When Coronavirus Ends, I'm Going Out For Pancakes

Walter Rhein

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9:17 AM

When Coronavirus ends, I’m going to get my wife and kids out of bed at 9:17 AM and take them out for pancakes. The one thing I like about stay at home is that we get to sleep in. That’s going to be a hard thing to give back up when life returns to normal.

There’s a little mom and pop restaurant up the street called Bresina’s. It’s the kind of place where you can get three pancakes, three eggs and three strips of bacon for three dollars. They know my kids on a first name basis and sometimes they give them coloring books when we stop in.

Restaurant pancakes are better than homemade pancakes, probably because they make them with more butter. I’ll spring the extra fifty cents for the giant bowl of strawberries and cream. When we’re done feasting, I’ll pay the bill and give them a one hundred percent tip. I have a feeling servers throughout our nation could use the extra consideration.
10:23 AM

With our bellies full, we’ll walk down to the park for a game of Frisbee. The weather has been nice lately and the green buds are forming on the trees. I expect the park will be full and children will be clambering over the jungle gym. The park has been silent for many long months and it’s been unnatural not to hear the sound of youthful voices engaged in reckless abandon.

I’ll find random people to toss the Frisbee to. I expect people will be eager to play. Social distancing isn’t natural, it will be good to put it behind us and seize the opportunity to make new friends.

11:31 AM

The roads have been a ghost town, so it will be a delight to head out on the highway. Thirty miles down the road is one of the few remaining A&W restaurants that still linger in the state. I’ll pack the family into the car and head out for a frosted mug and a chicken tender slider served on a King’s Hawaiian Roll.

On the way out, we’ll roll down the windows and breathe the fresh air. Maybe we’ll even shout a little and try to drown out the radio.

12:42 PM

We’ll get one last packet of sliders to go and head over to Grandma’s house. Won’t she be happy to see us after these long months? Face time is nice but there’s no substitute for human contact. It’ll be better to surprise her than let her know we’re coming. She probably has cookies in the oven already.

After cookies, we’ll saddle up her horses and take a loop around the pasture. The horses have come through this well. They’re happy to see us too.

1:59 PM

We’ll make it a quick trip to grandma’s house because there’s a lot to do on the first day after quarantine. I’ll head home and fire up my computer and plan a vacation to the Great Wall of China.

Life’s too short and you never know when quarantine might hit again. If there is one thing the stay at home order has emphasized, it’s that we should all seize our opportunities today.

2:57 PM

Just before three it will be time to pile into the car again. This time we’re heading to Lucette Brewery for the best wood fire pizzas in the world. I’ve been dreaming of those pies for months. The kids will enjoy a soft drink while I wash down my meat sweats with a frosty mug of Farmer’s Daughter.

4:11 PM

The neighborhood fire pit will be up and running by now. Everyone will be there, all the friends, neighbors and family that we haven’t seen except in pixelated form for so many weeks. The kids will form themselves into groups, kick up dirt, and hurl themselves into the games of youth. The adults will argue about the Packers’ draft and drink more beer.

We’ll roast hot dogs, brats, and marshmallows over the fire. We’ll play music, and laugh. The cops will show up and they’ll have a beer with us too! Everybody’s happy that quarantine is over.

6:15 PM

The kids are shot, so their mother offers to give them a bath. They’re barely keeping their eyes open, so I don’t feel bad about heading out to watch the Bucks.

Basketball is back on! It’s just typical that the whole world would shut down right when Milwaukee was on the verge of taking another title. We’d been conditioned to believe that some place would freeze over before they won again. A world shut down amounts to the same thing.

7:05 PM

Tip off! The bar is vibrating with excitement. Beer is one dollar a bottle. Wooden panels shake as the patrons bellow “Go Bucks!”

Time clicks by, Milwaukee wins by a score of 177-63.

8:39 PM

I’m back home. The kids are asleep, I'm snuggled in with my wife and ready to watch “Extraction” for the 86th time.

I steal a few moments to reflect on the positives of spending more time home together. It’s opened our eyes to problems, and given us an appreciation of the things we taken for granted. That being said, I’ll be glad when the pandemic is over.

11:01 PM

Hit the mattress, out like a light. The first day free from quarantine is a raging success, but tomorrow there will be even more to do and see.

There is an overwhelming sense of relief. Once more it has become clear that it’s the simple things in life that offer the greatest satisfaction. Above all I’m thankful for all the future opportunities to see the people I love and to hold them close.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI
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