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Posts tagged ‘COVID-19’

You’re in the Army now! by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on January 26, 2021:

No, I didn’t go to my local recruiter and sign up. Military enlistments are down, but I don’t think they’re desperate enough to accept a mature woman like me. I did, however, do something almost as controversial, and one gentleman who shared my experience said it was like enlisting in the Army. I wasn’t sure until the last minute that I was actually going through with it, but on Saturday morning I received the first of two doses of a COVID vaccine.

The vaccines have been the subject of much conjecture, argument, and discussion since March 30, 2020 when the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services initiated Operation Warp Speed to develop a vaccine. Since then, I’ve been caught between two opposing sides of the argument.

(more…)

COVID Jail |by Linda Brendle

David and I spent the weekend in COVID jail – not because we had the virus, but because we didn’t. He had some minor surgery on his hand on Monday at the VA in Dallas, and as part of the pre-op procedure, we had to go in Friday for him to have a COVID test. The results were negative, but as we were leaving, the nurse said, “You’ll need to self-quarantine until the procedure on Monday.” Not too bad, we thought at first. Then we began to think about specifics.

“Are you gonna text the Schutters’ and let them know we won’t be at Home Group tonight?” asked David. Dirk was serving bratwurst and red cabbage, so I had done an Internet search for an appropriate side dish. I had prepared pickled beets and eggs earlier in the week so the eggs would have plenty of time to absorb the flavor and the color. I had even dragged out a decorative platter – as opposed to my usual redneck Tupperware – so I could create an attractive presentation. I explained to David that I planned to drop my contribution off – at a proper distance – and that I’d let them know what was going on while I was there. (more…)

Mask-Go-Round | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 22, 2020:

Masks used to be something that appeared on the store shelves sometime in September in preparation for Halloween, something worn to prevent frostbite while skiing, or something worn during the commission of a crime to hide one’s identity. In the last few months, they’ve become a life and death matter to some, a symbol of the loss of individual freedom to others, and a matter of regulation to the government.

We didn’t have to deal with masks in Rains County at first because it took us a while to reach the threshold of 20 active cases for mandatory masks. However, well before I had to deal with covering my own face, I was very aware of the controversy that surrounded the little pieces of cloth that have caused such a kerfuffle. Even I don’t spend that much time with my head in the sand.

Our neighbor Connie had given us several of the medical-style masks before anyone ever heard of COVID-19 just because she believes in being prepared. David always wears one when he mows, but other than that, they stayed in the kitchen junk drawer or the console of the car – just in case. I never really gave them a thought until the day I stopped by the Senior Center to pick up a couple of grab-and-go meals and received an unusual greeting. Instead of Margaret’s usual cheerful hello-how-are-you welcome, she was waving a pleated rectangle with loops on either end and saying “Gotta have a mask to come in!” The Center is operated by the East Texas Council of Government and is subject to their rules.

I stopped in my tracks. “I have one in my car. I’ll go get it.”

“No,” she said. “I’ll give you one.” (more…)

Living in a Micro World | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 28, 2020:

family cemeteryThere was a time not too many centuries ago when it was not uncommon for a person to live their entire life within a few miles of the place where they were born. The furthest they traveled was to the nearest town for supplies, church and school. They socialized with family and friends from nearby farms, picked a mate from that small pool of choices, raised children, died at home and were laid to rest in the community cemetery.

Then, in the early 19th century, Samuel Morse and other inventors developed a way to transmit electrical signals over long distances, and the communication revolution began. It wasn’t long before radios, telephones, televisions, computers and satellites opened up the world to those little insulated areas. While all this was going on, other inventors transformed travel with the creation of steamboats, trains, automobiles, airplanes and rockets.

Almost overnight, at least from a historical perspective, civilization changed from a communication revolutioncollection of micro or extremely small communities to one macro or large scale, we-are-the-world society. Most of us live somewhere between those two extremes, but there are times when I feel like COVID has pushed us back into a micro world. It’s not the ultra-isolated world of the pre-electronic age. We still have instant access to more information than we can or want to take in, but our pool of human contacts has dried up to a puddle. I became very aware of that this past weekend. (more…)

Kitty and the Virus | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 21, 2020:

(Some stories in this column may be a bit hard to believe, but keep in mind that I write fiction as well as fact.)

Kitty peeking out 043016Kitty may be just a cat, but she knows what’s going on. She’s aware that there is a virus out there that sometimes circulates among camels and bats – and cats. At first, she was pretty casual about the whole thing, but as the numbers have risen, she has become more cautious.

