We will soon see the COVID-19 pandemic reaching the one year mark. It is the polar opposite of the festivities that typically accompany milestones or anniversaries. This virus has touched each of us in some manner whether through personal illness, the death of a relative or friend or perhaps the loss of a job and ensuing financial difficulties.
One phrase often heard is “We are in this together.” Seems quite ironic, since in order to remain safe, that is the one thing that we shouldn’t do is “be together.” Wearing masks and remaining socially distant has become our norm.
During a recent conversation with a colleague, we were discussing what else, the pandemic. I commented on something that I had read comparing what we have sacrificed this year to some of the huge trials in the past. The Great Depression lasted four years, World War II carried on for six years. Polio epidemics came and went for multiple years. I wouldn’t begin to suggest that we have had it easier, since I didn’t live through any of those past challenges. But I have to imagine that it is much more comfortable sheltering in my home than on a battlefield.
And yet, this pandemic HAS brought us together in many ways. I know that I have had more opportunity to actually visit and really listen and observe my family through frequent zoom calls. Our in-person gatherings always kept me busy supervising my granddaughter or doing hostess duties, not providing time to really enjoy the company or hear what was being shared by my extended family right there in the very room with me.
Creative ways of reaching out virtually have in many cases expanded some businesses’ abilities to host events and stay connected. Online auctions, streaming of live theatrical performances such as All For One’s production of Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas, virtual tours like the Festival of Trees or even virtual attendance at fundraising events where everyone samples the same wine or foods while in their own homes. These innovative methods I feel sure, will continue to be an option long past the end of the pandemic.
New building for Allen County has hit another banner year. Trail usage and accessibility set another record for highest use in November. There are additional planned projects for new sidewalks and trails in our area.
Closer to our neck of the woods, if everything goes according to plan, Cosmos Restaurant will go into the previous Azar’s and Tazza Cafe will open on Bluffton Road where Solly’s Coins used to be. Lola’s Café is slated to launch where Pepper and Spice was. The new Chance Bar on Fairfield is serving amazing upscale food. The Clyde continues to draw people from all over and Quimby Village plaza increases its offerings through Crescendo and the expanded Club room.
Local non-profits and organizations who are struggling have seen overwhelming generosity of people who are meeting the increased needs of our city’s disadvantaged residents and exceeding donations with substantial levels of giving.
We must strive to remain positive and look to the future; there truly is a “light at the end of this tunnel.” I am reminded of it each day when I experience a beautiful sunrise, when I see someone letting a car in ahead of them, folks dropping money in the red kettle or raking their neighbors leaves to the curb. Vaccines are coming, scientists are learning more each day about how to combat this virus and we are all more aware about what our role is in helping move things along.
So this Christmas season, let us count the many blessings we have. Be patient with one another, be kind and be generous. In the wise words of 101-year-old WWII Navy Veteran Mickey Ganitch who couldn’t attend the annual Pearl Harbor Commemorative Ceremony due to the pandemic, “You Got to Ride with the Tide!”