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Column: On this deserted island, I have what I need — including hope
Shannon Casas high res
Shannon Casas

So, if you were stranded on a desert island and could choose three things to take with you, what would they be?

Apparently toilet paper is high on our list.

That joke is getting old now. My family is not yet out of the toilet paper we bought before this virus took over our lives.

But given that we’re all essentially stranded on islands, let’s give this a go.

I’m taking a knife.

I mean, if I were really on an island and not trapped, for the most part, inside my comfortable home with running water, electricity and internet, then I would definitely want a knife for bushwhacking through jungles and hacking at coconuts in desperate attempts to open them. Have you ever tried to open a coconut? How exactly is that supposed to be done?

Second on my list is soap.

That would not have made my list until the last couple of weeks. But cleaning hands and probably cleaning the wounds I received while bushwhacking and cutting open coconuts seems to be much more important to life than I once realized. Infections and viruses are deadly. Soap saves lives.

And I’ll need my guitar.

I do not play it well. That does not matter. Music is about the only thing that centers me when the going gets tough. I’d take my iPhone full of music instead, but there’s probably not electricity on the island. And there’s no one on the island to hear my slow, awkward chord changes, anyway.

Thankfully I’m “stranded” at my home with my husband, two kids and a dog, not alone on a remote island.

I have all the knives necessary for indoor life. I’ve got enough soap for now.

I have my guitar and my iPhone full of music. And the internet is full of more. My favorite musician is even doing daily videos from where he’s sheltered in place. 

And I’m not really stranded. 

Hospital leaders, along with county and city leaders, have asked we all stay home for the next two weeks except for “tasks required by (our jobs) and necessary needs such as food, medications and medical emergencies.”

My job doesn’t require me to leave the house for much of anything. Working from home may have its challenges, but sitting on my front porch video chatting with reporters isn’t so bad.

In fact, if I have to be “stranded” somewhere, my front porch is a pretty good place. I can watch the kids climb in the tree in our front yard and wave to neighbors walking by. I just have to dodge a few buzzing bees while editing and publishing articles.

And when I need to go to the grocery store, I can. While it may be out of a few things, there’s a lot more there than coconuts. Actually, I have no idea if the produce department offers coconuts. But I was able to buy apples, bananas and grapes on my most recent trip. I can even order online and pick it up, minimizing contact between myself and others, though I did have to wait a few days before I could pick up my order. 

Picking up medications is simple, too, though I’m especially appreciating my health these days. I know many others require medicine and care that puts their lives more at risk right now.

And my family so far is still healthy. My grandmother was recently released from the hospital following a stroke and is so far recovering well.

I hope what I write now is still true next week. I hope what I write is true for you. 

We all have a lot of worries right now. 

We worry about our health and the health of our loved ones, especially those 31 people who have confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hall County and all of those who are especially vulnerable to it.

We worry about our finances, as many have been laid off or have taken cuts to their salaries. 

But I’m going to focus on hopes, not worries. And so far there’s still a lot of that, too.

Shannon Casas is editor in chief of The Times and a foster parent. You can hear her most weeks on the Inside The Times podcast on iTunes or Google Play.

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