Puzzles, and Puppies, a Pandemic, and Pollen

Life as we know it has changed. We’re living in a new world where words and phrases like “unprecedented” and “social distancing” are included in everyday conversations.

Although schools are not in session, teachers are still finding new and innovative ways to provide lessons and enrichment activities for their students. Both teachers and parents are rising to the challenge and students are being fed in both mental and physical ways.

The sports world is quiet, toilet paper is as elusive as Bigfoot, and a random sneeze or cough in a public place (usually caused by pollen) sends people into a panic.

In this unsettling time, a phrase by Winston Churchill keeps running through my mind: “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” We are exploring uncharted territory, and the rules and recommendations seem to change everyday.

We no longer have a routine. Our lives have been interrupted, and we must respond in unprecedented ways.

Paul Rouse, a senior baseball player from Central Arkansas University said it best:

“If I have to give up my senior season of college baseball for someone to get to spend 10+ more years with their grandparents or a baby gets to live a full happy life, then take it away. It’s not about you.”

He’s so right, y’all. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about doing what is best for our country. We have been asked to do specific things that will help flatten the curve. We need to listen. We need to take this seriously. We need to do our part.

In World War II, the Office of Price Administration (OPA) was established within the Office of Emergency Management of the United States government. The function of the OPA was to control money (price controls) and rent after the outbreak of the war.

The OPA rationed automobiles, tires, gasoline, fuel oil, coal, firewood, nylon, silk, and shoes. Americans used their ration cards and stamps to take their meager share of household staples including meat, dairy, coffee, dried fruits, jams, jellies, lard, shortening, and oils. Let me repeat that for the people in the back: MEAGER shares of goods.

Americans learned, as they did during the Great Depression, to do without. Sacrificing certain items during the war became the norm for most Americans. It was considered a common good for the war effort, and it affected every American household.

We are now engaged in a war of a different kind. It is our duty as American citizens to obey our leaders. No one is immune from this. When you take risks and put yourself in situations where you could contract the virus, you endanger the lives of others. Just DON’T do it.

Sure, our routines have been interrupted. Our lifestyles have been changed. We’ve been disappointed in countless ways: tournaments have been canceled, senior years ruined, weddings, and baby showers, and vacations have been postponed.

But think about it. We have been asked to stay at home and basically sit on the couch. This is the stuff dreams are made of. How many times in the midst of your hectic life have you wished that was what you could do?

Take advantage of this time. Relax. Regroup. Rethink. Binge watch a series on Netflix. Put a puzzle together. Organize your drawers. Make a scrapbook. Check on your neighbors. Read a book. Exercise. Walk your dog. Work in the yard. Be a friend. Be kind. Stay home. Wash your hands. Don’t be a hoarder. And don’t cut your bangs. Flatten the curve.

In times like these, we need to think about others. We need to understand this is bigger than all of us. Just as the greatest generation sacrificed during times of war, it is our turn to sacrifice for our country by staying home. It’s that simple.

We have a long road ahead. The fall-out from this pandemic will have widespread and sweeping effects in all aspects of our lives. We ALL will be affected in one way or another.

Keep your faith. Stay the course. Take things one day at a time. Pet your puppy. Be a good neighbor. And make kindness as ever-present as the yellow pollen that covers East Texas.

And instead of singing a song when washing your hands, say a prayer. If we all do this, we can change the world.

Until next time, my friends, and remember…





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