Joe’s Journal

Week seven – and counting

Ramblings from an old scribbler
Wed, 04/29/2020 - 8:30am

    “Stay home. Wash your hands. Practice social distancing. Be safe.” We have all heard this advice over and over and over again from our national and state political leaders and health care experts. We have watched as Dr. Tony Fauci and others explain why we need to do this until big pharma and other big science folks invent a vaccine to protect us from this plague.

    We watch as the TV news shows us the worst-case scenarios from Gotham City, where it seems to be a war zone as overwhelmed hospitals and brave space-suited docs and nurses comfort patients battling an ailment for which there is no cure yet.

    Admittedly, we are terrified of this disease, and most of us have complied with the advice of experts. On the other hand, most of us are tired of it all and wish it would just vanish. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to do so.

    Just like the Wicked Witch of the West, the iconic figure portrayed by Margaret Hamilton, the late mother of Southport’s Ham Meserve, the reality we knew just two months ago seems to have vanished almost overnight. It is unlikely to return soon.

    What will the coming summer mean for a community that depends on tourists and summer folk? No one knows for sure. The Wall Street Journal said this would be the summer of “Wait and See.” They should have added hope to the equation.

    A few summer residents came back early as some Mainers and state leaders suggested it would be a good time for others to stay home in New York, New Jersey and other metro areas.

    If they do come, they should quarantine themselves for two weeks. They should also bring enough groceries and toilet paper to last them for the duration, as our local Hannaford Supermarket and its excellent clerks and stockers are having a tough time keeping up with the demands from the locals.

    And now for the good news. On Sunday, Maine officials reported for the first time that we have had no new reported virus deaths. The statewide death count is 50.

    Of the state’s 1015 reported virus cases, the number of Lincoln County cases remained at 12. Nine have recovered. Three were still ill.

    Of the county’s 35,000 residents, 21.46% are over 65. Statewide, 63% of the virus deaths happened to those who are over 65. Despite having a large number of at-risk senior citizens, so far, we have had no Lincoln County deaths.

    Last week, the sun peeked out from the clouds, the temperature rose and daffodils poked their bright noses into the air as neighbors scratched winter from their flower beds and lawns. Twigs and other fallen debris found their way to the enormous woodpile at the dump.

    I know we had some snow. But we live in Maine, for Pete’s sake. Get over it. Spring is here.

    We celebrated our 52nd wedding anniversary last Friday. This time, with a little help, unlike in years past, we remembered it. As usual, we didn’t have a big party. My bride’s stepmother and very best friend stopped by for an evening drink. We sat in the sunshine on the deck sitting in chairs carefully placed more than six feet apart. Social distancing, you know.

    The kids, grandkids and great-grandkids are in Indiana, so we missed out on family hugs. Instead of gathering around a dinner table filled with the culinary wonders that my bride crafts in her magic kitchen, or meeting the family at their favorite Chinese restaurant, we were home alone.

    Then, wonders never cease; we were together via Zoom.

    We gathered around the computer and, like magic, the family appeared on the screen. No hugs, but there were lots of happy smiles and words of encouragement. We figured everyone was OK, but it was good to at least see their images on the computer screen.

    Our grandson, the doctor, mentioned that his hospital is no longer using Zoom for conferences as they believe it is not reliable and is easily hackable.

    That claim was backed up by my former newspaper colleagues. They reported that a Zoom meeting of the Indiana state election board was interrupted when the image of a man doing a vulgar act appeared in the middle of their computer conference. I know Indiana politics can be rough and tough, but, well …

    If we are still around for the next year’s anniversary, maybe we will be able to celebrate in person. Seeing and chatting with family members on the computer screen was a treat. In-person hugs are a lot better.

    Lastly, when you scratch around in the garden, remember to watch for the ticks. It’s always something.

    Be safe. Be well.