Season 5 | Episode 3 – “Late April 2020”
It’s late April in St. Josephines and the Bordelons continue to figure to try to figure out how to live with COVID. Times are starting to get rough. The April 1 date that we thought would mark the end of this virus has come and gone. And we still here.
RALPH ANGEL + DARLA
RA prepares for another day on the farm, while listening to the radio. It’s all bad news. Farmers and the farming industry will take a big hit because of COVID. Crops like sugar cane require mills to grind it, and those mills are closed. RA makes calls to his employees to break that news that there won’t be a harvest this year, but that he will call them back to work as soon as he can. He also finds about people who have tested positive. It’s sad on so many levels. RA takes a seat on the porch and looks out at all of his cane. It’s the same spot that Ernest chose back in Episode 1. RA is now in the same position that his father once was. How will he take care of every thing when bringing in a crop isn’t an option?
Later that day, RA and Darla are dealing with all of the COVID bs. Darla made a trip to the store and got whatever she could find. She managed to get toilet tissue and a bunch of other random stuff that they will have to try to make complete dinners out of. And now they have to wash the groceries. And Blue is catching up on his school work because the wifi at the farm is slow and not reliable. RA says that if the school is requiring that the students be online, shouldn’t they make sure that all of their students have access? And this 2 minute scene sums up so many COVID issues. RA tells Darla that he spent the day basically laying off his people because he had to do it. Darla asks him about getting a crop loan, but the banks are not giving out loans for farms right now and he’s actually happy that he hadn’t harvested his crop because it would have been a waste of time and money. And even though things are looking bad, RA still has a positive outlook. Next year, the soil will be richer, and they can make up for what they lost this year. The land will take care of them. Darla is impressed with RA’s positive attitude and she gets to calculating how much money they have and how long it will last him. Since he didn’t harvest, they have a little money from that. But that’s about it. Darla wants to know if maybe RA would consider asking Charley for a loan? Now you know RA ain’t about to do that! He said he’s not asking Charley for anything. And I get it. But I couldn’t help strolling through memory lane on this one. There was a time when RA was on Charley’s payroll so that he could satisfy his payroll requirements. Back then, he felt entitled to it, so I guess there’s been growth. And then there was that time when he told them about the will and Charley asked him how he was going to manage it all, if she wasn’t funding the farm. And he was like…Imma do what I gotta do…and then the next day he was calling Vi because Charley was ignoring his calls and because the bills were piling up on the table. So again, growth. I been picking up a renewed anti-Charley vibe from RA this season, so the thought of him going to Charley is a no go. I wouldn’t put it past Darla to go to Charley tho. Who knows how bad things will get for RA and Darla? Anyway, he tells Darla to trust him and they will figure it out. So Darla snaps out of it and tries to be positive. She’s not working right now because her office is closed, but there’s a meeting soon and hopefully she will be able to go back and get paid. Her check will definitely help out. RA tells her they got this! They just gotta believe. And I want to believe. I really do. But I don’t feel good about this.
The next morning, Darla is assisting Blue with virtual school and his math packet before getting to her meeting. RA is kinda anxious for her to get to that meeting and he tells Darla that he will take care of Blue and his schooling for the day. Plus, they only have 1 computer, and Darla has to be on it. Yet another COVID issue. Darla is concerned about Blue getting behind, but RA isn’t. Shocker.
Later, Darla learns that she has been laid off. There was an outbreak at her office and so they shut the whole thing down. She furloughed for now. Benefits, but no checks. She is only getting a check for 2 weeks. And with that, some tough decisions have to be made. With the quickness, RA puts his tractor up for sale. He is asking $8500.00 for it because that’s what it’s worth. The dude who wants to buy it is lowballing him, but RA hangs in there with the negotiation. The guy tells him he can give him $7000 in cash and RA sells it. *insert sad emoji here*
RA tells Darla that he sold his tractor but it didn’t even put a dent in the bills. He won’t be able to harvest this year. It is what it is. His daddy struggled, and now he is too. But he won’t let his pride get in the way of supporting his family. Now…at this point, I was happy that RA was ready to put pride aside and pivot to Plan B. But it was also at this point that I kinda wanted him to reach out to his family. Darla isn’t happy with the way things are happening and she says that she is going to get another job. RA says that he is going to get a job too! He can’t control things, but he can control his reaction to them. But…who’s hiring during a pandemic? Darla heard that nursing homes are, but it’s a risk. Ughhhhhhhhh! Yall. I want RA to get a job…but not that one.
