie cooked breakfast. There was a can of Pam and a can of insect repellant together on the stand. You got it right – Johnnie sprayed the fry pan with the insect repellant instead of Pam. The food tasted awful, but it kept the bugs away all day. We decided to go for a swim after breakfast. There were two tire tubes there that someone had left behind. So we put them around us and went into the water. We were having a great time but we floated out too far. When we found out we couldn’t touch bottom, we panicked. There was a man walking by with his dog on a long leash, so we told him we were going to drown and he threw the dog leash out to us and pulled us in. No more swimming for us. We did a lot of bike riding in the week we were camping. Every day, we went a little bit further. One day we found a stand and it had all packaged vegetables on it. Beans, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, etc. There was also a dish with money in it, in case we needed money for bread or milk or coffee or whatever. The people here are sooo generous. We only took what we needed for milk and bread. We thought we would stop at the community garden on the way back for some tomatoes and cabbage but somebody shot buckshot at us. What was all that about? We had been using the garden all week. Maybe they thought we had enough. We stopped at a big yard sale that had some lovely flowers on the way home. Johnnie got me flowers for our table. No one was there to chase us away. That was our last night there. We had a big tractor tire that we had intended to burn during the week but had not got around to it. So that night, when it got dark, we started the fire. The tractor tire should have been down by the water – not near our tent, but Johnnie said he was too tired from all the bike riding that day, so he left it where it was and that was a terrible mistake. The fire got out of control and the only thing we had to put out the fire was the water bottles. It burned our tent, our bikes, our chairs, the trees and most of the campground. Boy, was that camp owner mad at us! We have been banned for life, but I still love my hi-tech redneck. Thank goodness the dump will be open next so we can get more supplies. Charges may be pending.

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32. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary - Day 262

Johnnie’s Hunting Season That He Wishes He Could Forget or Johnnie’s Very Loooonnnng Hunting Day:


1am: Alarm clock goes off; 2am - His hunting buddies Jack, Jose, and Squeaky arrive and pull sleeping Johnnie out of bed 2:30 - They throw everything but the kitchen sink into the camper. 3:15 Drive back home to pick up Johnnie’s gun. 4 - Leave for the deep woods - 4:30 - drive extra fast to get to the bush before daylight – 5 - Set up camp. (Forgot the stupid tent) 5:30 - Head into the bush 6:05 - See four deer 6:06 -Take aim and squeeze trigger 6:07 - CLICK 6:08 - Load gun while watching deer disappear over the hill.8 - Head back to camp 9 - Still looking for cam 10 Realize they don’t know where the camp is 11 Fire gun for help NOON Eat wild berries 12:15pm - Run out of bullets – three deer running around in the area 12:20 Strange feeling in stomach 12:30 Realize the berries were poisonous 12:45 RESCUED 12 Rushed to hospital to have stomach pumped 3 - Arrive back at camp 3:30 Leave camp to kill deer (I hope) 4 - Go back to camp to get bullet 5 - Load gun and leave camp again 6 - Empty gun at squirrels that bugging you 6:15 - Arrive back at camp to see deer grazing in camp area 6:16 Aim gun

6:17 Fire gun 6 - One dead pickup truck 6:30 Hunting partner Jack arrives back at camp, dragging a deer 6:31 - Suppress strong desire to shoot partner 6:45 Johnnie falls in the beaver pond 6:50 - Squeaky builds a fire to dry out Johnnie and makes a pot of tea from the beaver pond water to warm up Johnnie. Johnnie is soaking wet and no one will sit near him because he stinks so bad 6:55They all drink the beaver teas because they are cold 7 - Johnnie changes his clothes and throws his wet ones in the fire 7:15 -Johnnie is dry and warmed. He takes pickup truck and leaves his partner Jack and his deer in the bush 7:30 Pickup truck boils over. It’s shot in the block. 7:45 Johnnie starts walking 8 - Stumbles and falls in the mud 8:15 - Meets bear. 8:16 - Takes aim 8:17 - Fires gun. Loads up one barrel that is plugged with mud 8:19. Loads up pants 8:21 Climbs tree, takes aim but the bear departs. 8:25 - Johnnie wraps his guns around the tree MIDNIGHT: Finally home at last. SUNDAY Johnnie watches the football game on TV, slowly tearing up his hunting licence into little pieces. Places them in envelope and mails it to the game warden with very clear instructions on where to put it.


