Centerville officers Daniel Poff and Alex Locke unload a food donation to be distributed in Hickman County, Tennessee. (Photo courtesy of the Hickman County Times)

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This article is republished with permission from the Hickman County (Tennessee) Times. Hickman County has about 25,000 residents and lies on the southwest fringe of the Nashville metropolitan area. Centerville, the county seat, has a population of about 3,600.

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Walking into Mi Cocina, the Mexican restaurant in Centerville, last Tuesday was an odd experience. 

The place was completely empty to the eye, except for the gentleman at the register. 

“Weird,” I said. 

He knew what I meant. 

“Boring,” he said with a smile. That is, no one to talk to — no hustle and bustle. All day. 

He was glad to see my face, though any face would have been a good one, though call-in orders and the in-and-out visitors had been decent all day, he said. He took my money and we went on talking and talking and — 

“Is one of those to go orders mine?” I asked. 

“Oh — right,” he responded. 

We both laughed, and I was glad to share a rare social time (yes, I think we were the proper distance apart). 

I went out chuckling, just as a couple pulled up next to our van and headed into the restaurant; one other to-go order was waiting for its owner, and I know there was about to be a conversation. 

That’s going to be a trick as the isolation of this virus fear continues: keeping our sociability. I saw a post last week from a friend who was anguishing about the fact that she isn’t supposed to hug anymore — and she’s a bigtime hugger. 

I’m not, but I understand it. 

In the same category is noise: Except for loud pickup trucks and TVs, there isn’t any. No ballgames; not even any church services — not many, anyway — at the moment. As much as I love radio, it’s not the same. 

We all ought to be keeping diaries, because some of what we must do, and not do, these days to avoid contracting and, more importantly, spreading what can be a deadly illness ought to be recorded for those who need it. 

That’s exactly what Julia Brothers, president of our class at Middletown Township (N.J.) High School in 1974, has done. A stage actress, Julia has been cooped up in her New York City digs for a couple of weeks with the dadblamed covid-19. She offered up a Facebook diary of her daily fight; I shared it and several others did, too. Helpful information, and everyone who has read it no doubt is looking forward to the last chapter. 

We here are more fortunate, so far. 

As I wrote last week, I hope you are able and can find time to take a walk. You’ll see in this week’s newspaper a photo of bluebells; I know the photographer and I know where these particular spring flowers are, and I’m hoping it dries up enough to get down there and take a look. 

Spring is the time to catch up with nature — and given the fact that the school system, the court system and many other systems are closed for most or all of April, there is no better time. 

But you’ve got to move quickly. 

Given the dearth of other worthwhile activities, wildflower hunting now takes the No. 2 position on my Coronavirus Threat Survival List. 

Your additions to the list, and ideas for passing through this time, are welcome.

Bradley A. Martin is editor of the Hickman County Times in Tennessee.