All the words that can be used to describe the first presidential debate, the president’s bout with COVID-19, and his remarks and behavior following his return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, have already been written. Now, as we enter fall and approach Election Day, we face what may be a double whammy, the convergence of COVID-19 with the flu season.
There can be no argument that 2020 has been very stressful. Between the politics and the pandemic, and the inevitable mixing of the two, things have been rough. I’m going to try very hard not to write about either. Here’s a potpourri of information to take your mind in other directions rather than dwelling on the perilous days that may still await us.
The three-way mayoral race in Emmitsburg is over, the winner being Don Briggs who is now serving his fourth term. I note with great pleasure that the race was civil and ended with everyone saying nice things about each other. You don’t see that every day, well actually any day on the national level (Oops!)
There is a new snazzy looking Dunkin’ getting ready to open in Emmitsburg. Although I haven’t had a donut in years, I’m looking forward to checking it out. We’ll see if the first bite offers that bliss I remember.
If you’re driving through Emmitsburg, take note of the large American flag mural on the side of the Jubilee grocery store. This non-partisan symbol of pride and hope was nicely done.
We managed to take an “isolation vacation” with our daughter and son-in-law at Deep Creek Lake in mid-September. A cabin in the woods, with a natural well-worn wildlife path running right past it, cable television and a pool table were all we needed. We ate our breakfasts and lunches in the rented house, got take-out from local restaurants for dinner, took walks, ooh-ed and aah-ed at the deer and wild turkeys right outside our windows, watched football, and played pool and word games. You can’t beat that kind of relaxing. It was made all the more enjoyable because of our mutual agreement to avoid the non-stop Trump news while we relaxed. (Oops!)
State and national parks have had more visitors than normal during the pandemic. Being outdoors doing anything after a lockdown is invigorating. I am surprised at how much I enjoy masking up and going to the grocery store once a week or so. It used to be a chore, now it’s an outing.
With the initial lockdown and continued caution surrounding COVID-19, there is less to talk about with friends. The old “what have you been up to?” is likely to elicit a “nothing” rather than “I just got back from Hawaii.” Because of this, you are more likely to talk about current events. That can lead to learning something you didn’t want to know — that a friend, relative or acquaintance, someone you always thought was a moderate, has surrendered to the rantings of shock jocks, conspiracy theorists or their Promoter-in-Chief. (Oops!)
Did you notice that the leaves are changing colors? Some years they seem to suddenly explode with color, but this year the change seems to have taken place gradually and the colors seem less vivid.
Reading recommendation: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. There was criticism surrounding this book which asserted that the author had no dog in the fight on the specific topic of immigration. I seldom take the words of critics, thank goodness, and read the book anyway. It was exciting and believable, a real page-turner, well researched and written, and relevant to the times.
Movie recommendations: Dark Waters, based on the true story of a West Virginia farmer whose land was knowingly contaminated by chemical giant, Dupont, and The Marriage Story, which as the name implies is the story of a marriage in free fall with all of its missteps, misunderstandings and interference by others trying to “help.”
I can’t imagine the impact of COVID-19 combined with the seasonal flu. How will we handle Halloween, let alone celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas? Will we opt to order take-out feasts for ourselves instead of attending large family dinners? Will relatives just be getting curbside service at our houses to pick up their Christmas gifts?
More importantly, if Donald Trump wins the Nov. 3 presidential election, we will have to get our heads around how so many people can believe what is statistically impossible — that 100 percent of the time, everything is someone else’s fault and every single accusation is a hoax. (Oops!)
I apologize. I tried. I really did, but the two topics du jour crept in here anyway. 2020 — so ready to put it behind me.
Patricia Weller writes from Emmitsburg and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.