I want to say (using one of Jean Brown’s words) - it has been a hoot writing my Coronavirus diaries for all of you. A big thank you and Merry Christmas to all of my fans from Kitchener (love you guys) to England (yes I have fans in England) and all the places in between. Let’s kick 2020 in the a** and get rid of it. Hope 2021 is much better. To anyone who got a laugh, or a smile or a chuckle from my stories, that was my intent to brighten your day. Thank you for the phone calls, cards and letters. I never knew these stories were in my head. I didn’t think there was anything up there. I do think my brain is drained of stories but who knows maybe some will pop up soon. If they do, I will be sure to write them down. I know I have 2 or 3 for the New Year. Merry Christmas everyone – to Jeff and his staff for giving me a space to put my stories and to my friends, relatives and acquaintances - all the best in 2020 and may all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions. Cheers!

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33. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary: 2021 

Pearl’s Unforgettable Christmas: The days leading up to Christmas were very busy for Johnnie and I. All the parties, all the decorating, getting the tree, putting it up, decorating it, holiday baking, writing out Christmas cards, wrapping presents. It was all done by Christmas Eve. Johnnie now has two family pets – a cat named Savage and a dog named Killer. They are the sweetest, most gentle pets you have ever seen. Everyone is scared of them because of their names but they are really harmless. Of course, the cat has climbed the tree and attacked it many times. Decorations are almost all off the tree that we put up, but most of them were already cracked and broken when we put them up, anyway. Killer the dog chews everything in sight – newspapers, shoes, purses, furniture... but sometimes when he chews the furniture, it makes it look better – more vintage! All the pets want in return is grooming, kennel stays, feeding and lots and lots of love. Killer loves socks and shoes to chew. Killer is the master of the house – he isn’t a very good watchdog. He would sleep right through a home invasion, but we love them devils. Enough about the pets. For some reason, when people start talking about their pets they get carried away.
A couple of days before Christmas, Johnnie brought in a square bale of hay for us to sit on, seeing as all his chair legs are wobbly and broken. So on the night of Christmas Eve, we were having some wine and Johnnie said, “Let’s open one gift each for Christmas Eve”. That sounded like fun to me and I gave Johnnie his present to open first. I got him a new pair of pants that he doesn’t have to cut off in summer for shorts. These are special pants made in they can’t be cut cloth. Johnnie tells me, “You are the perfect girlfriend.” I said, “I know I am not perfect but I am so close to it, it scares me”. He said, “Honeybun, your present is hidden and you have to find it. It is in something on the floor”. Well, I went through everything on the floor - the garbage cans, the flower pots, the rugs, the piles of papers, the empty beer cases. I started digging at that bale of hay like a dog digging at a ground hog hole and I found nothing in there but a needle - the needle in a haystack. There was only one thing left to go through and that was the kitty litter box. He wouldn’t put anything in there for me to go digging at, would he? Oh yes he would. Guess what I found in the litter box - it was a ring and when I turned around to show it to Johnnie, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. My heart was pumping so fast you could see it through my shirt. I’ve never been so excited in my life. I am going to live with Johnnie for the rest of my life. Of course, I said “yes”. The ring was a little bent but it was adjustable to fit my finger. Two diamonds on the side had fallen out and it will probably turn my finger green, but to me it was just beautiful! He probably got it at a city dump. I now have to plan a wedding. Best Christmas ever!

