Wash your hands!
And wash them thoroughly, very thoroughly. At least 20 seconds to be exact.
That is the message that is out there and it is certainly not one to be taken lightly.
I, for one, am taking that advice very seriously.
Every time I check the news I see more alarming facts about the coronavirus.
So I go wash my hands.
Just to be safe. Just to be sure.
I’m quite sure that one does not pick up the virus just by reading about it, but, on the other hand, it doesn’t hurt.
One never knows.
My friend, who seems to know about stuff like that, told me its not a good idea to touch your face either.
Of course, immediately my nose got itchy and my eyes started watering. I tried to avoid the itch and just kept on pounding on the computer keys.
Of course, I eventually sneezed.
Oh, dear! That was not good either.
All kidding aside, the coronavirus is not something to be taken lightly.
With all the bad news out there, it is somewhat comforting to remember what exactly we can control and what we can’t.
Washing your hands is definitely one thing we can control.
And there is, of course, that one quick moment in time after our brain registers the facts and how we choose to respond.
To be honest, my knee-jerk reaction to the COVID-19 virus was not the most mature.
It put me in a very bad mood. I felt sorry for me. I couldn’t believe how it was affecting my world and I was downright angry (angry is the most printable word I can use)
But, finally I sighed deeply and reminded myself it wasn’t all about me and I’d better grow up and start acting like the mature adult I pretend to be most of the time.
Tom Mockaitis, a professor of History at DePaul University, states history does not repeat itself, but it can help us understand the present and prepare for the future. The pandemics of the past offer valuable lessons.
In his article, Mockaitis said the world has far more knowledge and resources to prevent infection and treat this disease than did our great grandparents in 1918. He also pointed out that fear continues to be as contagious and debilitating as the disease, itself.
I have to agree.
History does not have to repeat itself and does, in fact, offer so many lessons to be learned.
Fear, of course, has never changed. It is contagious, there is no vaccine to prevent it, and, if left unchecked it can escalate to downright panic. I mean, really, have you checked out the toilet paper aisles, recently, or, should I say, the aisles that used to hold toilet paper?
I hear there is also a shortage of diapers.
At the risk of aging myself, there is a world beyond disposable diapers.
Trust me on this. I know.
I remember the absolute delight I felt at hanging whiter than white cloth diapers on the clothesline. It was a quiet kind of pride, a gentle satisfaction that married perfectly with being a mom, learning 101 ways to cook hamburger and knowing the way bread dough feels in your hands when it is just the right consistency to shape into loaves.
It was a simple kind of happiness that coloured my world back then, back in the days when the splash of geraniums blooming in scarlet profusion on my white kitchen windowsill actually brought me joy.
I am among those whose plans have been thwarted by the COVID-19 virus.
My husband, two very dear friends and myself were planning on flying to Palm Springs. Already, I had visualized the pool, the hot tub, the desert ablaze with flowers, the laughter and the ebb and flow of easy conversations.
And, I have no doubt it will happen.
But not now. Not today. Maybe not even this year.
But, while the COVID-19 virus can cancel many things, it can not cancel hope.
And it cannot cancel friendship, laughter, music and good old common sense.
I am fortunate enough to share a gratitude list with one of my daughters almost every night.
For us, that list will, no doubt, continue.
And I will remember to be grateful for the things the COVID-19 virus cannot cancel.
And for my readers.
Thank you for reading! A special thank you to those of you who read my column right to the end.
I am most grateful for you!
Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.