One Lonely Day = 15 Cigarettes

This summer has been wonderful, and strange at the same time. Weather-wise I couldn’t ask for anything better, but Labor Day weekend was a big disappointment. It felt like Frankfort celebrated a weekend off. For forty years we have had a Fall Festival on Labor Day weekend. This year it was cancelled because of COVID. We will eventually recover from this shock, but it may take a long time, like several years.

Suddenly, fall is sneaking in and the weather is changing. Temperatures are dropping rapidly. It seems like I just got acclimated to living in ninety degrees when all of a sudden today it was sixty. Next week we will have some warm days but in general the temps will swing downward. Fall is in the air, the leaves are dropping from the trees and changing color too. Flowers and plant life are withering from the recent drought. I called it sneaking in, but it seems more like a thud, and its here.

The weather change has me thinking about wintering in a warm climate. I haven’t had that urge for several years, but now I do. I need to get away and shock my life into something new. The one problem I have with this plan is that it is the stress of distancing that has caused me to want to seek out a new life somewhere else, and COVID will be with me anywhere in the world I might want to escape to. I have a lot of thinking and researching to do before I make any reservations.

One scary thought is that my friend base in Phoenix is smaller now than it was six years ago. Being alone will not help to improve my attitude at all. I read a short article published in September, 2020 issue of Departures magazine titled “Happiness” by author Eviana Hartman on how happiness affects people’s lives and one sentence stunned me.

“Happy people are less likely to catch a virus, and loneliness can be as damaging to physical health as smoking fifteen cigarettes per day.”

I quit smoking forty-two years ago, and it scares me to know that I can wipe out the benefits by feeling lonely. Loneliness is one of the biggest problems I encountered after each of my life partners died. It took a long time to be happy again, and I worked hard at changing my life in order to reach a happy state. So far, I haven’t reached happiness after Peg’s passing, but it’s only been fourteen months.

All I can say is that I’m working on it, and that is all I want to say about that.

Sunsets

There is something about a beautiful sunset that turns me on. Over the years I have been photographing the end of day event trying to get that perfect scene. I want perfect hues of pink and orange with shades of grey blue with plenty of sky and clouds, and a streak of orange light streaming toward me over the water. I came close a couple of times and have the photos hanging in my house. I tried again last night, and it might be the one I have been longing for.

What a beautiful way to end a great July day. The only thing missing was Taps.

As good as I think this photo is I believe there is an even better one in the days ahead.

Fair Is Fair

Any time we go into a recession or a depression in this country a great number of people suffer. It isn’t easy to cope when you use a salary or a pay check. In order to cope with the situation the government has invented unemployment insurance. It is simple, you are laid off, you apply, and you receive some money, but it is seldom the same money as what you were bringing home. All along I have thought there is a great inequity being perpetrated on the population. There is a segment that is never affected by any kind of economic slowdown, they are the people who work for the government. The argument is that even though we are no longer working police, fire, and emergency services must be available. That might be true, but what about all the non-essential services like the bureaucrats and government officials who contribute zero to the economy? They live off the taxpayer who is now unemployed and can no longer contribute to their support through income tax.

My proposal to even this out is to make these non-essentials take a pay cut during the slowdown just like their non-governmental counterparts. Maybe, just maybe, this pressure on the government might cause the conditions to change. A policy of this nature might make our politicians more sympathetic towards stupid policies like extending the mandated shut downs of businesses to control fake viruses like the COVID-19. Think about a Congressman or Senator getting his pay cut. Any crisis that could be solved by the government would get some serious attention.

In the beginning of the virus I agreed with the shut down. Now that we have more information about it I am totally in favor of opening all businesses, schools, churches, and public gatherings. Why? Because we now know that the virus is not the killer it was being painted to be. In the beginning we had no tests to determine if we had the virus, now we do, and the number of cases keeps growing as more people are tested, but the death rate is still low, and the hospitals can still handle things.

Virus protection infographic. Stop bacteria. Medical examination. Corona virus prevention. Antibacterial concept. Antiviral immunity. Vector illustration.