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34. The New Year’s Eve Party

(This is for Shirley in Windsor – she wanted me to write this story. I tried calling Shirley 3 or 4 times but all I got was Mothers Against Drunk Driving each time).

Johnnie and I decided to have a New Year’s Eve Party to let everyone know we were engaged. Even tho’ we said we wouldn’t have any more parties, we invited the Happy Hour Boys and the Wine Sisters (Olive and Harriett). Johnnie made his specialty to eat at midnight, called Misqeeter Swamp Stew. He had a bushel of mosquitoes in his freezer that he had caught out of the radiators out of all the old trucks and cars in his yard (10 of them). Before he froze them, he gently and carefully pulled the wings off, trying not to take any meat with it. He also had a few black flies and dragon flies in with them. Count them as a bonus as they had more meat. Black flies and mosquitoes where Johnnie lives are as big as canaries. It is better to get them out of the rad of the cars and freeze them. If you get fresh ones, you get swollen eyes and swollen lips and lumps all over your body as you have to sit in the car with the windows down for 2 or 3 hours. They are then put in a big pot, along with onions, potatoes, carrots and cabbage. Boil until tender and then thickened with a sauce. You can serve this delectable dish at special moments in your life, like weddings or New Year’s Eve. It is very delicious and don’t forget to add salt and pepper and a few muskol tea leaves for flavor. Everyone will want Johnnie’s recipe. It was left on the back of the stove to simmer until after we sang Auld Lang’s Syne. We invited the Hillbilly Ruffled Grouse Band to play music for the evening. We had a tableful of finger food, dragon fly garlic wings, bourbon wieners, potted cheese, roasted squirrel, BBQ bear loin, and some moose jerky. A big bowl of moonshine champagne was also sitting on the table. The party started around 8 o’clock, with beautiful country music and all their home made instruments – sounds just like Roger Hermer’s band. Everyone is mingling, dancing, visiting. Singing, drinking, it was such a joyous occasion and everyone was having the time of their lives. The time was just flying by. It is now 20 minutes to 12 so I thought I would get everyone rounded up to sing Ault Lang Syne at midnight. I found everyone but I couldn’t find Harriett. She had disappeared. She had been into the punch bowl quite heavily during the evening and was having such a good time but now I can’t find her and no one else had seen her in awhile either, and I went to find Johnnie to get him to go outside and see if she was outside and he’s gone too. "Oh no, oh no no" my heart said. So I got my flashlight and went outside. I’m on a mission. I shined the light in every car in the yard and then I see Johnnie’s car. All the junk that was in the backseat of the car is now out on the ground. I opened the back door and there is Johnnie, passed out and sleeping in the backseat. In the front passenger seat, there is Harriett passed out. "Oh Dear Lord, please don’t let anything have happened." I shook Johnnie awake which took about 10 minutes. "Johnnie, what are you doing in this car with Harriett?” He said, “Harriet isn’t in this car”. And I said “Oh yes she is, she is in the front seat”. I shook Harriett awake and she said “Where am I? I got tired and came out to get some air and sit for awhile to clear my head”. “Are you telling me the truth, you two? Now, you both have to get a lie detector test. I will not marry a cheating man”. After that, the party came to a screeching halt - no Misqeeter stew and no Auld Lang Syne. Harriett said she had fallen asleep and did not even know Johnnie was in the car and Johnnie said he threw everything out of the back seat so he could lie down and go to sleep as it was too noisy in the house. Two weeks later, they both took lie detector tests and it showed they were both telling the truth. I am so happy that we were all friends again, but you can bet I will be keeping a close eye on this pair.

