Family: It is the best of times, it is the worst of times

At the Mielke household in Sylvan Lake, it is difficult to tell what season it really is.

It is like the habitants of the household are somewhat confused.

Outside our Christmas lights are ablaze, a most cheery welcome to the season of peace and goodwill towards our fellowmen.

Inside I have dollar store decorations splashed all over to signify the season of spring.

I have hung strings of brightly coloured flowers on my windows.

I have a huge bouquet of brightly coloured blossoms by my fireplace. A beautiful huge orchid my husband gave me for Valentine’s Day adds its very real beauty and a plastic palm tree contributes to a bit of tacky splendor.

My efforts at decorating were partly to bring in spring (such as it is) and to help me visualize my holiday that never was in Palm Springs.

We are safe here. It is good, it is peaceful and it was the right thing to do.

It was better not to go for sure. We could have been trapped there for a very long time if we had ignored safety risks and traveled.


I know all that, but even the coronavirus cannot keep my imagination safe in the confines of four walls.

No one or thing can do that. Thank goodness.

The coronavirus has descended with an unprecedented fury.

Who knew.

I found it most interesting, however, to read a post by historian Michael Dawe, posted on Facebook, about the Spanish Flu of 1918. The front page of another newspaper reminded me very much of the front pages of our newspapers, today. Many businesses were closed. People were encouraged to stay inside and life, as people knew it, had come to an abrupt change.

Fast forward to 2020.

It is, no doubt, a frightening time for all of us.

The other day I decided I would forego store bought bread and make my own.

But, first, I needed flour.

Big problem, apparently as Mother Hubbard’s shelves (and the grocery store’s shelves) were bare.

So my bread making adventure needs to be put on hold for awhile, I guess.

No big deal! We have toilet paper, after all, and life is good!

Truly, the effects of the coronavirus has reached out to touch each and everyone of us.

No doubt, we are all affected somehow, in some way.

I am now working at home. Instead of writing this column in my somewhat messy office with my trusty old travel coffee cup beside me, I am sitting in my husband’s somewhat messy office which smells slightly of stale cigarettes pounding away at the keys of an unfamiliar computer.

But, it’s good. I’m still here, trying, in my own humble way, to express the written word to my readers as best I can.

In an effort to be pro-active I have come up with a mental health list (for myself and for my husband, who may find social distancing a necessity after having me home 24/7 indefinitely, lol).

I want to share it with my readers just because. Just because I care about all of you. Just because I do believe we will all get through this together and just because I want to.

So, here it is.

l Stay connected: I have developed a new affection for Facetime. My grandchildren’s dear little faces have never looked so good.

l Keep daily routine: For me, that has changed, of course. But, there is something comforting in quiet routine, however that works for each of you.

l Exercise regularly: A simple walk can take on new meaning. Have you ever closely examined a branch covered with hoar frost? I never had. Until the other day. It was magical, somehow. White magic.

l Seek information: It is important to keep updated. But then I believe it is equally important to let it go. Live in the moment. And just breathe.

l Gratitude: As always so many things to be grateful for. Things and people. A friend of mine unknowingly quoted Charles Dickens when he said ‘it is the best of times, it is the worst of times’. Not an original quote of course, but it helps keep it all in perspective, doesn’t it?

l Music: So important. I actually watched an entire BeeJees concert the other night. Fantastic!

l Helping others: Fun. Rewarding and necessary to take one’s mind of oneself!

l Self care: I guess that is different for all of us. Maybe if we just do all of the above, the self care will take care of itself.

Stay safe, everyone.

And wash your hands.

Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.

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