When the panic first hit and the world as we know it shut down, she could still count the number of COVID-19 cases in Rains County on one paw. She wasn’t the least bit worried, and she seemed to enjoy having us home all the time. She spent many happy hours lying next to David on the couch while he searched the internet for another British detective series for our next round of binge watching. She even came to visit me on the love seat two or three times. (more…)

Bullies | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 14, 2020:

BulliesA bully is defined as a person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable. Bullies have been around since the snake bullied Eve into eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, but the act of bullying has become institutionalized in today’s society.

There were mean kids when I was in school, but their rights to torment the weak were superseded by the rights of the teachers to maintain order and discipline. That’s not to say that no one was taunted or made to feel “less than.” (more…)

Let Freedom Ring! by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 6, 2020:

ice cream freezerI loved the Fourth of July when I was a kid. We lived inside the city limits where the authorities frowned on the fun stuff like roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over a bon fire and shooting off fireworks. So we usually celebrated Independence Day at Aunt Fay’s. In addition to the fire-roasted treats, the menu also included potato salad, chips, watermelon, iced tea, Kool-Aid, and home churned ice cream. In later years when Uncle Dean bought the first charcoal grill I had ever seen, hamburgers were added.

While the adults prepared the food, the seven kids (me, my brother, and our five cousins) ran around Fay and Dean’s unfenced acreage, making noise and getting dirty. Sometimes we visited the food site to grab a chip or take turns sitting on the ice cream churn. By the time dinner was ready, we needed no prompting to come and eat. Everything was always delicious – food always tastes better when eaten outside on paper plates and sprinkled with a little bit of dirt. (more…)

A Year of Cancellations | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on June 30, 2020:

Happy Chinese New Year RatMy first column of this year was titled “Welcome 2020!” I mentioned that a number of marketing firms seemed poised to launch ad campaigns reminiscent of the Roaring 20’s of the last century. I followed that up by saying “It remains to be seen whether the next ten years roar or whimper.” We have nine and a half years to go, but so far this decade has involved a lot of whining on my part.

The first ten weeks of the year went pretty well. There were rumors and stories about a strange new virus, but aside from a new subject for the talking heads on the news reports to discuss and a few interesting sound bites from opposing politicians, it didn’t sound like anything that would affect the list of activities on the white board on our refrigerator. (more…)

Being a slave to the clock | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on June 9, 2020:

blackberry-cobblerA recent post on Facebook described a perfect example of how our attitude toward time has changed in the last few months. Around 8:30 one evening, the husband of a friend mentioned there were blackberries in the refrigerator that needed to be used before they ruined. About forty-five minutes later as she was putting a cobbler in the oven, he commented that they probably shouldn’t be eating something like that so late in the evening. Her Facebook post read “If he thinks I’m pulling a warm cobbler out of that oven and not eating a bite tonight, he has another think coming.” A later comment indicated that he did think again and that they both had some cobbler before bed. David and I go through a similar routine almost every night now.

Pre-isolation, we had a busy schedule. On Monday mornings we stopped by the church so David could upload Sunday’s sermon to the website and send it to the radio station, on Wednesday morning I went to Ladies’ Bible Study, and Thursdays mornings Bingo began at 9:30 at the Senior Center. Even on non-Bingo days, we tried to make it to the Center by 11:00. Lunch was served from 11:00 to 12:30, but everyone seemed to eat early, and by 11:30 or so the place was empty. (more…)

Answering the Call | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on June 2, 2020:

curbside pickup signLast week I wrote about the fact that normal life is beginning to call to all of us because social people cannot stay in isolation long. The call to community is too strong. One of my calls was the fact that I needed a loaf of bread – not a long list of items that would meet the minimum requirement for a curbside pickup order, but just a single loaf of bread. I got my bread, but not by actually entering a store for the first time since March 13. After checking my list, I realized a Walmart run was overdue, I placed an order for bread and 25 other items, and we drove to Mineola. While I waited for the order to be brought to the car, David braved the elements and went inside in search of a particular car care item I hadn’t been able to find online. He returned with a smile of success and a request for hand sanitizer, just in case.

I also mentioned in my previous column that vanity might call some people to the gym, Gym wipesthe hair salon, or the shopping mall. Although my weight has fluctuated a bit in the last couple of months, I’ve pretty much maintained my pre-isolation size, and David has actually lost weight, so the mall hasn’t tempted us. And since I’ve cut his hair for years and mine for several months, we’ve avoided the salon with no problems. However, the gym is another story. (more…)

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