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35. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary

Girls Day Out: We girls had nothing to do on a rainy afternoon, so we said, “Why don’t we go down and check out the bars to see where we girl Pearl’s Doe (not stag) Night Out”. I invited all the Wine Sisters, Irish Bailey, Olive and Harriett to come along so I would have their input. We were just going to go from bar to bar to see which one we liked the best. Just a day of fun! The first bar we hit was All We Can See Bar. We were having a couple of drinks and didn’t realize it was a seafood bar – not much going on there, so we scratched it off our list. The second bar we hit was the Sip and Strip Bar. We ordered drinks and watched the show. We wanted male strippers but not raunchy ones. We told Johnnie and the boys that we weren’t having strippers but girls will be girls! It wasn’t too bad so we kept it on our list. We then went to our third bar – The Stare and Bare Bar. We sat down and ordered our drinks. The entertainment didn’t start for another half hour. Olive and Bailey had disappeared. We thought they had gone to the washrooms or were talking to someone they knew. Then the show started. When they opened the curtains there was Olive and Bailey up on the stage doing a belly dance. Bailey and Olive had been taking belly dancing lessons and never told us. Olive had her cane and was throwing it up in the air and when it came down she caught it in one hand and then the other hand, twirled it around and around, threw it up again and caught it around her neck, rolled it from side to side down her neck. I couldn’t believe my eyes and neither could the other girls. Her and Bailey were bumping and grinding and were doing the exact same dance. They were doing moves I have never seen before. I had never seen Olive like this. She could bump and grind and rotate with the best of them. They loved being on stage. She had about 20 necklaces and was throwing them all out to the audience. She was throwing kisses to all the men. Who is this woman? I don’t even know her! Quiet, quiet Olive – what was in her cereal this morning? Men were putting bills in the garter she had around her leg. We told her to get off stage but they were having too much fun -her and Bailey. They finally got them off the stage and at the table with us. Then Olive started taking phone numbers from strange men. I said “Olive, what is the matter with you?” She said “The years are going past too fast, faster than I want them to. This is something I have wanted to do all my life (chuckle, chuckle). No one ever knew this side of me.” Then she started to give a lap dance to a man at the table beside us. She was on a roll. We couldn’t stop her. We decided to eat at the bar and then get Olive and Bailey out of there. She was having too much fun. We ordered and then we saw Kathi, Cheryl, Barb and Brenda (Olive’s daughters) walking in the door. They came to our table and they did not look happy. Someone had phoned and told them what was going on at the Bare and Stare Bar. They brought along a long coat to cover up Olive’s skimpy outfit and took her home. They said she is not allowed to be around us girls again. We had nothing to do with it. Olive just stood there with a big smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye. As she was being led away by her girls, we heard her say “Another thing stroked off my bucket list”.

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36. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary

