I should have known that the Kalish camp was frustrating.
On the eve of its opening, I was moving the plates in my office to make room for the one I had just received because I am considered the number one editorial writer in Mississippi. (“Vanity is vanity! All is vanity.”)
As I hammered a nail into the planks, unbeknownst to me, the vibration was causing the wooden boards above me to move. One of them, presented in 2009 as a souvenir from my year as president of United Way, fell out of his fingernail and hit me with a box near the top of my head. Ouch!
A handful of blood and three tests from my colleagues sent me to an urgent care clinic for three stitches. When I picked up our two granddaughters the next day, I wore a ball cap to hide the damage.
For the last three summers, Tim, now 7, and Pete, 4, have come to Greenwood from their Nashville home for a week at Camp Calish. My wife and I, Betty Gill, are her chief advisor. We organize games, crafts and day trips. We swim, cook outside and read books. Perhaps what boys like the most is relaxing in their sleep times.
When their mother, our daughter, asks why they stay past 9 p.m., we tell her they follow “camp rules,” not Nashville rules.
Last year, the Kalish camp ended on a tearful note. Betty Gale was bitten in the arm of our dog when I tried to pull him off his collar from eating cat food. The bite got infected, and she had to be hospitalized for a few days to receive intravenous antibiotics.
This year, the culprit was COVID.
Our son Sam first tested positive, two days after Calish camp. Quarantine in the back of the house, but it seems to be too late. Two days later, Betty Gill’s test results were positive. The next day I did.
Betty Jill had the worst of it, though, fortunately, neither of us had trouble breathing or needed anything more than an over-the-counter medication.
After more than two years without the first known case of COVID in our home, we are suddenly overtaken.
It’s a strange virus. As long as I stayed upright and continued working as usual, I felt better. But as soon as I put myself down, the virus seems to become more active. I sweated through several shirts, developed a hoarse voice that made me sound sicker than I had been, and had a fever that reached nearly 102 degrees before subsiding. While I had no trouble eating ice cream, Betty Jill lost all appetite for dairy.
Our extended family has started checking regularly for updates from Camp COVID.
The morning the test result came back positive, it was decided that the best thing was to get Timis and Pete back to the safety of Tennessee the day before they were due. I was worried about being nearby with them as I was driving them halfway home, where we met their mother. But, more than three days after they left, they were still in a negative state and feeling fine.
Everyone’s experience with COVID is unique. Although we tried to prevent the virus from spreading among us, life became easier once it spread. There was a 24-hour period in which Sam was quarantined in one part of the house and one bathroom was assigned, and Betty Jill was quarantined in our bedroom and the other bathroom. We ran out of ‘safe’ bathrooms for me and our boys.
We tried ordering groceries online for the first time. The experience was very satisfying. The biggest problem was not being able to tell that the item we wanted was not in stock. Plus I almost stumbled on a 12 . order dozen 1 egg instead of 12 eggs.
While some people like to work from home, this is not my preference. Lots of distractions, and while the remote control technology works, it’s not without flaws. It took twice as long to design the opening page as it would if I were in my office.
There were some advantages, such as eliminating commuting and dressing time. But in order to have a quiet space, everyone had to adjust their routine, two cats included. I’m sure by Monday, they’ll be very happy to have me back in the office.
Assuming I stayed fever-free all day Friday, I met the CDC’s guidelines for getting out of quarantine on Saturday. Betty Jill is counting on it. This is the day I’m supposed to get the stitches out of my head. If I can’t get to the clinic, I warn her, she may have to have her removed.
As for the Kalish camp, it wasn’t all we had hoped for. All flights today have been postponed. The playtime parts have been replaced by nursing time. Even the ceremonial closure of the camp has been cancelled.
But the boys were good athletes about it. They say they will be back next year. plans for his younger brother to join them. Maybe COVID will be an afterthought by then.
We can only hope.
– Contact Tim Kalich at 662-581-7243 or [email protected]