The rising cases of COVID-19 in Alberta is alarming, especially if you happen to be an Albertan, living in the throes of it.
It seems the pandemic has also made number one as the topic of choice to be discussed over the phone, the backyard fence or when you are leaning on your car’s bumper chatting with the neighbour while holding a bag of groceries.
And look at this, I am even writing my column about it, for crying out loud.
With Christmas just a few weeks, blizzards, and icy roads away, I am usually focused on one thing and one thing only.
Getting ready for the big day.
In fact usually by this time, my mind is swirling with half finished thoughts about hastily scribbled to do lists and buying too many presents and putting up our old and slightly decrepit tree and making sure the lights work and getting all mushy over Christmas specials as well as my own private treasure chest of holiday memories.
In my newspaper days the stress of meeting early deadlines always collided with the Christmas spirit and not in a good way.
But, for me at least, the Christmas spirit thing always won out, because darn it, I like Christmas. I like the feelings it evokes, even some of them are less than joyful. You know, spending too much, eating too much, and trying to do too much. It all comes out in the end in a good way.
This year the threat of the pandemic that is getting closer by the minute seems to have thrown up huge barriers to celebrating the joy of the season and the idea of any spirit slipping past those barriers seems to need no less than a Christmas miracle.
And even as I write this, my heart goes out to those affected by COVID-19 which is, of course, each one of us.
I think about my sister living in a nursing home in Calgary and I just want to put my arms around her, being careful not to mess up her hair, (she’s always been quite particular about that) and tell her I love her and to be strong and not be too lonely.
My daughters are both teachers and every day I text them, “how are things, everybody good?”
Yesterday, I texted my youngest child and she texted back, “I tested positive for being mom’s best-looking kid.” When I read the first sentence, “I tested positive,” my heart nearly dropped right through my kitchen floor. And when I read the last part of that the text I thought, “is that girl too old for a spanking?” Seriously.
I also think about my son and his family who live in Lloydminster and are subjected to Saskatchewan rules which, at this point anyway, are more stringent than Alberta’s.
Is that a good thing?
Somehow, I think so.
So, the Christmas season is but the turn of a calendar page away and COVID cases are on the rise.
These are two realities we are all facing.
My most fervent hope is that we may all stay safe and well and that, in some way, we all may be touched by a Christmas miracle.
Treena Mielke is a central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.