As a weekly columnist for two local newspapers, I have found it difficult in the last year to come up with something to write about each week. Oh … there have been plenty of national and worldwide things to write about, but trying to write about what’s been happening locally in our community of Lorane has not been easy. The war on COVID-19 that has necessitated the shutdown of so much in our lives, has taken its toll on all of us, but with the arrival and beginning of the distribution of the vaccines, the skies seem a bit bluer as we look to the future.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, without much locally to write about, I have tried to use my columns as a way of journaling these truly historic, remarkable and tragic times we have been living through that have affected our lives in so many ways. Many of us have lost people who have personally touched our lives — family members, friends, acquaintances and even celebrities — to COVID-19. They are among the 538,000 deaths caused by this horrible disease in the U.S. to date.
The pandemic has been bad enough, but we have also had to endure a close-up and personal view of the tragedy Mother Nature can wreak upon our neighbors and friends living in the path of this past summer’s wildfires throughout Oregon, destroying homes and entire towns and leaving devastation in their wake.
Political tensions that began throughout the nation over the response to the coronavirus protocols calling for the wearing of masks and social distancing became more pronounced when the Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd, an African-American who died at the knee of a Minnesota police officer, came to the forefront in June.
These same political tensions grew and accelerated through the summer and fall and by the time that the Nov. 3 Presidential election came around in the midst of a pandemic, we were a nation divided and our world exploded on Jan. 6, 2021, when insurgents stormed our nation’s beautiful Capitol Building to try to nullify the outcome of the election.
I wrote about each of these events in my columns, but those weeks in-between were a challenge. Because of COVID, local events, activities and in-person school throughout Oregon were canceled, businesses closed, travel has become rare and dangerous and the economy has declined. Working, studying and staying at home has been the norm for almost everyone whose situation will allow it. Most meetings and family and social contacts have been done via Zoom, face-timing or other electronic means. We women have forgotten what we looked like with makeup — especially lipstick — and many men have grown beards.
Those blue skies that I mentioned at the beginning of this column are a sign that maybe — just maybe — there will soon be family gatherings, vacations, summer festivals, camping, barbeques and other social activities that I can write about once again.
Jim and I got our second Pfizer COVID vaccine last Sunday. I felt a little “unwell” for a couple of hours on Monday, and by Tuesday and Wednesday, with the sun shining, my energy level was back. Fortunately, Jim had no adverse reactions to the vaccine.
With the renewal of spring 2021, hope and happiness are on the horizon and, quite frankly, I’m ready to smile again.