“Love in the Time of Cholera”
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The title of this book by a Colombian Nobel prize author has been running through my head like a song ever since this virus hit our shores.  Weird, I know.  Of course,  it is not cholera or a plague but it has become a pandemic.

Published in Spanish in 1985 and into English in 1988, it is not about cholera at all and cholera was not even mentioned until late in the book.  Rather is is about love, marriage, aging and the inevitably of death as the destiny of us all.  Two young lovers, platonic only, are pulled apart by family and the girl eventually marries an older man.  They never completely lose touch over the years and reconnect when the husband dies.

It is not an easy read, but perhaps I should go back and read it again since it seems to haunt me in this life in the time of OVID19.

Husband and I are doing well as we hunker down at home in Briar Cottage.  We have the usual stock of groceries and are prepared as we would for hurricane season that starts June 1 .  I may have slipped in some extra bottles of wine.

This virus has touched all of our lives with a common thread all across the country and even to the rest of the world.  Suddenly we all face the same threat on a global scale.  The OVID19 knows no borders.  There will be pain and loss.  Life will not go back to the way it was when this pandemic ends.  Yes, we are apprehensive about the unknown and fearful about the financial impact too.  That is normal.  But we are strong together and will get through this.

May we learn from it and never take even the ordinary and routine for granted:  handshakes… hugs… going to work…enjoying a concert… sitting down in a restaurant…visiting a nursing home… exploring a museum…dropping kids off to school…shopping at Macy’s… grocery stores filled with everything we need…  gathering with friends and family in any number… and the list is endless.

Perhaps we did need a time out to be shaken from our complacency to look around and be grateful for what we have.  May the divisions that have been dividing this country be replaced with civility and the acknowledgement that we are all in this together.

Maybe love is the answer in the time of OVID19.  Take care of yourself, help others when you can and don’t lose hope or your sense of humor.  Cheers!


    • I missed your post about it but will check it out. Had not seen others posting about it. I am glad I am not alone. Getting books from the online library has been wonderful. Right now I am reading “The Goldfinch.” I would rather read than clean out closets. Wi

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  1. JoNell, so well said. You have such a gift with your words. I agree this is a nightmare. I go to bed, wake up and then realize every morning that the nightmare is still going on during the day and then again in to the night when I go back to bed.
    We have to keep our faith in God during this. Things were getting out of control every where, and in every way throughout the world.
    It is just time to slow everyone down to take time to smell the flowers.
    Thank you for posting this.


    • Thank you, Kim. It does seem like it is only a bad dream but we awake and realize it is reality. I hate watching the news but I don’t want to miss something and keep thinking it will peak soon and it will start to subside. Yet I fear it will not end as soon as we would like and have to take it day by day. Take care! What would we do without our families? Sobrina called yesterday and they are all doing ok as is Clifton. We are all Freer tough!


  2. I’ve seen several oblique references to Marquez’s book. All I can think is, “Well, I hope the real metaphor for our experience isn’t his novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude!” It’s not an easy time, and for some, like the medical personnel on the front lines, it’s an excruciatingly difficult time, but for many of us it’s not the worst of times, either. I do think that living in hurricane country helps some of us — we know this sort of drill — and memories from living in a third world country for a time certainly help me. After all, the Lebanese stores in Liberia only had Russian toilet paper — which wasn’t much different than the waxed paper we use in our kitchens. ‘Nothing’ was better than that stuff!

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    • Now I don’t know why I did not make that connection with the other book – and I read it years ago too. Yes, we on the coast are used to the hurricane drill and being without power and roughing it. We really don’t have it bad so far and have not lost power or Internet. Husband has the solar generators ready. And we have toilet paper! Waxed does not sound acceptable.Stay sane! Getting out for my walks along the bay route help me. I will miss seeing wildflowers along the highways.

      I have not read Stephen King’s book “It” but husband has and keeps reminding me of it. That is one that I do not want to read right now!

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  3. I read the book several years ago and yes it has been sitting in the forefront of my mind. May we all learn from this time in isolation from friends and family and when it is over, as over it will be, may we re-enter the world and our lives with a better sense of how to behave to others, to the world in general and to our fragile planet. Great post JoNell.

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  4. Such a meaningful post, Jo Nell. Thank you for it. Strangely, the name of that book has been in my head too, and I woke up early this morning thinking that perhaps I should reread it, as I couldn’t remember the story. Thanks for reminding me what it’s about.
    I also have thought occasionally of John Keats, the poet, and how his tuberculosis kept him from touching his girlfriend or even being near her. (social distancing thoughts). What a precarious time.


  5. Great post, Jo Nell! I agree, we will get through this, and no things won’t be the same. But that doesn’t mean they will be bad, just different. And I for one will never take my freedom to go where I want ever again, or the ability to physically connect with someone I don’t live with. It’s hard to go see my mom (although at least I get to see her) only by standing in front of her apartment building, six feet apart. We always hug hello and goodby, and it feels so weird not to….but I want to keep her safe, so there is no other choice!

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  6. Dearest Jo Nell, Your words are wise and come from the heart. Times like this we want to be close to those we love but for everyone’ s health that is not possible. Our library closed two weeks ago and like so many I’m rereading old favorites. Books like comfort food can reassure us and nourish our body and souls. Keep well, dear friend.

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  7. I agree. The current conditions are a difficult lesson for humanity as a whole. Learning what is really important, what we should be grateful for, co-existing peacefully, we are all alike as the virus can strike anyone. Happy to hear that you are your husband are doing well!

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  8. Lovely post. Isn’t it so very true that there are so many small things that we usually take for granted and like the saying that “only when the electricity goes out do we really appreciate it”, this is very much the case for so much these days. Being able to hug a friend or sit together in a group enjoying each others company, simple pleasures but now something we all have to avoid…. It is strange that humanity needs hard lessons to learn. The environment is the winner right now though and I wonder when this is “all over” and if it ever will be really over (without a cure or without a vaccine it seems somewhat unlikely) will we all go back to our polluting destructive of the planet ways?



  9. It is good to look for the positives and focus on them. Your words here I found poignant today.
    “we did need a time out to be shaken from our complacency to look around and be grateful for what we have. May the divisions that have been dividing this country be replaced with civility and the acknowledgement that we are all in this together.”
    Well said!


      • Change is all around us and constant. In a way, I have come to appreciate that, because then I know that the bad times will not last, because of the constant presence of change. It helps me to focus on what we can do in lockdown, not what we can’t. Clean out those cupboards we have been talking about doing for years, sort out our photos. And appreciate when we can finally hug someone – all the more. Love, empathy and compassion is the answer to division.

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