Of course the nursing home called him for an interview for the position of custodian. And that’s when my heart broke into pieces. The same job that Ernest got in secret to take care of his family, is the same job that RA is attempting to get to take care of his family. *insert deep sigh here*. The interviewer wants to be certain that RA knows what he’s getting into. He’s a farmer and used to being his own boss. This is a serious job and is not one to undertake just because he is having some money issues. Ain’t nothing glamorous about this. They need somebody who wants to be of service. And then RA pulls a page out of the playbook that Charley left with Darla. He tells the interviewer why she needs him. He talks about his father and how he had to do the same thing that his father had to do. He is a hardworker. And yeah, his money is funny (in fact, it’s hilarious) but he is CHOOSING to be here. He IS a boss so he knows what a good employee looks like. He’s here to solve her problems. That’s a Charley line right there. And just like that, he got the job. He starts on Monday. And I want to celebrate, but I can’t. Because I know what happened in those nursing homes, especially in the beginning of the pandemic. Yall pray for RA.
Monday is here and RA is ready for his first day of work and Darla clowns him about his lineup. With no barbershops open, it’s been rough. LOL. He’s just glad to have a check coming in. Darla has taken up sewing. I am not sure if this is a new COVID hobby, an old hobby or a way for her to make money making masks. We shall see. And with that he heads out looking just like Ernest. *fights air*
Over at Nova and Calvin’s spot, they are looking real cozy during this quarantine. Calvin admits that their time in quarantine has been ah-mazing, even though he feels bad for saying it. They both realize their privilege because while they are playing house, people are struggling.
Nova is finally using her powers for good. Tru Papers has mobilized to create care packages that they are delivering to the folks who need them. They are “love in action.” She and Calvin are handling lots of the deliveries themselves. Glad to see them being what the community needs.
Nova’s last drop-off of the day was to Mr. Prosper. She brought him food and essentials. Prosper has been in his house alone and watching nothing but the news. He seems not happy to see Nova and tells her to drop off the stuff and get out. At first I thought Prosper might have daRona and didn’t want to spread it. But it’s actually more like depression. He just doesn’t want to be bothered by anybody.
Mr. Prosper got Nova all in her feelings. When she gets home, she lights candles and prays for Prosper. She knows that he’s lonely and in despair. She wants to remove that for him. They are 6 weeks into the quarantine and Prosper has been alone for all that time. All he’s done is watch the news and stay locked up in his house. How is he to process that? How are any of us supposed to process that? Everybody is dealing with their own issues. Calvin tells Nova that his kids are struggling. Nova didn’t know. And now I got questions. They have been in the house together for 6 weeks and he never told Nova about his kids’ struggles? They don’t talk about them? Oh. Ok.
Nova hasn’t given up on Prosper. She calls. And although Prosper hadn’t been picking up the phone, he finally does (probably out of pure annoyance). Now that Nova has him on the phone, she tells him that she’s worried about him. She tells him that we are all going through it. She has a job for Prosper. She’s working on a story and she wants to get his input. He perks up almost immediately and I was both happy and sad. Prosper was really depressed and Nova found a way to get through to him and give him hope. I guess she’s good for something.
Charley is in full councilwoman mode in her home office. She’s on a Zoom with the folks who make the decision for St. Jo. They have some real problems. They were not able to adequately fund their hospitals before the pandemic, and they aren’t able to get any funds to do so now. The hospitals are at capacity and they have a makeshift hospital in the parking lot. At this point, they cannot afford for people to NOT adhere to the guidelines and stay at home orders. People need to stay home and only essential workers need to be out. But, what’s essential? As it stands, several businesses in St. Jo are still “in the process” of closing. Charley was like…ummmm “in the process?” Many of these folks will not give up their businesses that they have spent their lives building. Or at least they won’t give them up without a fight. On this call was Jackson (our daily reminder that all skinfolk ain’t kinfolk) and he is the azz that he always is. He says that he should be in the Bahamas but he is here on this janky call. And then he calls out Vi’s restaurant for not being in compliance with the shut down orders. He passed by there and saw some “activity.” Well, what you not gon’ do is slander Aunt Vi. Charley broke it down for him. Excuse me, Kneegrow?! Violet Bordelon is doing more for this community than you ever will. Calm your azz down and do your job. And then Jackson left the meeting because he wasn’t about to stick around and catch some smoke. And then we all had a moment where we could relate to Charley and working from home. She was badazz councilwoman on the top with a blazer and cami, and pandemic wear (pj’s and slippers) on the bottom. My life.
