Chrissy has been gone about 15 minutes, and it feels like a month. My extremely better half is an American Red Cross volunteer. She got called to a house fire in Susquehanna County, about an hour’s drive from home.

She could have said no, but felt she should go. I didn’t object (much), but it’s the first time we’ve been apart for longer than an hour since we went on coronavirus lockdown. I’m proud of my wife and the dedication she shares with her fellow volunteers, but adding a pandemic to the mix is a recipe for dread. She is doing God’s work, so I trust she’ll be fine, but while she’s out, I’m in dire need of distractions.

At the moment, the tube is tuned to the INSP channel, which is running a “Gunsmoke” marathon. The TV Western aired for 20 years, from 1955 to 1975. The marathon is still in the black-and-white era. The Marshal Matt Dillon of my youth strode the dusty streets of Dodge City in color. Miss Kitty had red hair. Festus looked dirtier than he does today.

Since Chrissy pulled out of the driveway, Marshal Dillon has shot seven mangy polecats, outwitted three swindlers and corraled a lowdown snake oil salesman who played the sympathy card and went bust.

“I’m an old man, Marshal I don’t wanna die in prison.”

“A lot of people don’t wanna die, including that young girl on the stage.”

Never argue with a no-nonsense lawman who sees the world in black-and-white, even in color. And never forget the daily sacrifices of volunteers, first responders, medical professionals, grocery industry workers and others who are answering the call while the rest of us nest in our homes.

Thank God for Matt Dillon and The Sunday Times. Now more than ever, we are dedicated to providing the news you need and the quality you expect from a community newspaper. Get the latest on the coronavirus crisis here. Staff Writer Jim Lockwood has a story about how locals are coping with being cooped up, a question I also address in my column. Also, coronavirus could keep Scranton under distressed status. Mayor Paige Gebhardt Cognetti says that’s OK.

On the brighter side, Staff Writer Sarah Hofius Hall has the story of a Pittson mom delivering meals to truckers and the elderly. Read it here, and visit our Lifestyles section, which includes a story by Staff Writer Gia Mazur about PATAsphere, a  nonprofit offering voice, dance and drama training to young performers. In Sports, Staff Writer Conor Foley has a story on how the RailRiders are riding out the crisis. Read it here.

Chrissy just called. She’s on her way home. I’m going to meet her at the front door with a freshly laundered old pair of pajamas. She wears her newer pajamas to work.

How are you spending this strange day? Email me at or and I’ll share your stories in my daily diary. The Times-Tribune is still here, and so are you. We will get through whatever comes next together, one day at a time.

Hang in there, hunker down and wash your hands. And your pajamas.