Johhnie and I’s ‘Supposed to be Quiet/ Do Nothing’ Sunday: It was a cold, dreary, wet, windy Sunday in January. Johnnie and I decided this would be a day of doing nothing and watching all the TV we could watch, no work, just lazing around, maybe having a few drinks, and no cooking. I got a big casserole out of the freezer (Jean Brown’s venison and beans) with some tea biscuits I had made earlier in the week and a frozen apple pie. So supper was all made - all we had to do was put it in the oven. We had watched a few shows on TV - mostly football because that’s what Johnnie likes to watch. We decided to have a drink. I hadn’t done the dishes for 3 or 4 days so all the glasses and dishes were dirty. As it was a “no work” day I got out my shot glass (a 2-cup measuring cup) for me and a glass boot my brother had brought back from Germany and gave me as a gift. It held 3 or 4 beers so that’s what Johnnie used. We didn’t have to fill them up as often. We could use paper plates and napkins and plastic cutlery to eat. Johnnie only has plastic cutlery. We were having fun playing with the dog and cat and hadn’t even got dressed at about 2 o’clock when there was someone knocking on the door. We didn’t want company – today was our lazy day. The knocking got louder and louder so finally Johnnie got up and opened the door. There were 3 men I had never seen before. Johnnie was saying “Oh my god man how did you ever find me?” They were old school chums from many years ago - Jim Beam, Tom Collins and Captain Morgan. Johnnie invited them in and introduced me to them all. They said they had been looking for him for years, and Tom said he had been talking to one of the Wine Sisters a few weeks ago and she told him where we lived. We were just getting ready to watch the movie Fried Green Tomatoes but we turned off the TV and settled down for a drink and a visit and getting acquainted then we decided to play poker. After about an hour of playing cards they were getting very noisy and Jim Beam said “We have a jug of moonshine slush in the truck. Can we bring it in?” “Of course” we said. One glass of that moonshine slush almost blew my head off. They also had some musical instruments in their truck and they brought them in too. They started playing. The music was fantastic – hand- clapping, toe- tapping music. Johnnie was cutting the rug on the dance floor. Moonshine slush was going down tooo gooood ! After 2 or 3 hours of singing, dancing and drinking we were getting tired. As I was the only woman there I was dancing with all of them. My head was spinning. All of a sudden, Tom Collins started to flirt with me. ( My beauty has always been a curse!) Johnnie hated when anyone started to flirt with me. Johnnie said “Tom is up to his old tricks – always flirting with MY girlfriends.” (Men just can’t resist me – not that I really blame them with my 30-year old body and 80-year old mind -when it is in working order). Without hurting Tom or embarrassing him I told him that Johnnie and I were engaged. Being the gentlemen that Johnnie is, rather than get mad, his chest just puffed out like a peacock. Johnnie was beaming with pride, knowing I belonged to him and only him. Now that the rules were set in place, Tom agreed to be more gentlemanly. The hours just flew by. Soon it was 9 o’clock. I had supper in the oven, hot and ready to eat, and everyone ate everything. Not even one bean was left – boy it will be a nice, noisy evening. You know when everyone has drank for hours and ate then everyone gets tired. They were all starting to fall asleep. I couldn’t let them drive home in the shape they were in. Johnnie only has one bedroom so Tom slept in chicken coop with the chickens, Captain Morgan slept in the doghouse and Jim Beam slept on the couch. When Johnnie and I woke in the morning it took awhile to figure out where we were and why we had such headaches and why the house was in such a mess. When we saw the empty punch bowl, all the paper plates and napkins and empty casserole dishes , it all came back. This was supposed to be our do- nothing Sunday but sometimes things don’t go as planned. The guys had gone but left a note saying they had such a good time that they would be back again soon. I hope not too soon – it will take a month to get over this headache.

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37. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary

The Broken Heart - We have our favourite bar for the Doe Party. After the episode at the Stare and Bare Bar, Olive is still on house arrest and can’t come out to play, so the rest of us girls went out to check the two other bars on our list – the Oolala Bar was the next one we hit. It seemed to cater to a younger crowd of people. There was a young girl in there with purple hair, short shorts, stiletto heels and long, long nails. We did not want to compete with the young stuff. The male strippers looked young enough to be our grandsons or great grandsons, so we scratched that one off our list. At the last one – the Tip and Strip Bar – there was a group of 6 men dancing called, “The Old – But Not Dead Yet – Pharts”. They were dressed in spandex, matching bright yellow shorts and muscle shirts that tore apart. They had some great moves! I found out their names were: Boom Boom Bob, Feisty Red Hot Pepper Red, Cha-Cha Chuck, Saucy Dave, Delightful Phil, and West Texas Spicy Ed. We decided that this was the place to hold the Doe Party. We asked when the Old Pharts would be entertaining there again and they said in about a month.

The last couple of weeks, Johnny has been acting very different. He used to clean himself up about once a month in the barrel of water outside as he has no running water in the house. Now he is cleaning himself every day, he shaved off his ugly beard; he is cleaning his teeth every day instead of whenever he went to the dentist. He went to Value Village and got some nice new furniture. I am saying, “What is going on with you, Johnny? You are going out a lot without asking me to go with you. You have alcohol on your breath every time you come home.” He said “I am just out with the guys.” One day, I was doing his laundry and found a note in his pocket with the words, “I love you Johnny – can I move in with you?” and there were hearts drawn all over the letter. I was heartbroken. I had to find out who this tramp was and more about her. So I went to Johnny’s friend who can’t keep anything to himself - Jose Cuervo. After he had about three good stiff drinks, his tongue got loose and he told me how they met. It was at the Oolala Bar. She was a young woman from the United States and couldn’t go back because the borders were closed. She had to remain in Canada, was homeless and was looking for a man to look after her and she had her eye on MY man, even tho’ he is very poor. What am I going to do about my Johnny? He is bound to pick the younger woman over this old one. I need time to think. There may not be a Doe Party and probably not even a wedding. I am so depressed. What has happened to my Hi-Tech Red Neck? (Stay tuned – to be continued next week.)

