Bill Koch

Bill Koch


Many associate the Ides of March with the soothsayer in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Some may recall CBS cancelled The Ed Sullivan Show on that day in 1971, and 19 years ago, the World Health Organization issued a global health alert regarding a mysterious respiratory disease – SARS.

By the Ides of March 2020, COVID-19 was already moving across the country on little cat feet. Based on the CDC’s warnings, NSL moved its classes online beginning on March 16th. Over the next several weeks, and in response to the State’s and Nashville’s “Safer at Home” orders, we moved the final exams online, restricted access to the campus, instituted social distancing requirements, rescheduled graduation, and canceled our annual Recognition Dinner. To their great credit, NSL’s students and faculty have responded to these disruptions with remarkable flexibility and resilience. There have been no calls for my resignation yet.

Debby and I have been managing just fine. Debby started working at home on March 13th after the State of Tennessee decreed that its employees work remotely. She’s set up her computer in the sunroom overlooking her patio and garden. Even though she has been working longer hours, she has been able to enjoy the spring flowers and birds first hand. Among her highlights have been the return of the rose-breasted grosbeaks and Debby’s yellow peonies. I have been working at school, although without a suit, white shirt, and tie. My highlights include fewer in-person appointments and a greater proficiency with Zoom and Webex.

I am the designated shopper. However, as time has passed, there have been fewer trips to the grocery store and more reliance on delivery and take out. The Kochs heartily endorse Char, Cole’s, Kristen Winston Catering, and Jet’s Pizza. As you can see in the photos, wine and binge-watching TV shows also help. Our tastes do not always overlap. Debby gravitates toward the Hallmark Channel, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Belgravia, and Bosch. I’m caught up with Homeland and Ozarks, and I’m now working back through Rumpole of the Bailey. While we are sharing several of John Grisham’s more recent books, Debby is spending quality time with David Baldachin, and I have finished Jon Meacham’s The Hope of Glory and several books on FDR and Churchill.

The derecho on Sunday, May 3rd disrupted our “new normal.” We were among the 100,000 Nashvillians who lost power. No hot water, internet connection, HVAC, telephone, or television proved to be too much. This photo shows me and Tess and Edward (our cats) waiting in the dark for dinner. If you are ever called upon to choose between the Residence Inn in Green Hills and and its neighbor the Hilton, we heartily recommend the friendly folks at the Residence Inn. Fortunately, we were able to return home 3 days later, even if it was to a refrigerator full of spoiled food. We are awaiting estimates on a stand-by generator.

During the past several months, Debby and I have been chiefly concerned about the well-being of our family and friends. We feel fortunate that COVID-19 has not touched us or anyone close to us that we know of. While we have assembled quite a collection of face masks, we look forward to the day when we can put them aside and free ourselves of all current social distancing restrictions. If all goes as planned, August will herald a return to the classroom at NSL and the opening of another year of camaraderie at the Harry Phillips AIC. Until then, keep safe, and as Charlie Warfield frequently reminded us, “dance with your darling.”

Posted in Coronavirus Annual.