A Coronavirus Chronicle #19

Subtitle: Fat meat and grease

My grandmother, Audia Mae Hoard Roberts, was our family matriarch. We called her “Mom.” As I child, I would watch Mom take chunks of fatback (the hard fat from the pig’s back or spinal region; as distinct from the soft fat from around the abdominal area) and grind it into her meatloaf, flavor her collard greens and black-eyed peas, or, as a special treat, fry it to produce pork rinds, cracklin’s (for, drawn fresh from the hot oil, they crackled).

As she cooked, she sang. I can hear her lovely contralto voice lending praise to her Lord and Master. Among her (and, thus, my) favorites, “Great is Thy faithfulness”, “Go Down, Moses”, and “Ain’t Got Time to Die.”

Betwixt her offerings of hymnic acclaim, my grandmother would share words of wisdom. Sometimes as a direct message to my brother Wayne and me. Sometimes, it seemed to us, emanating from some deep inner place, she, recalling a moment or a person in time, was bidden to say (often prefaced by her mildly spoken oath, “Lord, have mercy”), “Some folks don’t believe fat meat is greasy.”

My brother and I knew fat meat was greasy. Initially, we had no clue as to her meaning. And she never explained. Nevertheless, by virtue of the seeming necessity of her having to repeat this observation, we discerned that “some folks” in life, ignoring what is obvious to even the casual observer, continually make bad choices that fly in the face of prior warnings of dire consequences.

And I confess, at times (more than I care to remember!), I have been numbered among “some folks.” ‘Twas so again when my most recent COVID-19 test returned “positive.”

For more than a year, throughout the advent and, now, sickening and deadly staying power of the ever-mutating coronavirus, I have sought to be scrupulous in practicing our new global protocols of relational safety. Physical distancing, avoiding large groups (and, when in groups, only for brief periods), mask-wearing (often doubled and sometimes accompanied by gloved hands), and frequent handwashing.

Recently, out-and-about, I, perhaps suffering from a moment of COVID-fatigue of self-imposed social isolation, relaxed my observance of discipline. I have no excuse. I am too old to have some (any!) sense of my immortality or my immunity from contagion. And I blame no one else.

Blessedly, at least, so far, in the 10th day of a two-week home-quarantine, my symptoms are mild. I trust I shall recover. And throughout these days of deepened, repeated reflection, I, spontaneously and audibly, have said: “Mom, once again, your grandson had to learn that fat meat is greasy!”

© 2021 PRA

10 thoughts on “A Coronavirus Chronicle #19

  1. Paul,

    So you know how you always say to me “take greatest care”? I’ll say that to you now… AND I also want to add “don’t make me have to come down there!” (which my grandmother used to say all the time!!) to ensure you stay vigilant at all times!!!

    There aren’t enough words to say how happy I am that your symptoms are mild….but even so, being positive is just as scary thing.

    Please know that I have been and will continue to pray for your continued healing and full recovery!!

    Love you!


    1. Loretta, your post reminds me of the words of that old song, something to the effect of “what you’ve said to me, I, now, play back to you.” Thanks and I am taking greatest care. We’ve quarantined and self-isolated one from another. It’s a different kind of in-house adventure! And, yes, being positive is a scary thing (I was disappointed when the results came back). Nevertheless, again, I’m grateful my symptoms have been mild and, today, I feel symptomless.

      Now, having been reminded of how greasy fat meat is, I will re-double my efforts to take greatest care. I pronounce no judgment on what others do (although some seem, perhaps, even, doubtless, are less careful!).

      Thanks again for your care with love,


  2. Dear Paul,

    Everything Loretta just said! I’m so sorry to hear that you have tested positive! I don’t like thinking of you at risk for any bad illness. How is Pontheolla? I pray your symptoms remain mild and fully disappear fast and that Pontheolla escapes it entirely. Please keep us posted.

    My family’s version of “Some folks don’t believe fat meat is greasy!”was “Some people don’t believe cow horns will hook!”

    Ted and I are sending you many healing thoughts and sending out many prayers for healing as well. Please be well, my friend. Take it easy.

    Much love to you,



    1. Karen, Pontheolla was first and, surely, I picked it up from her. Still, when I wrote this post, I simply chose to speak of my experience. Her symptoms are a bit more lasting, though she, too, is headed toward recovery. (That is, as far as either of us can tell. For we’ve heard/read and know of the experiences of others that have been and are more enduring with symptoms arising later and affecting different bodily systems.)

      “Some people don’t believe cow horns will hook!” Priceless!



  3. Paul, first of all my prayers are with you and your speedy recovery. Your post has me reminiscing about my mom and grandma who would sing as they cooked. I have often heard “fat meat is greasy” Don’t forget that!😃
    Take care of yourself.


    1. Thank you, Susan. Regarding self-care, Pontheolla and I are doing as well and, now, as best as we can. Love you, dear sister. Again, my thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Paul,

    Both Ted and I send our best healing thoughts to and prayers for Pontheolla too. We pray that neither of you have any lingering effects or recurrences of symptoms. Emilia had the virus in October, was mild to moderately ill, has recovered, but still has occasional headaches that are clearly COVID-related. Also took quite a while to recover her sense of smell. May you both be spared any of that.

    One good thing, I guess. You only need one vaccination now?

    Love, again.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. A most enjoyable read about a universal subject and concerning a highly admired clergyman and friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, my dear brother Fred. You are most kind to me and I appreciate it…and you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Bless you and thank you, dear Karen and Ted. Now, on day 12 of our 2-week quarantine, both Pontheolla and I fare better; tho’ Pontheolla’s symptoms of congestion and cough persist. Now, if and when only we could secure for her an appointment to be vaccinated!

    Please, share with Emilia our care and concern. Many are folk we have known (and, doubtless, this reality is true for all of us) who, having contracted the virus, endure continuing symptomatic signs of its presence and power. We pray her complete healing.


    Liked by 1 person

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