Margaret Figert of Valentine, Nebraska, is a long-time correspondent and friend, from a more conservative than libertarian point of view. Still, I’d like to share her “Smoke Signals” column for this week, entitled “Staying happy while self-distancing.” She has a lot of good things to say about our current situation.
It’s both amazing and gratifying to learn the many different ways Americans are responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the deaths, nearly all of us are behaving positively and, by doing so, encouraging everyone around us to respond with faith instead of fear.
Consider that what we say and do isn’t just for ourselves but also impacts everyone around us and others around them. It’s a wonderful exercise in developing more personal strength, power, responsibility and, therefore, spiritual success.
While the virus is still expected by some to reach us in greater numbers here in the heartland, store shelves are being restocked. Restaurants and cafés are offering curbside service for called-in orders. Schools and churches that have cancelled classes and services are, instead, offering and bringing meals to children, elders, shut-ins and others. Some who are virus-free and can do so are temporarily moving in with one another to save money for themselves and resources needed by others.
Families are behaving like families always should – shutting down social media while sitting down to meals together, talking with one another and perhaps discovering good things they didn’t know about their own spouse, parents and children. Many are playing board games or sports together for the first time in awhile. Feels good, doesn’t it?
Should anyone unnecessarily lose their composure during the coronavirus pandemic? Hopefully not. Obviously, if a loved one has died, we’re allowed, even encouraged, to grieve mightily.
For survivors and for those not infected but voluntarily staying home, aren’t there enough activities for everyone to keep our attitudes up and our faith active? We might first consider feeling gratitude for the break in our usual routines.
So say numerous Internet bloggers, some of whom are simultaneously promoting their products for sale. I guess this column is a blog, but we don’t have anything for sale except once-read Reader’s Digest ($1) and National Geographic ($2) magazines and a green hide-a-bed couch ($30) because we’re moving and don’t have room for them.
We human beings are social creatures and may feel isolated without face-to-face contact. So long as satellites are working, the Internet is a great resource that can be harnessed to create community that satisfies our need for talking, listening and reassurance.
Here are some suggestions I’ve found for filling our time while we wait for the virus to play itself out.
If you’re a social media butterfly, e-mail, video chats, texts and phone calls are good ways to keep in touch while you’re in quarantine or self-distancing.
Google www.KEVNFoxNewsBlackHills.com for a video featuring long-time Mission, S. D. resident Sandy Clausen, now 102 years old. If you knew her parents, Bill and Clara, and her sister, Elda Abourezk, you may find it interesting. Son Roger Clausen is pictured as well.
Dr. LateBloomer of GATDAILY (guns, ammo, tactical) suggests, during the self-distancing, that outdoors people and hunters clean our guns, practice dry fire, practice reloads, build an AR, do ammo inventory, reload our own, check batteries in weapon lights and flashlights, practice calling wild game, clean and organize our hunting clothes, thaw wild game out of our freezer and can it for longer shelf life, and check outdates in our stash, but don’t necessarily get in a hurry to throw away outdated food. Most of it is still good for years. “In the last couple of weeks, I’ve eaten tuna that outdated last year, ramen that outdated two years ago and powdered milk that outdated in 2013. Get creative and see what you can make that uses up the most outdated stuff in one recipe!”, Dr. LateBloomer added. There’s no reason to spend all your quarantine time glued to a TV or a media screen, he continued. See the website at www.GunsAmmoTactical.Com.
Other ways to stay pleasantly occupied? Actor Patrick Stewart (aka Capt. Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek fame) does jigsaw puzzles and hangs them in his home’s stairwells.
Watch public television, learn some things you didn’t know before and enjoy animal, space, travel and other educational programs.
Always wanted to learn to crochet, knit, cross-stitch, or sew? Here’s your chance. Those torn jeans and missing buttons are waiting sweetly for your once-dormant stitching skills.
No current sports on TV? March Madness (now labeled March Sadness) and has been cancelled (gasp!), but fans can survive nicely. Reruns of past games can evoke good memories, and community pick-up games can fill time for small groups of players. Older guys and gals might also stock up on liniment while we’re getting necessary prescriptions filled.
If your job normally keeps you indoors, here’s a chance to go outdoors and soak in whatever sunshine is available. Walk and stretch your body for the sheer joy of being alive. On cold days, sing and dance in your house. If you’re shy, draw the blinds first, but don’t dance in the nude. One never knows when the pastor or the grandkids might innocently come check on your well-being.
Is there a need to blow our paychecks or savings on huge stocks of food? Maybe a couple of weeks worth will be enough for those living near grocery stores. American ranchers and mountain dwellers distant from the city are usually and wisely well-stocked already.
If you haven’t already, learn to cook! And learn to clean up after yourself. Mama always said you needed to learn how to do both. Here’s your chance!
Write that letter and send greeting cards for birthdays, anniversaries and to those you think might need a happy lift. When their favorite team loses, send a sympathy card. Postage is expensive, sure, but it’s cheaper than therapy.
While news sources are constantly bombarding us with statistics about coronavirus, we can control how much we absorb. Turning off the radio, TV and Internet until we’re ready to know the latest can give us hours of time to fill our minds and hearts with positive and healthy influences.
And, if you’re not overwhelmed by the changes that coronavirus has visited upon our nation, it’s also wise to be aware of the facts and falsehoods that are being explored right now.
It’s true that millions are facing unemployment, business is in a steep decline and the stock market is making some investors sick to their stomachs. Sin City – Las Vegas – is virtually shut down, reports indicate.
Perhaps as important is that world leaders have come to realize that Communist China is responsible for not immediately warning the world when the virus broke out in their country and bears responsibility for needless deaths worldwide.
The Chinese reportedly punished their doctor who tried to warn about the virus as early as December, has accused the U. S. Army of starting the outbreak in China, has expelled American journalists and is still trying to accuse those who blame China of “prejudice”.
But Chinese citizens and dissidents aren’t fooled by their leaders’ bluster and lies. News reports indicate their citizens are demanding freedom of speech and press like never before – and rightly so.
The Christian Bible says Christ will return after God’s last enemy – death – is overcome and conquered. Surely the freedom to speak and share necessary information like the onset of a killer virus is appropriate to demand of every nation and leader on Earth.