The Sanders family left Atlanta to spend their coronavirus quarantine in rural Alabama.
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The Sanders family left Atlanta to spend their coronavirus quarantine in rural Alabama.

When Georgia was going into effective lockdown in March, Atlanta attorney Parker Sanders and his family opted to spend their coronavirus quarantine in rural Alabama. Since then, between teleworking and homeschooling, Sanders and his wife have been teaching their young sons to embrace life without city comforts. 

It’s the topic of our latest audio postcard from quarantine. From the safety of their homes, people are recording themselves on their phones or computers and emailing the audio to GPB’s All Things Considered host Rickey Bevington. 

Parker Sanders sends this audio postcard about taking advantage of quarantine to guide his young sons through the adventure of boyhood.  Parker Sanders, an attorney in Atlanta, sends this audio postcard from a home in rural Alabama where his family has been in quarantine for two months during the coronavirus pandemic.

To hear more in this series of audio postcards from people reflecting on their lives during coronavirus quarantine, scroll down.  

Commentary from Parker Sanders  

On March 22, which was my birthday and right before Atlanta’s shelter-in-place order, my wife, 7 and 4-year-old boys, and cat, and I evacuated to a beautiful lake in rural Alabama, where my parents have had a place since the 1970s. 

Since then, we’ve only visited town a few times. We haven’t seen many people. 

But aside from isolation and balancing home-school, daycare, and remote working with never-ending video meetings and conference calls, we’ve used the lemons of the pandemic to make lemonade. 

Since arriving, we’ve seen and identified snakes, lizards, salamanders, buzzards, and ticks, the tiniest of which are the hardest to remove! 

My children have learned archery and canoeing. They’ve practiced their slingshot and fire-building skills. They’ve essentially been at summer camp with mom and dad. 

We actually converted our canoe to a sailboat and liked it so much we got a little sailboat — a Holder 12 — off Craigslist for $350. The boys have learned to coil rope, cleat a line, and see the wind. After mastering a square knot, my oldest son is working on the one-handed bowline. On the water, they’re great lookouts!  

But no, our time here hasn’t all been nuts and candy.  

Because of our rural location, we’ve focused on safety and being prepared. Help is a ways away. So we watched the weather carefully. We’ve repaired our vehicles ourselves, and we’ve used CB and FRS radios. We’ve anchored and removed trees threatening the house, and when those storms passed through, we sheltered through three tornado warnings in a nearby cave. 

As parents, we’ve tried to raise confident and resilient children, while still having a little fun. The pandemic has given us a rare chance to try that outside the city, and we’ve seen the boys grow — even while struggling with wearing shoes and finding out-of-sight outdoor bathroom facilities. 

Yes, just like everyone, we’ll be glad when things are normal. But we’ve been grateful for our time together, which has focused us on what really matters. We hope our children remember this time when they’re adults. I surely will, if I ever become an adult.  

And yes, this pandemic has been a terrible event. But there are silver linings, and we’re fortunate to have exploited them.  

Thank you for the chance to share a little bit of our story. Maybe something in it will help your listeners appreciate the lemonade they’ve made.