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38. Pearl's Coronavirus Diary

Part 2 – Johnnie and the Trash: I was talking to Jose Cuervo a lot. If you give him three good stiff drinks he will tell you anything. I learned the girl’s name was Penny Delite. Johnnie met her at the Oolala Bar one night when the guys were supposed to be at a hunting meeting (yeah right). He sat down at their table and had a few drinks with them but seemed sweet on Johnnie. She gave him her cell phone number and a note. Jose told me she was from the States and could not get back into the States as the borders were closed. She had to remain in Canada and she was homeless and she was looking for someone to give her place to stay and a meal and she had picked my Johnnie. He is dirt poor – why would she pick him? We’ve only been engaged for two months and he is talking to strange women! I had to see what she looked like. Why would he pick trash over love? He had to choose between the two of us - Trash Girl or Precious Awesome Love-You-Forever Girlfriend. I can’t compete with Trash Girl so we will probably part and I will have to give Johnny back his ring.

One day Jose called me and said if you want to see Penny Delite – she is going over by your house to see if she can see Johnny around the dump area. I went to the dump by our house and hid behind the garbage bins. I waited for nearly an hour and was ready to leave when along came Trash Girl. She had purple hair, short shorts, red stiletto heels and long finger nails. Oh My Gawd – she is the girl who was at the Oolala Bar the day we checked it out. Then suddenly along came a big Cadillac driven by a handsome doctor. At least I think it was a doctor as the licence plate said Med Dr and she jumped into the car with him. When I got home, I asked Johnnie about Trash Girl. I told him I couldn’t be engaged to a cheater and gave him back his ring and I said I will be moving out as soon as I get a place. Johnny said he didn’t know what was wrong with him. She was so different from any other woman he had ever met. I guess he likes Trash Girls.

About a week before I moved out of Johnny’s, a big dump truck loaded with garbage went by to the dump. It was so full of garbage that stuff starting falling off the top of the truck. A huge comforter rolled off the top and fell to the ground. I ran over to the comforter to see if I could keep it. It would look great on Johnnie’s bed. It was so big and thick I could hardly pick it up and Trash Girl was rolled up inside of it. The wig fell off her head and she was bald, her teeth were lying on the ground and a glass eye was rolling down the road. A wooden leg was lying above her head and those long fingernails were all broken off. A mountain of makeup to make her look young was smeared all over her face. She looked way older than me. We called the police and the ambulance in case she was hurt but she wasn’t. The comforter had kept her from being hurt. I don’t know what happened to the rich doctor and the Cadillac. Maybe he rolled her up in the comforter and put her in the dump truck. The police checked her out and find out she was a felon. She had 3 or 4 warrants for her arrest. She had been married 5 times. She was charged with fraud, theft, impersonating another person and many other things. I don’t know what will happen to “Johnnie and I now. He has a lot of explaining to do. She got what she wanted – she has a nice warm bed, 3 meals and day and the roof over her head in the county jail.

I hope they got all the pieces to put her back together again. And I hope that is the last we hear about Trash Girl. (To Shirley from Windsor – hope you like what I did with the ideas for the story you gave me. I finally got it put together for you).

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39. Pearl’s Coronavirus Diary: What is Going to Happen to Johnnie and Pearl?

