These last couple of months have reminded me of an old joke:
A man was advised by his doctor to give up sex, alcohol, and rich food. “Will I live longer, Doc?” the patient asks.
“No, it’ll just seem longer,” answers the doctor.
Like many of you, I’m ready to get back to normal. I’m anxious to
go shopping (and I’m not a shopper), go to movies and museums, and
have dinner with friends. But even as I say that, I know that many of
these things are not safe right now. I’m in that “high risk” group. I will
be turning 70 this year and had planned on having a huge party. But I
know now, that that will not happen. Too many of my friends have
those pesky underlying conditions that will put them at severe risk,
and I probably cannot even do a small party.
Last week I did A LOT of shopping, hunting down those things
that I will need to have if I am to re-open The Pots Place, my store on
the downtown square. I needed gloves, masks, and disinfectant in
many forms–for surfaces and hands. It was a long day, but I was
successful at finding everything.
Part of my day was also getting the Ballots into the mail. So, I
was with Elinor and Michele at the Church working on that mailing,
and later a close friend who shared a Mickie’s Dinner with me on my
outdoor roof patio. But the next day I felt like someone who had
fallen off the wagon. I had worn my mask, I had sanitized my hands, Ihad tried to keep my social distancing, but…
Now, I personally am not worried about getting COVID-19. I’m
relatively healthy, I’ve been doing those things to keep my immune
system at peak efficiency, and I’ve only been sick one day in the last
15 years. But I do worry about being one of those dreaded asymptomatic infectors. So, like a dieter getting back on the wagon, I
scheduled my test.
Like the Rev. Peter Connolly stated in his talk last month, I am
more concerned about all of those that do not have options for staying
safe. They must go out into the world where people are refusing to
wear masks, or worse—coughing and spitting as an act of rebellion on
our essential people who must deal daily with those rude,
inconsiderate people. I’m concerned about the burnout of our first
responders, who compromise their own health working too many
hours to keep us well and safe. I worry about those in confined
situations—whether they be in group homes or prisons and are wholly
dependent upon others in charge for their well-being. This is our new
I’m astonished at the new services that are popping up, that will
sterilize my packages and then deliver them to my door in plastic, the
companies that are selling masks with your alma mater’s logo or pet’s
picture, the cleaning companies that will come to my store and
sanitize using their mist machines, or the many way entrepreneurs
will create opportunities from this disaster. I’m concerned about the
small businesses and large corporations that will go out of business or
file bankruptcy because this disaster is causing all of us to do things
differently that in the past. This is our new normal.
Like other disasters that I have experienced in the past, I know
that I will survive this one, and in the long run it is just inconvenient
for me, but it is deadly for many others. I know that it will change the
world in large and small ways not yet foreseen. So I write a check to
Hotel Inc. and the candidates I’m supporting in this election, and I
review all the other appeals for dollars that I am assailed with every
day, and I decide which ones will do the most good with my small
pittance. I re-make my cancelled doctor’s appointments, I make
reservations for using my pool, and I get ready to re-open my
Until COVID-19 is conquered, we are all gonna have to make
some hard decisions. How much can we go out and interact and still
stay safe? What events or people are we willing to trust and risk being
with? How precarious is our underlying health, and what do we need
to do to keep our health and sanity?
At our Congregational Meeting on June 7th and in the next year,
your Board will revisit the question again and again as more is
discovered about this virus, of when and how do we get back together
in person. We have lost two valued members of our community, very
recently—Ed Stevens and Nolan Porterfield. I’m sure we all missed
the opportunity to grieve together and support Cheryl and Erica in
their time of loss. But this too, is the new normal.
If you are like me, you find yourself spending more time on
social media, sending cards or writing letters, and talking to friends on
the phone to keep in contact. I miss the hugs and handshakes, the
smiles, the ability to have three conversations at once. Those days will
come again. For now, I mask, I distance, I garden, I count myself
lucky that my family is near.
P.S. I want to thank you for the honor of serving as your
President this last year! I appreciated all the support, assistance
and kindness you offered me.