“Sounds like someone’s eating a bag of chips” — overheard on a recent Zoom call



My kindergartener has been singing “Into the Unknown” from Frozen 2 a lot lately. Some evenings, after teeth-brushing but before bedtime stories, we let her use our speaker so she can transform into Elsa, her bed becoming a castle balcony as she belts out the lyrics to that song whose title is too spot-on right now. (Thanks to my daughter, during quarantine I’ve also learned all the words to some ditty called “I Poop.”) That dance-like-nobody’s-watching cliché is true, so typically I peek through the crack where her door meets its hinges. The other night, she plopped onto her bed, caught her breath between songs. “Alexa,” she said. “When will the virus end?”


“Sorry, I’m not sure about that,” Alexa replied.


We all have stories like this, stories that wouldn’t have seemed real in early March, which, if I do the math, must’ve been almost a year ago now. Our contributing writers have been collecting such stories. Like Taylor Killough’s interview with Louisville native Cass Irvin, who has used a wheelchair since age nine when she contracted polio. Fifteen years ago she published a memoir called Home Bound. Irvin says, “I’ve been trying to pass the time by looking at the tiny things. The traffic flow is different. You see different people walking. Now couples are walking their dogs, which means they’re both home at the same time. I’m watching how the leaves change, the robin’s eggs hatching in the nest in our gutter. The chipmunks in the yard become extremely entertaining because when you have time to sit and watch a chipmunk for a while, it’s just like a Walt Disney cartoon.


“I hate the expression ‘this too will pass,’ but I had an aunt who always said that, and I keep hearing her voice throughout all this. Because of course it does pass. Just keep breathing in and out. That’s really all we can do. Just don’t breathe in and out on each other too much.” We want to hear from anybody affected by this pandemic — which is to say everybody. Which is to say you. I think about how Irvin has been spending her days and wonder: What’s something unexpected that has given you joy during quarantine? Please forward to others. And please let me know what you’d like to see more or less of in future newsletters.


Josh Moss
Editor, Louisville Magazine


1. Read Jonathan Bullington’s front-page C-J piece about the Wednesday funeral for 81-year-old Barbarac Jean Wilding, who died alone in a hospital not long after contracting COVID-19. I can’t stop seeing Alton Strupp’s photo of the white casket inside a Dixie Highway funeral home, a tissue box beneath each

empty, socially distanced chair.


2. “I don’t believe any restaurant can sustain more than a month or two without revenue. There will always be restaurants but over the past few decades, the independent restaurant industry in America has made incredible strides and we have become an essential member of each community, and I worry that we may lose this incredible momentum that took a generation to build.” — Edward Lee in a Business First Q&A


3. Food & Dining Magazine , in collaboration with Louisville Tourism, is still compiling a comprehensive database of restaurants doing carryout or delivery. The other night my kids got to try Holy Grale for the first time, out of takeout containers at our kitchen counter. Burgers, pommes frites, pretzel loaves with beer cheese. “Oh, my gosh,” my daughter said, “why are you closing your eyes every time you take a bite of this food?” Ooh, and as of yesterday: El Mundo is taking online orders for curbside pick-up. The limited menu includes pre-packaged margaritas. We just might make it through this!


4. Next Saturday, on what would have been Derby Day, Churchill Downs will host a computer-simulated race with the 13 horses who have won the Triple Crown, to raise money for COVID relief efforts. Brandon Quick, who writes about horseracing for Louisville Magazine, is going with 1948 winner Citation, though “I’m sure” Secretariat will win. “Citation was the Babe Ruth of horseracing,” he says.


5. Our friends at Kertis Creative need you for a documentary they’re working on called Louisville Films Itself, which will tell the story of the day-to-day lives of Louisvillians during the pandemic, through self-shot phone footage. About 25 people have already started filming. “The most powerful contributions we’ve had are from people who are willing to talk us through how the pandemic has altered their everyday routines and rituals,” says Ben Freedman, who’s leading the project.


We asked the Kertis team about how they’re surviving quarantine:

Comfort-food dish?

“I’m on an all-Oreo diet.” — Wesley


Song recommendation?

“I heard Otis Jr. play Outkast’s ‘B.O.B.’ on WFPK the other night as I was heading to the store to buy ham for my kids. The only deli meat they had left was corned beef. Hearing the song for the first time in ages made the trip totally worth it.” — Casey


Movie recommendation?

“A Goodfellas re-watch will keep in perspective that at least you’re not being hunted and slaughtered by a mob boss.” — Mackenzie


What do you miss about your normal routine?

“I normally don’t like driving, but surprisingly I miss needing to drive places. I didn’t realize how it helped me sit in one place with only one thing to focus on.” — Clara



“Working out my thumbs with PlayStation.” — A.T.


Silver lining?

“Real conversations, via FaceTime or good old-fashioned phone calls, have replaced most text conversations. It’s reminiscent of middle school, when I would talk on the phone for hours with one of my friends or patch in multiple friends.” — Chelsae


Which restaurant will you eat at first once we’re allowed to again?

“Al Hamra, the Mediterranean buffet in Mid City Mall. It seems buffets will have a particularly difficult time through the shutdown, but I’ll be happy to support them once they open again.” — Sawyer


What has inspired you?

“I’ve seen the same grandparents on their daily walk stop to visit their family from the sidewalk. It’s really sweet to see their granddaughter air-hug them goodbye.” — Chelsae



Louisville Magazine turned 70 last month, and for the March issue — the magazine’s 826th — our editors plunged into our archive of black-leather-bound volumes. These photos of local celebrities in swimsuits (a Porcini waiter, ballet dancers and meteorologist John Belski among them), for a March 1993 cover shoot with “splashing results,” didn’t make it into our 70th-anniversary issue, but something about an indoor beach seems fitting given the times.


May 12, 2020