Charley found her pants and went over to Vi’s to check in. Since Jackson was so quick to call Vi out, Charley had to go make sure things were still on the up and up over there. Vi said that they are making care packages for people who can’t get out. Charley wants to make sure that Nova and Calvin are still doing the contactless deliveries, which they are. And Vi got a small attitude about it and told Charley she knows the rules…and calls her Councilwoman Bordelon. LOL. Charley was like…it ain’t me…it’s the state. Vi was like…oh…Louisiana is concerned? The same state that stopped accepting applications for small business relief? That one? Charley says that she’s working to help get the backlog cleared, but the health inspector is snooping around and shutting folks down and she is just trying to give Vi a heads up. Vi backs off and thanks Charley. But Vi is getting impatient. How long will this last? People need people. Charley leans in and I think she really wanted to hold Vi’s hands, but couldn’t and that made me sad. Vi changes the subject and asks how Micah’s doing. He’s coming home and Charley is smiling. Her smile is so big that I could tell she was smiling behind the mask. Her eyes were filled with delight at the thought of her baby boy being under her roof by nightfall. Vi brings her back to reality real quick. Good luck, girl. It won’t be the same. You have a college kid now. He’s grown and he’s been on his own. Things gon be real different. You just watch.
Charley comes home and is welcomed by Micah and his dorm room ways. Yall know Charley keeps a clean house. Micah got trash everywhere and chillin on the phone with his boys. Charley overlooks it all and welcomes him home. She’s glad to have him back and happy he’s safe and sound. In a few days, she will get him a test so they don’t have to wear masks around each other. And I remembered how hard it used to be to even get tested for daRona. *le sigh* Charley promised Micah that she would respect his boundaries and she is standing by that – for now. She tells Micah that she is an adult, he is an adult and it’s all good. Micah was like…all good? And Charley was like… alllllll goooooooood. I cackled. Charley is trying so hard. Bless her. Charley asks him what he wants for dinner. And I was like…since when does Charley cook? We been knowing her for at least four years and ain’t never seen her make nothing but tea. Ok. Back to the story. Micah says he was just gonna go out for a drive, drop by a friend’s house, clear his mind. And I started bracing myself for the first fight. Charley reminded him that he agreed to the quarantine rules. There will be no kicking it with other folks and that includes Keke. Keke? Oh, it will be easy to not kick it with her. She broke up with me *record scratch* I knew that was coming, but I didn’t think it would happen so fast. Charley is shocked. She really wants more details, but all Micah would say is that the relationship ran its course and Keke has another boyfriend. I ain’t even mad at Keke. Micah is a lot and the new Micah was probably somebody she didn’t want to put up with. Micah doesn’t wanna get into it. He tells her that he will eat whatever she makes and runs upstairs.
Micah is laying up in his room talking to some new chic when Charley comes in to see if he needs anything. New chic heard Charley’s voice and went into full fangirl mode. Oh my God Micah is that your mom? I love her. Micah was like…she’s obsessed with you. Please say hey and make her day. Charley was like…who is this? What is going on here? But she obliges and says hello. New chic is in heaven and Charley has done her motherly duty for the day. New chic goes on about how good Charley looks and about all of her magazine covers, etc. Micah tells new chic that he can’t wait to spend more time with her and she wants the same. Now…yall know Micah is on the rebound and loves Keke. I see all kinds of disasters waiting to happen on this one.
VI + HOLLYWOOD
At Vi’s restaurant, they are packaging to-go orders for their customers. Hollywood says that between Vi’s having to shut down and his place never having a chance to open, it’s been the most challenging test he has ever had. I have a feeling that this won’t be, but for now Hollywood thinks it is. Nonetheless, they look on the bright side. Vi was able to prepare all the food in her freezer before it went bad and the people of St. Jo get fed. It’s a win. Hollywood’s mama calls and it looks like he’s been doing his best to take care of her from afar and sending her packaged of vitamins (Vitamin D because we need that), Benadryl and anything else she might need. I love a man who takes care of his mama.
At the house, Wood is cooking dinner for Vi since she’s been working so hard at the diner. He’s face-timing his mama who is telling him all about how she is about to play virtual Bridge with her girlfrans. But Willa Mae has a terrible cough. Wood is concerned but she says that everything ain’t daRona. That’s true…but I think this IS daRona. Mama tells him not to worry and mind his business. I don’t know folks. I don’t like this.