I haven’t talked to Johnnie since Trash Girl got locked up.  He has tried to reach out to me, but I am still hurting bad and there will have to be a lot of changes made with Johnnie.  I thought he was different from all the other men I’ve known.  I loved him so much.  A month after our breakup, it was my birthday.  He asked me to go on a date with him and said, “Let’s start fresh and new” as if nothing bad had ever happened.  We would talk everything out.  So I decided I would go on a date with him.  He is taking me to the Road Kill Cafe.  The specialty that night is Rabbit Delight or Roasted Squirrel with Mushrooms, with fresh picked greens from the compost pile and Johnny Cake drizzled with wild blueberry sauce, so I agreed to go.  I wanted to make myself extra pretty that night so he could see what he almost lost.  So I braided the hairs on my legs and put beautiful red ribbons around them to match the ribbons in my hair.  I wore a short skirt so he could get the full effect of my beautiful legs all decorated up for him.  He came to pick me up, and it was awkward at first, but then we broke the ice with a kiss.  Oh how I have missed those kisses!  We had a wonderful meal together and then we decided to go back to his house to talk about Trash Girl.  When we got inside the door, there was a trail of 2-day old rose petals and a big rose petal heart in the middle of the floor that said “I love you” made out of dried maple leaves.  It was so beautiful and thoughtful.  Now it was time to talk about Trash Girl and how he got involved with her when he had this spectacular specimen (me) loving him to death.  He had told me he had gone to the Oolala Bar one night (he said it was a hunting meeting) and there was this beautiful girl.  She paid so much attention to him and he had never had a girl cling onto him so much in his life.  It flattered him and made him feel important, so he went along with it and he said he never took her anywhere and never kissed her – just had a beer with her at the bar.  She was homeless and found out he owned a home and just wanted to get out of the cold and have a man spend money on her.  It could have been any man.  She was desperate to get off the streets.  Johnnie has to do a lot more to gain my trust again after being in the car with Harriett and now Trash Girl.  He wanted to give me back the ring that night as it was my birthday but I wouldn’t accept it.  And only time will tell what happens.  But I did have a wonderful birthday.   

(Fast forward two months later) - Johnnie and I fell in love again.  I forgave him.  We eloped and moved to the burbs and lived happily ever after just like Meghan and Harry.  There may be a little Johnnie in the future for some other lucky girl.

Thank you to all the readers near and far who have enjoyed my Coronavirus diary for the past year.  They helped me make the pandemic bearable.  I have been writing the Mississippi News since July 2000 but I must hang up my writing paper and pen.  Life has thrown another whammy at me and I will be busy with doctor appointments.  I need to take care of myself.  My imagination is on hold but my spirit is strong.  I have gotten as much enjoyment from writing these stories as I hope you have gotten from reading them.  I challenge all of you to write a story or two for me and everyone.  I would love to have a laugh with you.  I dearly hope I can find someone who will be willing to take over the Mississippi News.  It has been a hoot and when things settle down I may be back.

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40. Pearl's Coronavirus Diary

Hello friends, neighbours, reporters, fans and anyone I might have forgotten to mention. I don’t have a memory hardly at all now. I would like to thank all of you for your phone calls, your cards, your letters, your visits, flowers and prayers, etc. (I might have forgotten some things). I just wanted to let all of you know how I am doing and people have been asking me to let everyone know. After about a dozen trips to Perth, Smiths Falls, and Kingston to doctor's appointments, the cancer clinic, the pain clinic, for ultrasounds, x-rays, bone tests, MRIs, etc., etc., (I can’t even remember them all), I do have bone cancer. I hope to have radiation on my neck soon, as most of my pain is in my neck and that is where the biggest tumour is located. Also, my back and arm are in pretty bad pain. I am on a cancer pill but do not have to take chemo. Oh how I hope I do not get any side effects from the cancer pills. They sound awful.