Some will argue with me that I am a heartless cruel being. That I am a proponent of killing off the older people in the crowd. Frankly, have you seen some of the people we lose all sanity over by keeping them alive? Age wise, I am one of them. I have personally cared for two wives who were in the vulnerable age group. Both could have benefited by a earlier death. My first love, Barbara suffered a heart attack that should have killed her, but science and medicine saved her. I was grateful to still have her. The quality of her life after her release from the hospital was about a one on a scale of one to ten with ten being the best life ever. The complications she lived with for the next two years were many and terrible, but her desire to live out weighed her suffering. Ultimately she realized the life she lived was not worth the effort. One week after she pulled the plug on herself she died. The second wife lived a downhill road with Alzheimer’s. She began losing her memory in 2014, and finally died in 2019 after five years of continuous deterioration. She couldn’t speak, walk, or take care of herself, nor did it bother her to be that way. At the end her body began the downhill slide when her skin deteriorated and she was decaying, but still breathing, and taking some fluids. It wasn’t pretty. Do I sound pathetic? Yes, I do. I loved these women and went out of my way to keep them alive to be with me. I missed them when they finally passed, but death was a gift to them.

I have told this story because I have seen people in nursing homes hanging on but not enjoying life anymore. They suffer but enjoy it. Some of them see it religiously, they suffer because God wants them to. Without suffering they won’t get into heaven.

My current attitude about COVID-19 is that if I get it, so what? Maybe I’ll survive, but if I don’t it is because it is my time to leave earth. I believe that any time man screws with nature as they do with modern medicine we lose something. You will argue with me that modern medicine has extended our life span. Yes, maybe it has, but modern medicine still has a ton of work to do to cure all the diseases that cause death. Each one gets more complicated and expensive to undergo a cure. New diseases are identified everyday, and the job to cure them is monumental. Modern medicine will struggle with saving people with or without COVID.

In the meantime, I will take some precautions to avoid situations that may compromise my health. I will continue to wear a mask in public places where people are close together. It won’t be for my protection it will be for yours. I will use common sense to deal with COVID. I no longer need daily press conference to tell me what is being done to protect me. I read the daily statistics and become confused as to what they mean, therefore I quit looking. The bottom line is that the virus is out there, people will get it, some will get sick, some will die, but the planet will survive. In other words, it is time to use your common sense to guide your life.

COVID-19 Conquers

It is sad to say that the virus has succeeded in killing some long established customs of our community. The infamous Frankfort Fall Festival is dead. Ranked number three craft fair in the country, the Fest has been a Frankfort Tradition for nearly forty years. Over 250,000 visitors come through during Labor Day weekend. Three hundred crafters from all across America come to display and sell their creations. The evenings are filled with carnival rides and music at the entertainment venue. The whole town buzzes with excitement. The Frankfort Chamber announced this week after holding off as long as it could that they are cancelling the fest. Illinois is not far enough along in the Covid battle to allow large crowds to have some fun.

Along with the Fall Festival, the Frankfort Lions decided not to hold its annual Wurst Fest which is the kick-off event for the Fest. Also over forty years old, this tradition of the Lions raffle and the German themed evening of fun, food, and beer will not take place this year. What this means to the Lions is a totally new way to serve the community. Lions relied on their annual raffle to generate funds that would carry them through the year doing good things. Now, we scramble to think of safe ways to raise money. It will be an interesting time for sure.

The Lions Club will have to rethink charities like school scholarships. Three years ago we raised the dollar amount being awarded to graduating seniors from Lincoln Way East High School, and now we are in a spot where we will be scrambling. Our three times a year food distribution for families in need is also in trouble. Vision screening for kids has been on hold since the virus hit. Adult vision and hearing screenings have been placed on hold statewide until COVID disappears. Our efforts to expand services to visually impaired people are in jeopardy. In short we don’t know what we are doing at this time. Since we have not met for the past three months except via Zoom we are still adjusting and brainstorming forward. Any suggestions from the peanut gallery will be welcomed.

