Some Small Comforts

Today I am going to take a break from writing about the coronavirus pandemic and focus on a few good things. How? Let me count the ways.

First things first: I started the morning with cinnamon toast made from homemade bread. Also, a mug of tea featuring one of my favorite dogs.

This year, March 19 is the first day of spring, the earliest in my memory. While in Maine rough winds might not exactly be shaking the darling buds of March, the snow is pretty much gone from our yard. Yesterday, Clif took down the Christmas lights, and he didn’t even have to clamber over a snowbank to do so. I swept the patio, removing piles of dead leaves and dirt. It might not be time to bring out the chairs and tables, but it sure is good to see a clean patio with just a little itty-bit of snow left. More like mid-April than mid-March.

Our library is closed because of a certain virus I promised not to write about. Has that deterred our intrepid adult-services librarian, Nick Perry, who leads the library’s book group and trivia night at Van der Brew? It has not. Nick has started a virtual book club and movie club.

Our first book will be Somerset Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence. I Haven’t even started the book, but just from reading the description, my feminist alarm is already shrieking. Should be a good discussion.

The movie is going to be The Hours, which is based on the book by Michael Cunningham. Clif and I have already seen this movie and liked it very much. However, we saw it ten years ago when the movie first came out, and we will have to watch it again to refresh our memories.

Not content with these two nuggets of awesomeness, Nick has made a video of several movies that he likes and that are available on Kanopy, a library streaming service. Holy cats, Nick is good! His observations are right on the mark, and his delivery and pacing are pitch perfect. Nick is so good that he could be on NPR. Watch out Bob Mondello! But don’t take my word for it. You can see for yourself on this video.


If you are unable to get Kanopy through your library, many of the movies Nick recommended are available through other streaming sources.

Finally, today is Clif’s and my forty-third wedding anniversary. We will obviously be spending a very quiet one at home. Because I am a committed homebody, this is just fine with me. We have cake in the freezer, pizza, and rum for cocktails.

Tonight, we’ll settle down with one of Nick’s suggestions, Ernest & Celestine.

Small comforts in troubled times.



53 thoughts on “Some Small Comforts”

  1. Happy anniversary! Our libraries are also closed, but we too have Kanopy and other clunkily-spelled things. I loved the short stories of Somerset Maugham when i read them decades ago, although in retrospect a lot of feminist feelings would be unlikely to accept some of the things–then again, taken as ukeyo-e, pictures of a moment, those were some sexist racist classist moments back in the 1930s. Enjoy!

      1. There was that famous Agatha Crhistie mystery title, which is now Ten Little Indians–it used to be Ten Little [N-words], same time period, during the US Depression and between world wars over there–

      2. Holy cats! I have read some light fiction from the 1930s where the N-word was used casually for comedic effect. A good reminder that there has been progress even though it’s fitful, in stops and starts and even a few steps.

      3. I was mistaken about the name they changed it to: And Then There Were None. Apparently it was named after a minstrel song. The book itself is very creepy in that it is a sort of tontine, in that the last person alive inherits everything, so whoever the badguy is makes the others kill themselves and all that kind of stuff–

  2. Happy Anniversary!! Enjoyed reading about some small comforts and I have found myself seeking small comforts like rewatching favorite movies with a glass of my favorite wine. We were talking about bringing out our deck furniture next week and I hope this is our last cold weekend. Enjoy the pizza, rum and movie!!

  3. Happy Anniversary! Hope you had a lovely evening. And how lovely to have such community spirit where you are. Our Prime Minister has urged us all to be kind to each other. An excellent message.

  4. Happy, happy anniversary! Yes, we have to seek comforts in small things. I use to enjoy cinnamon toast as a child so I smiled when I saw yours. Since, we’re staying positive today, I’ll refrain from telling you about my trip to the grocery store this afternoon, and focus on the positive which was a DD drive through for coffee and munchkins. Happy Thursday, friend.

  5. Have a wonderful anniversary evening. You certainly have all the goodies necessary. That discussion of ten little Indians reminds me of “eenie meanie miney mo “.We now say” catch a tiger by the toe”. Not in the original…

  6. Happy Anniversary! Wishing you a nice, quiet celebration at home.
    I look forward to checking out the movie recommendations. I really enjoyed ‘The Bookshop’ and ‘Lady Bird’ recently on Kanopy. We’re rediscovering many of the simpler pleasures of life. πŸ™‚

    1. Many thanks! We, too, enjoyed “The Bookshop” and “Ladybird.” Last night we watched “Ernest & Celestine.” Charming, moving, fun, and with a message. Can’t ask for more than that from an animated film. Or, a cartoon as we used to call them.

  7. Happy happy anniversary to you and Clif dear Laurie! Enjoy your special evening and here’s to many more happy and healthy years together πŸ€—πŸ’–πŸŽ‰ xxx

  8. Happy Anniversary to you and Clif! 43 years sounds like a lot of comfort. I have a book to recommend to you but I don’t know how easy it would be to find (even if the library had been open). Here goes anyway: Porius By John Cowper Powys. One for your list.

    1. Many thanks! I have put Porius on my list. I bet it will be available as an ebook, and I can read it on my husband’s tablet. I prefer paper books, but I see the time is coming when I will soon need my own tablet.

      1. It’s very rare I recommend books. I don’t think you’ll find an ebook, and should warn you that an Amazon review says the first 200 pages are a bit hard going, but I don’t remember seeing it that way and truly think you would find it memorable. My edition is an old one – Village Press, 682 pages, 1974 and apparently there is a longer version. I have never quite got to grips with any other books of his.

  9. I hope you and Clif enjoyed your quiet anniversary celebration. And will enjoy your virtual book club. I think most librarians are amazing people. Nick certainly fits that image.

    1. We enjoyed it very much. I’m looking forward to both the virtual book club and the virtual movie club. Librarians are indeed amazing people. Ours have sure hit the ground running, and I really appreciate it.

  10. Sometimes small comforts are all that’s needed. I’m sure you’ve had comforts small and large over the years — anniversaries are good times to reflect on them, as well as to share a little rum and pizza. Oh — and cake! There’s nothing like cake!

    I was interested to find out about Kanopy, too. I hadn’t heard of it. Our library’s also closed, but I think I remember reading that the librarians are accessible online. I’ll check it out.

  11. Happy Anniversary! Such a lovely way to spend it, with books and movies and your favourite guy by your side. We would do just the same. (I used to enjoy Somerset Maugham’s books, but now I would also struggle with the attitudes of the time.

    1. Thanks so much! I started reading “The Moon & Sixpence.” Very weird opening, but so far, not too sexist. We shall see. There are glimmers of problems to come. πŸ˜‰

  12. Happy anniversary! Our library is closed too, and I just about had a panic attack when it suddenly closed. I would have stocked up much more if I had foreseen the closure. (While everyone was out buying toilet paper, I would have been stocking up on books!) I might have to try reading on a tablet again.

    1. One must have one’s priorities. In a pinch, a washcloth will do the trick. But there is no substitution for books. Read on, friend! Use that tablet. I don’t have one, but my husband does. I think the time is soon coming when I will have one of my own.

  13. Happy anniversary–belated, of course. Your Nick at the library is something. That set of reviews is masterful. Let’s just hope we can all stay home and enjoy it for a while. I may have to have cinnamon toast tomorrow.

Comments are closed.