I really want to thank Terry and Connie, my neighbours across the road, for the beautiful turkey dinner on Sunday – enough to feed me 3 meals. It was so delicious – thank you guys. Terry has been so helpful, putting up my civic sign - I have no idea how it fell down but between Bob and Elaine and Terry, it is up like new again.

I want to thank Ron and Alice for taking me to doctor's appointments, shopping for groceries and taking me for haircuts. I want to thank my grandchildren so much for decorating my cancer tree – I got the tree at a Relay for Life many years ago. Two weeks ago, Mark Lemke came and put 600 pink lights on it, and Shawn and Mark and Hudson came back and made it look beautiful by arranging the lights. It looks so beautiful in my back yard when I turn it on at dusk every night. Everyone is invited to drive over and have a look.

Thank you to Cheryl and Olive Allan for the beautiful gift container on Saturday night - there was a large loaf of homemade bread - so light and tasty. There was banana bread, homemade butter, two jars of homemade jams, plus some red and white kitchen towels and pot holders. I want to thank Elaine for the big dish of macaroni and hamburger, and Bob and Elaine for taking my car into Perth last to get greased, and the oil and tires changed. It wouldn’t start and Bob had to put his battery charger on it to get it started when they picked it up on Thursday. What would I do without all these wonderful people helping me out so much? Words are the only way I can thank them. I appreciate all of you so much and all you do for me. Hope I haven’t forgotten to thank anyone but my brain is sleeping or inactive at the present. If I ever get enough energy again, maybe there will be another Johnny and Pearl story. I sure hope so. Until then, thank you all a million.

Oops - almost forgot my family, Rick for taking care of my garbage, Sharon for her visit and cookies and Pam for staying with me and going with me to appointments (so many miles) and trying to teach me how to use a computer.

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41. Pearl's Coronavirus Diary

Hello, North Frontenac News and friends, neighbours and relatives from all over. It is time for me to check in again with an update for you. Monday, April 26th I go for my second radiation treatment. I hope I don’t hurt as much as I did after the first one on April 19th. I felt like I was run over by a Mack truck. I have to have a bone density test, CT scan, x-ray and ultrasound and go to the Cancer Clinic and see my doctor all within the next month. The trips tire me out and my body aches terribly, especially my neck and back. Elaine gave me a support pillow for around my neck and it works great. I have such a wonderful support system around me and I will be forever grateful for them. I have so many people to thank for all their encouragement. It means so much to me that people are rooting for me to get better. I am trying so hard but cancer is a mean disease and it does what it wants most of the time. No matter how hard you are trying to control it - it is uncontrollable. Thank you to all the people for their kind words and food, to Ruth Wark for the lovely meal she sent me last Sunday night and the great visit, Lori Ryder and Kip Tuckwell for flowers, card on behalf of the Snow Road Community Centre and the voucher for Maples when it opens again, Wendy Crain for the beautiful cake, Mark and Lise across the road for my favourite beef and barley soup - it was so delicious. Muffins from Elaine (carrot cake ones) and Bob for the freezie pops. I have been craving them. Olive for the honey mustard and the French vanilla creamers and food. Valerie for the cookies. Alice for taking me to appointments that Pam can’t make, and taking me for groceries and bringing them into the house for me. Shirley Mumby for the cheese stick bread. Cheryl Allan for picking up all my stuff at the pharmacy and the people at the Sharbot Lake pharmacy for getting the stuff all together for me so I don’t have to go in. It is always ready for Cheryl to pickup and for opening tops and taking plastic off bottles. For all the wonderful Meals on Wheels, and last but not least, to Pam for all the miles and miles and miles she drives. Sometimes thank you isn’t enough. I wish I could write a Johnny and Pearl story again. Maybe in the future if my body stops hurting and I don’t have to spend all my time on the couch. Maybe it will happen. Again, thank you to all the wonderful people out there for your calls, visits, prayers, cards, flowers, etc. It is keeping me from going insane. I do appreciate everyone so much. Until next time, when I have something to say, be safe, stay strong, get your shot. You are my angels!

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