Report From The Bunker
By: Ron Nagle, Esquire
It’s been seven weeks since we were driven into semi-isolation. For most of us, it came without warning, separated us from our accepted daily lives, our families, colleagues and friends, and forced upon us a new reality and an altered perspective. For those of us who are “senior citizens” and especially susceptible to this Covid-19 virus, it has brought into stark contrast ourselves and those on the front lines – doctors, nurses, police officers, EMT’s, military personnel, truck drivers and deliverymen, food suppliers, warehouse workers and so many other brave souls actively engaged while this “war” is on. While staying out-of-the-way, we are buoyed by John Milton’s observation, “They also serve who only stand and wait”.
Even in this dark and foreboding time of economic uncertainty and deprivation for so many, this time of “living dangerously”, the strength and spirit of the American people has once again arisen on so many fronts, much like it has done before during the Second World War, 911 and other hard and uncertain times. But it now appears that folks are getting antsy and business owners and their employees deprived of their livelihoods by government enforced closures have just about had enough, and are demanding to get back to work. Seems to me a real necessity that can’t be long denied, one way or the other.
It has been especially fortuitous, however, that we find ourselves in the 21st century, a time when our home computers, email, Zoom, Skype and other electronic services allow us to connect to those with whom we routinely personally interacted most every day before this chastisement struck. The business and professional worlds have become “virtual”. We can now visit with our physician and our lawyer, live and in person, on our computers and fulfill a host of tasks without leaving the safe harbor of our homes, that we once accomplished from or in an office. From here on, it’s sure to change the way our society does business. Over the past few years record-keeping has gone “virtual’ as well, replacing the now antiquated “paper file”, with apologies to us “old-timers” who still much prefer “hard copies”. Speaking from personal experience, I haven’t been in my law office for two months, yet have computer access to all of the client files for which I have responsibility. So, I have continued to work from home and communicate with colleagues and clients, thanks to these modern-day technological advances.
For those of us hunkered down at home, the slow emergence of Spring, bringing with it warmer days, and even here in Pennsylvania occasional days of sunshine, has freed us during a portion of the work day and weekends to spend some time out-of-doors, preparing the flower beds for planting, working through Spring clean-up, filling our flower pots with pansies and sweet alyssum and starting the summer “Victory” garden. That last item is what those of us with inherited “farmer” DNA consider a ritualistic “labor of love”, and in these days might well be considered a real necessity. In my experience of practicing law and judging legal cases for many years, I have always found it one of the most satisfying of life’s pleasures. As one grows older, you come to fully appreciate the continuing ability to enjoy a multi-dimensional life as a priceless gift from the good Lord.
When we began to experience the empty grocery shelves and experienced some difficulty in getting necessary provisions by “virtual” shopping, I thought a few chickens might be a good idea, yielding fresh eggs in the morning, and maybe, “a big fat hen” for Sunday dinner. My apologies to those gentle readers who didn’t grow up on a farm in the post-depression 1940’s just after the War years, who might shirk from such barbarity, but it’s what we county boys did before supermarkets. I must confess that in my youth I routinely collected eggs from the hen house and lopped off a few heads, at parental direction of course. On reflection though, I decided that wouldn’t be such a good idea given the foxes who reguarly visit our yard of a morning hoping for a fat squirrel for breakfast. The foxes are smart critters and “know” the squirrel’s hang around the bird feeders. They also have distinct appetites for chickens.
Mary Wade Myers, Esquire, a now-retired member of the Chester County Bar, used to grace the pages of the Bar Associations “New Matter” quarterly magazine with accounts of her life away from the practice of law on her farm, tending to her stock, which brought to life for all of us the agrarian pursuits that provided her such joy. She had the literary gift that allowed her to imbue those creatures she cared for with their own quirks and personalities. I thought about her as I prepared this article, since she always reminded me that lawyers and judges are “folks” just like everybody else, which is the message I hope comes through in what I have said here. By the way, the old fellow pictured on the John Deere that accompanies this bunker report is the author.