Christmas morning, my sixth birthday. School had been out for several days, and last evening Mom’s side of the family had filled the house with conversation, dinner, and Christmas.
But that morning, when I came downstairs, none of those things mattered. I just plain didn’t feel good! I went to my favorite warm spot and squatted down on the furnace register. That’s where Mom found me.
Now, I don’t remember my parents calling the doctor, neither do I remember him coming to the house. (Yes, doctors made house calls then.) I DO remember the diagnosis – scarlet fever. To me, that was just a name to explain why I didn’t feel good! Also, I remember being quarantined!
There were five of us in our farming family. How could they quarantine the youngest one and not affect the whole household?
Dad borrowed (or rented) a house trailer for him and my oldest brother. (That house trailer, though highly-esteemed, was the size of today’s oldest, smallest campers.) It could be pulled up next to the house, and the two of them could weather the storm there. That way, they were free to do chores, run errands, grocery shop, and even shoot the breeze at the local general store.
One story I remember from their sojourn in the house trailer was that they decided to cook soup beans for one meal. Forgetting how those beans would swell with heat and water, they put into the kettle the amount they would want for a meal. They always said they didn’t have to cook very much after that because there were always beans ready to eat.
I was quarantined in Mom and Dad’s bedroom with the doors shut. My 10-year-old brother was quarantined as well, in that he lived in the same house and could not come and go, but he did have the rest of the house.
Mom read to me endlessly, and the biggest disappointment of the entire situation for me was that when the quarantine sign on the door was removed, and the house was fumigated, it was also required that my favorite book(s) be burned!
Did we maintain social distancing during that time? Definitely. Dad would come to the bedroom window every evening for a short visit. My 10-year-old brother could be in any part of the house except the bedroom where I was. Mom had freedom within the house but personal contact with others was prohibited.
So, though right now we feel confined and call it quarantine, it isn’t as strict as it was many years ago. Since I am a member of that select portion of the population most likely to become victim to this horrible disease, and also since I have wonderful friends and neighbors, I have had offers to pick up whatever I might need at the store. It’s a time when we all seem to be more aware of our need of community.
There are no signs on our doors stating quarantine, but just by living in this state, as in many others, we are under “stay-at-home” orders. Where we can go and what we can do are limited. It’s a good time to spend time getting to know God better and to be sure of heaven by inviting Jesus into our lives.
I received an email asking for prayer for a pastor in Ecuador who was critical in the hospital with pneumonia. Two hours later, the second email said he had passed away. The pneumonia was undoubtedly coronavirus. Friends, we have no promise of tomorrow. Make your decision NOW.