Granny has been feeling like everything is Topsy Turvy these days. She is sure her readers feel the same; we are social people, travel people, entertainment people, a commute- to- work people, team sports people, group education people. All of those things have been turned upside down. And that can be a little scary.
Granny Hat has been afraid of many things in her life; Iguanas (she hates them because of a childhood incident in a very buggy, snake infested, tropical foreign country), Communists (comes from walking back and forth to school every day during the Cold War and wondering which house she could run to for help if the communists invaded), something in the garage at night etc. Reader, you get the idea, Granny has always been a scaredy cat with an imagination. War, terrorists, flunking a test, getting fired; these are all common fears Americans face. But it has been many generations since we have feared something so greatly that we fall into step with government mandates, actually stay away from our loved ones, stop meeting to worship, close sporting events and concerts. The Corona Virus has turned us upside down. We the (independent) people who come and go as we please, with the right to choose and the right to work and the right to identify however we want, we are stuck at home waiting and watching behind the curtains.
Granny Hat and her siblings grew up listening to an old Happy Time vinyl record called Tubby the Tuba. It had captivating songs on it like Toy Town Choo Choo, Slippity Slide, the Davey Crockett March and Topsy Turvy Town. We were very easily entertained. We didn’t have a TV. (Can we even imagine going through this “shelter in place” thing with no TV?) Granny can’t find anything about this old LP on google but guesses it was circulated in the mid 60’s. Here are the lyrics, Granny boldfaced the parts that seem to ring true right now.
When you look to the front, you see to the rear. (in Topsy Turvy Town)
When you open your eyes, that’s when you can hear. (in Topsy Turvy Town)
And things that look far away really are near in Topsy Turvy Town!
When you say “come on in” you mean “go away”! (in Topsy Turvy Town)
When the sun starts to rise, that’s the end of the day! (in Topsy Turvy Town)
And Santa Claus comes in the middle of May in Topsy Turvy Town!
Everyone in Topsy Turvy Town wears shoes up on their head!
And when they rise to greet the day, they jump back into bed!
All the trees are so short and the grass is so tall. (in Topsy Turvy Town)
And when they run a race, they run at a crawl. (in Topsy Turvy Town)
They call it a crowd when there’s no one at all in Topsy Turvy Town!
Everyone in Topsy Turvy Town will laugh when they are sad,
But you should see the teardrops fall whenever they are glad!
When the bells start to ring, the clock is run down. (in Topsy Turvy Town)
All the cows are true blue and the river is brown. (in Topsy Turvy Town)
The mayor wears rags and the beggar a crown in Topsy Turvy Town!
Granny wonders about that last line, surely a social 1960’s message there! But then, our current problems know no caste, race or level of education. Rich or poor, famous or humble, righteous or wicked, we all are at the mercy of a very small nemesis. We are big and powerful; surely we should be able to take on the tiniest of enemies, a microscopic virus! Elephants are afraid of mice and that is Topsy Turvy!
In the middle of all the confusion, Granny wonders what happened to some very common American things like:
The daily environmental report with concerns about plastic straws, global warming and fracking; Granny bought bamboo straws for Christmas stocking stuffers and found a bamboo toothbrush that Santa left in her sock. Are we still concerned about the turtles? Granny hopes so! These very important talking points have all but disappeared in the wake of Covid19. Of course, Americans ARE obsessed with Tiger King, keeping the provocative issues alive and well.
And speaking of Santa, Granny wonders if the “jolly old elf” had anything at all to do with the spread of the virus, he was in and out of everyone’s homes at a very critical time. If we aren’t going to blame China, then Granny suggests Santa could be the culprit.
Granny Hat and dad also noticed the other day that boiler room ROBO calls have ceased, like suddenly ceased! Were all those people just fired the minute we were told to stay home? Seems Topsy Turvy to Granny; most of us have time to talk to random people on the phone now, take election surveys and hear about insurance estimates and they aren’t calling!
Shopping bags! Granny felt guilted along with everyone else into starting a new habit and added re-usable shopping totes to her bag lady collection. She actually believes in the campaign, Granny is very on board with re-purpose, re-use. It has only been a few months since she stopped forgetting to take them to the store though and now, they are “verboten”. Granny does love paper shopping bags, they feel vintage and make the best trash can liners and totes.
Education is all Topsy Turvy now too! Granny remembers when homeschooling was pretty weird and outside the box. She was told that socialization was very important and kids couldn’t live without it; now they can’t live WITH it. Teachers are reduced to tiny screens and are being very creative. Granny knows a music teacher in Hollister, CA that has her students playing the Star Spangled Banner on their respective instruments every evening at 6:30. The photos are so cute and encouraging. Granny is convinced that even when we are upside down, we can grow and bloom.
How about the price of gas? It is finally affordable to travel but we really shouldn’t. That certainly is Topsy Turvy. Dad had to make a trip for essential business supplies to Southern CA and he noticed some interesting things. Los Angeles is known for its smog, the traffic, its smog, those tall buildings, its smog, the entertainment industry and its smog. Granny has it on good authority that the smog is nearly gone and there’s little – to – no traffic. The buildings are still there, empty icons of power and success.
For the first time in our history, Americans cannot lighten their burdens with live entertainment. The World Wars birthed great comedy, musical theater, art and variety shows which lifted spirits across the fruited plains. Granny worries we might become even more addicted to our screens because of all this but loves the families posting their own living room musical performances on YouTube. Creativity is a gift we were created with, good to see the silly smiles in photos and hear the laughter in the videos.
We really are Topsy Turvy! And sometimes it looks good on us. Granny Hat is happy to report that in her community, she sees even more families biking, walking, planting gardens together and playing games. After her last post about the Burpee Backorders and Victory Gardens, Granny had a friend offer her some organic seeds from another friend who had plenty. Granny and her friends are sharing recipes and baking supplies. It is like a long drawn out May Day though, where people leave something on the front porch, ring the doorbell and run away!
Granny Hat needs to admit that she has done her share of complaining about having to work and be responsible, faithful in little things. If only we could stay home and sleep in! If only I didn’t have to drive every day to go to work. I need some “me time”, my plate is too full, and I need to learn how to say “no”, boundaries and all that! Well, suddenly we have boundaries, enforced boundaries. Suddenly work is a gift; a schedule keeps us productive and responsible. A job seems like a luxury now. And we truly miss the annoying people we had to put up with at work.
Granny’s campus pastor at SVVC church is always encouraging his parishioners to be faithful at church, to be excited about fellowshiping and worshiping together. He’s going to get his wish; everyone is counting down the days until they can drag themselves out of bed on a Sunday morning and go to church! And without Sunday – go – to – meeting on the calendar, Granny isn’t even sure what day of the week it is! She needs a reminder of all these things and if being Topsy Turvy teaches us anything, let it be that we aren’t invincible and we need each other desperately. And that freedom of worship is a tremendous gift.
We lost Bill Withers this week, his beloved song is perfect for our times:
Lean on me, when you’re not strong,
And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on,
For it won’t be long ‘til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on.
Please swallow your pride, if you have things you need to borrow….
You just call on me brother, when you need a hand,
We all need someone to lean on.
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand.
We all need someone to lean on.