Sorry to say, our lovely two-week trip to Florence has been cancelled … yet another casualty of the coronavirus wars. We kept thinking that it might work out, but as you all know there is no future in planning for the future right now. It certainly feels as if life’s highway is chock-a-block with roadkill. If nothing else we have been forced to slow down and watch for alligators on the road, as we learn to adapt to a new form of normal.

Nowhere is this more evident than at the market. One no longer goes to the grocery store to shop, one goes to seek, re-group and adapt. For example, the neo-hunter-gatherer with plans to make chili, learns to start with the primary ingredients and work out from there, because the chili you end up making will in no way resemble your normal finished product, and you will need to think on your feet to make sure it will work … the chili, that is … and that you have enough alternate ingredients so that another trip to the market is not necessary.

Today at the market watching other shoppers, I could see the process of recipe-adaptation taking place. It would start with a stunned shopper just standing there staring at shelves bare of any form of whatever it was they needed. Like, how I felt blindsided as I stood in front of the turkey case willing ground turkey to appear from the black hole. It felt so unreal, I returned three times to make sure I saw what I saw. Hello Connie, there is no ground turkey! Believe me when I tell you … there is no turkey of any kind. And likewise, you ditz, there is no chicken. Duh. Get over it! You will be forgiven for using ground beef for your chili. Be grateful they have that. 

In just the same way I worked hard to conjur  black beans into existence from the barren canned goods aisle, and shared shrugged shoulders with another shopper who apparently feels as I do  that garbanzo beans really are the equivalent of the-last-man-on-earth. They were the only beans left in abundance, but let us be honest, are they really beans? Instead I left with the last can of dark red kidney beans, and two cans of pigeon peas.  I can make that work. 

In the next aisle I watched a woman stare at a shelf, so empty that I have no idea what was supposed to be there … Soup of some kind, perhaps? … hard to say. I, myself was on my way to find jasmine rice, to supplement the chili, that I plan to make, that won’t have the turkey, that will be made with the beef, that is all that they had, and is missing the beans, that weren’t on the shelf that jack built. 

On the other hand, the produce section was being restocked as I walked in, and I found everything I needed in the way of vegetables. And yes, I was very careful, and didn’t touch my face with my hands. . And  yes, I came home and washed my hands. And yes, I have no plans to go out again for several days. Instead, I will make chili, paint, write, phone my friends, do some spring cleaning, read, clean up the front garden, go for walks and cogitate on how medieval it seems to be quarantined. It feels a bit like being under siege. Which is, in its own way is ironic, because Florence was once under siege, right? 


  1. As always, immensely well written and a terrifically entertaining read! dear Connie.
    Many years ago in a sort of audition for the local radio, across in Beacon, New York, I gave my recipe for Chili over the airwaves. The well-known DJ whose morning show I was on, found it very amusing indeed. Perhaps it was the incongruity of the British accent and a good but haphazardly remembered chili con carne of sorts. Would you mind if I share the link – perhaps pasting a section of it too – on my feckybok page, so others can read what’s happening over there in Connecticutsville? HUGS (virtually) Rxxx. PS SOOOOOO delighted to read that you’re doing the online thing with your lovely artworks. Onwards and upwards…though presently mostly inwards.

  2. I would love to have you share my comments with the Irish world. We are all hunkered down over here anticipating events that may or may not come to pass. Such a big world of the unknown.

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