My feeling was right. Days later, Hollywood is trying to get in contact with his mama, but can’t. He calls her friend, who hasn’t talked to her either but she will go check in and see what’s going on. Hollywood is worried yall, and I am too. The friend was able to look in on Willa Mae. She’s lethargic, but ok. It’s not sitting well with Wood. Vi tells him to go on to Baton Rouge and check on his mama and put his mind at ease. They are also trying to get in touch with Prosper who is not answering his phone either. Thank God that Nova talked to him later. Because as I said before, I will flip some dayum tables if anything happens to MY Mr. Prosper.
Per the usual, I got observations, questions and concerns:
On Councilman Jackson: Who is this dude? Where did he come from? Why is he like this? Does Landry have him in his pocket? Is he working for and/or with Parker to block Charley’s every move? This dude is wearing me slap out! I need answers.
On Keke and Micah: I don’t feel bad for Micah. At all. The writing was on the wall and Keke ain’t never been the one to put up with extra foolishness from Micah. He didn’t tell her about his pledging. He didn’t tell her about the probate. He questioned her about smoothie man, while he was dancing with other girls openly. Over a month has passed since we saw them, and I can only imagine how his new found fraternity swag has changed him. So while others mourn the end of this high school love, I do not. Of course, there’s always a chance they will come back together, but…
On Micah and New Chic: One thing that Micah is not good at is seeing the signs. I haven’t even seen ole girl yet, but I don’t have the warm and fuzzies about her. Her obsession with CHARLEY (not Micah) is…telling. I feel like she’s a clout chaser. Of course Micah won’t be able to see any of it. He’s on the rebound and anybody who fills the void that he’s feeling will do. When Charley tries to say something about new chic, Micah is going to have a stank attitude. We already know how this will go down.
Family Check-Ins: Why isn’t the family checking in on each other? Charley went to go see Vi to make sure she didn’t get shut down, but that was about it. Nova spent all of her time checking in and worrying about Prosper, but that was it. Vi has lupus, but it seems like everybody forgot. Should Vi even be out at all? Charley is fighting the fight for the whole parish but nobody is checking in on her well-being (this isn’t new, but since we are talking about it, I mentioned it.) Nova is out doing check-ins with the community and dropping off supplies but didn’t stop by her brother’s house. In fact, nobody called RA or Darla and they got all kinds of problems over there. Why didn’t Charley check on Prosper? That’s her dude. She nursed him back to health at one point, but she hasn’t reached out to him during the pandemic? Makes no sense. All of the Bordelons are caring more about the community than they are about each other.
On Loans: Why was Charley the first person that Darla identified as the giver of a loan? Hollywood is straight. Remember he got that settlement? Nova is a bestselling author. She has money, too. Charley is wealthy (she reminded us of that last season). But things ain’t the way they used to be. Charley isn’t the only capable of providing financial assistance. Her money is certainly different from the others, but them other folks ain’t struggling either. Nova owes RA for putting his business in the street anyway. She needs to just cash app him a love offering just because.
On COVID: What I have realized while watching COVID unfold for the Bordelons is that I was so busy trying to survive that I never really processed it. I could see me (and us) in every character. The joys of embracing working from home in leggings on the bottom and business on the top. The frustration of wifi and my kids getting kicked out of their classes (and all of the other virtual school chaos) was (and still is) annoying. Braving the stores and hoping there was enough there to buy. The uncertainty of job stability and juggling working and being a brand new homeschool teacher. Worrying about aging parents who live hours away. Washing and sanitizing groceries. Watching the news and feeling confused and hopeless. Mobilizing with friends and organizations to try to help people in need. The early days were wild. It’s still wild. But those days were wilder.
What’s next: Calvin has a kid in college and she’s home now. Apparently his relationship with her is rocky and it looks like she is about to crash Calvin and Nova’s cozy quarantine. I am here for it. There’s nothing like that college kid at home energy (ask Charley). To quarantine with a kid you don’t know has to be pure hell. But I am fine with Nova having to endure it. Looks like Charley and Micah were doing well, until something about new chic comes up. Whatever happens, I am with Charley because my mother spirit tells me that that girl ain’t it. RA is working now and it looks like Darla is staying at her house again. I hope they are living separately during the quarantine because RA is a risk. Wonder if he will get COVID. I am glad they have a positive outlook but I am worried for those two. Is Hollywood’s mama gonna make it? I don’t think she is.
Well…that’s all I got. See yall next week.