Meanwhile my garden weeds are in full force, and the wabbits are vigorously eating their way through things not weeds. Since the Liberals have chosen to take Elmer Fudd’s shotgun away from him his Wabbit fighting strategy must change. Maybe he’ll resort to something more humane like chemical warfare. Elmer is another tradition being forced to change because his actions are not condoned by communists who want to control everything we, say, eat, breathe, and do.

It is my opinion that China is openly at war with the world. Even if they were as surprised as we were by the virus, they are using this catastrophe to benefit their ideology. Hopefully, their actions will backfire on them and the USA will learn that it cannot fight wars in a global economy. Who in their right mind will fight when the very tools of war are dependent upon their enemies? Maybe that is the point, but it sounds like suicide to me.

Americans are not good fighting wars that don’t have visible targets to shoot at. We are in a quandary about how to use our skill and weaponry to shoot a microscopic enemy. We can’t see it so we think it isn’t a threat or a real fight. In this age of right now gratification where everything has to be delivered in this instant, and where we have to be entertained now we are unable to cope with fighting long term bugs like COVID-19

Getting back to COVID-19, Frankfort Township in which I live has doubled new cases of the virus within the past week. So much for opening the door and giving us the idea that things are safer now. They are safer, but not to the extent that we should forget all common sense and live as though the virus doesn’t exist.

I am at a loss to make any sense out of this post. I’ll be ahead if I just stop right here.

My Update on COVID-19

With all the new knowledge of Covid-19 it is becoming more apparent that people don’t give a damn any more. Our Governor just announced that Illinois is not ready for Phase Four reopening. I agree. Last night after supper I was invited to meet a group of friends in town for a drink. I thought, why not? I’ll take my mask and have a beer with some friendly chatter. I’m tired of talking to myself even though I am the smartest person I know.

We were meeting at the bowling alley. Frankfort’s bowling alley is very old and has been in business non-stop since the forties. It is in a two story building which houses a number of shops. The bowling alley is on the second floor. Phase three rules state that restaurants and bars can open only if outside on patios with tables spaced apart and servers must were masks. The bowling alley has a small strip of property adjacent to the building which they fenced off and converted to a patio.  To make it nicer they installed a tent over the entire space.

When I arrived, the patio was crowded with people, none were masked. They congregated in groups around stand up tables, and were being served by an unmasked server; the owner behind a makeshift bar. It was an enjoyable evening seeing friends whom I haven’t seen in quite some time. I even managed to make a new friend who happens to live in my neighborhood on the next street over. That made me happy. What didn’t make  me happy was how congenial everyone was and handshaking like old times. That made me uneasy, and I couldn’t wait to get home to wash my hands. Granted, these people were ten-twenty years younger than me so they are not as affected by the virus. I’d like to think that I’m in great shape and have robust health enough to resist the virus or to beat it if I contract it. The statistics don’t say that. I should not take a Laissez-faire attitude about it all, I should maintain strict adherence to the Covid-19 protocols. I told myself that I must refuse new invitations to meet with my friends.

Will County, Illinois which is where I live is still reporting thirty-five cases of the virus daily with surges to over a hundred. That tells me the virus is still present and very close to me. Nationwide, the spread is concentrated in the southern states. They are stretching toward a peak. A month ago, my son in Texas reported to me that the virus was not very active, but now, the hospitals are nearing capacity and the number of deaths is increasing. This southern wave extends all across Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. When will it end, who knows? While it is stretching across one part of our country the northern states are beginning to allow people to travel and to enter the country from other places. No doubt, the virus will be like a ping pong ball going back and forth across the lines and probably changing forms as it does. The big news was that Disneyland in Florida reopened. They thrive on visitors from South America, and the virus is spreading like wildflower in Brazil; we shut down air traffic from Brazil.

In my younger days I would have dreamed up a plan to take my anger out on China. My plan would have been to drop a bomb with COVID-19 on Bejing and Shanghai. In my current state of mind, I have too much empathy for the common folk who live there. They wouldn’t deserve such treatment. So, I have to modify the plan to develop a bug that only evil government officials are affected by, but instead of that I will concentrate on developing a vaccine to take out COVID-19 and all forms of corona viruses. The only form of selective bug that I know of for taking out evil people is the bullet. It is better to think positively and to do what is least evil to mankind.

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