By Joe Rector

This coronavirus has kicked us for half a year, and most folks are losing patience with it and the restraints that it demands of us. Some people handle things better than the rest of us. I feel for young people the most. They’ve lost graduations, birthday parties, and sports. We who are older struggle as well, but maybe not quite so much. A hidden nugget sometimes appears in the pile of bad.

One thing that bugs me is television. I have cable; in addition, we subscribe to Netflix, Prime, and Hulu. That is mind-blowing when I remember that only three channels aired on television when I was a boy. Most days, I can’t find anything to watch. My list of favorite shows completed their seasons not long ago, and the replacement programs fail to capture my attention. As a side-note, I’d like to know why people are so interested in reality shows and game shows. Don’t they realize that not much “reality” is involved with them?

Most of my viewing time is dedicated to news. No, that’s not a good thing. By the end of the day, I’m thoroughly disgusted with conservatives and liberals, and I long for moderations. At the same time, I see that the objectivity that once was a mainstay of journalism is slipping away. Too much injection of opinion creeps into stories. Emotionally charged words are included in stories so that the slant, either liberal or conservative, is achieved.

Movies aren’t much better. Too many of them are more concerned with promoting a social cause than entertaining. Searches for good comedy or action movies come up with short lists. I’m a fan of “Dead Pool” and “Avengers.” The plots are mindless, the dialogues are funny or limited, and the characters are far from believable. That’s why I watch them; I’ve had enough real-life shows.

I enjoy reading when I can find a good book, and I like “The Atlantic.” My old eyes hold out for just so long before they strain to see the text. Music can soothe the soul, but the same playlist can become boring.

A couple of those nuggets I mentioned have become a part of life. One is sitting on the front porch in a white rocker and watching cars go by or storms roll in. The rhythmic movement of the rocker acts as a sedative. Sadie lies next to my chair and waits for an occasional pat on the head or treat from the chip bag. We are also fortunate to have a pool, and everyday my son Dallas and I find some time to jump in and just soak. We talk about plenty of topics, most of which have no earth-shaking value. Just hanging out is good.

On Saturday evening at 8:00 p.m., Amy and I are parked on the couch with the television turned on. We watch the latest installment of “Opry.” The Circle Network airs the show live from the stage of the  Grand Old Opry. Two or three artists fill an hour with their songs. Some entertainers return for second appearances, but new talents, like Keb Mo, have performed and gained new fans.

The increase in cases of the virus might signal a setback for the country. We’re in real trouble due to a lack of leadership at the top levels. So, all of us will have to hunker down and socially distance and wear masks to save ourselves. It’s not an ideal situation, but we have to do it to protect everyone. Amy and I will continue to stay around the house as much as possible, and we’ll watch the Opry every Saturday night. It’s the best hour of the week for us.