Robert Harris

One more day has passed where there’s not been another confirmed case of the corona virus in Cerro Gordo County, which is giving me even more hope it’ll be a “fly-over” for the northern reaches of our State.

I just read this morning where some of the mayors in the larger cities of Iowa are asking our Governor to call for a lock-down of our cities and towns. Just from the looks of vehicle and pedestrian traffic in our City, I’d say there’s all the many sticking very close to home without there having been an edict proclaimed.

Not much was happening in the world of real estate outside my office, but I was busied enough with phone calls and a few drop-ins which helped the hours to pass more quickly, while managing to get most of the little errands run on one of my client’s rentals. I’ll be breathing a sigh of relief after those new tenants have signed their leases on the last vacancies my office had posted for rent.

A young man stopped by my office late this morning to visit about the possibility of purchasing a fixer-upper. He wanted my opinion on following thru with his desire to try his hand at buying, fixing up, and then selling a home. I minced no words when speaking about the dangers of buying a rickety house that’s likely not worth the time, money, and effort. I kiddingly said, “There’ve been homes out there that were screaming to be returned to the earth, but there were those poor devils who wouldn’t allow them to return to the hands of Mother Nature.”

I did promise I’d do my very best to find him something worth fixing, as well as warning him I wouldn’t want to list it if I found he’d performed one of those “lipsticked pig” fix-ups, because that’s all we’d be asking for, is endless call-backs, and in the end, find both him and my office being cast in very bad lights.

After the noon hour ended, I ran over to Fareway to pick up a few things I was running low on, and wouldn’t you know it, those paper towel and toilet tissue shelves were still empty. I still can’t get my brain wrapped around this hoarding of those products. I did see a number of heaping shopping carts slowing moving down aisles, and nearly all of them were being pushed by older people who were likely stocking up on staples for their weeks ahead.

When seeing in these times, how grocery stores are the life-lines of nearly everyone, I can’t help remembering how farm life was back in the 1800’s where people didn’t go to town unless they absolutely had to, and oft times, their journeys would be in monthly or more intervals. Pretty much all they did go to buy, was flour, sugar, coffee, or tea. And if other things were needed, such as fabrics, buttons, tools, along with any of the other real necessities, then they’d be shopping at that same general store, but in different sections. Believe it or not, my office building was originally built back in the 1880’s as one of those general stores, and then later, converted to a meat market which was owned by a woman. Now that must’ve been a landmark of history in the making back in those days.

A number of years ago, I picked up at auction, a very old book that was published back in the last half of the 1800’s which contains recipes, instructions on primitive forms of canning, butchering, salting meat, along with a number of other curious ways of sustaining life.

It really makes a person wonder how difficult it would be to survive in these times as those farmers managed to do for months on end. But, when you think about it, they had cows for milk and butter, chickens for eggs and meat, and hogs for the “other white meat”, and of course, they tended huge gardens where they’d grown crops like potatoes, squash, carrots, and turnips which would be “cold-stored” for use over the winter.

When speaking of isolation, we must also remember that there were country schools dotting the many townships of our State, as well and a number of country churches where they’d go for Sunday Services. Just in North Iowa, I’d wager there’d be months, and possibly even years where children of those farm families would’ve never even made it as far away from home as Mason City. It’s no wonder so many of our great aunts and uncles ended up marrying into families that were within a four or five mile radius of their homesteads, and if you don’t believe me, check out some of our area’s old family records. It happened in my genetic family tree, and likely all the many of yours.

Late this afternoon I received a call from a past client whom I’d not spoken with in likely a year, and glad to hear that all was well on his side of our State. We played catch-up on happenings since our last visit, as well as sharing our opinions on some of the recent videos that’ve been placed on Youtube here in Mason City. We both agreed that far too often, people who post such questionable content, don’t think forward enough to realize how many people have the opportunity to watch such silliness, and then likely being perceived by all the more, in very questionable ways. I couldn’t help adding how decorum in all areas of our public lives, is slowly being eroded away to where I’m afraid there’ll come the day where it’s all out there. Too sad.

Tonight’s one-liner is: The fly that doesn’t want to be swatted, is most secure when it lights on the fly-swatter.

Joe Chodur

About the Author | Joe Chodur

Firstofall....JoeChodurreallydoesn'tliketalkingabouthimselfbutthisiswhatwehavefoundoutabouthim. more about: Joe Chodur

View page.