Right from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) crisis here in mid-March when schools and churches were shut down, I set some strict rules for myself on how to deal with it. Did I want to be living on a daily diet of gloomy news, current global death tolls, the impact of the virus on seniors homes, the possibility of a second wave, all served up to us by the media? Definitely not. So I watch a maximum of 15 minutes a day of news. Some days I don’t watch any news. I have adhered to that rule.
Ever since the world shut down, no matter what you hear or read, online, on television, on radio, or in newspapers, there seems to be only one subject that is given major coverage.
I’m reminded of the words of the poet Robert Frost who once said, “If we couldn’t laugh, we’d all go insane.” How true! That’s why we desperately need to take time to laugh and do some fun things.
There is a good amount of humour out on social media about life as we know it now and social distancing. The jokes and cartoons are hilarious. Good stuff to brighten your day!
I’m a huge polka music fan. Go ahead and laugh. Are there polka fans around? I love watching polka bands play. My favourite is the Polka Nuts. They are based in Colorado and are known for their Dutch-hop style of music. I watch segments of their shows on YouTube every evening after a long day’s work. It boosts my spirits.
Like most farmers, I spend long hours in the tractor during spring planting and this spring, the tractor radio was silent. It was turned off because advertising space is mostly devoted to the pandemic. The same annoying ads run over and over and over. In the house, I listen to a Stingray music channel that airs no commercials, no news, and no yapping by annoying DJs.
I’m so blessed that I can do outdoor work. I’ve been in the bush all winter cutting logs for firewood and this spring before cropping began, I processed many logs into firewood. I’m not cooped up in the house and keep a positive attitude by keeping busy.
Our church pastor sends his parishioners a weekly 400-word positive biblical message. It’s unfortunate that many of the seniors in church don’t have computer skills as they are the ones who would really benefit from the Internet.
One week Pastor Eric asked: Are you a ‘CPP’ person?”
He wrote: “I received our local newspaper the other day and went through it page after page. I could hardly believe how much space, even advertising space, was devoted to the pandemic. Everyday, I receive many e-mails from friends. It seems that there’s only one subject they’re talking about, not hard to guess what it is! It’s become a national, or should I say, a global ‘preoccupation’.”
And that’s CPP. “It’s not Canada Pension Plan, the pastor wrote. “It’s ‘Coronavirus Pandemic Preoccupation.’ And when you can’t stop thinking about something like the coronavirus, the results are always negative. Inevitably, you get depressed. You become anxious and fearful, and you have no inner peace. That is never God’s intention in any generation that we would live our lives inwardly disturbed, in fear and anxiety. God wants you and I in our minds, irrespective of what is going on in our world, to be filled with positive thoughts.”
So true and great advice from our pastor.
Now, despite the negative impact of COVID-19 on all facets of life, there are some positive outcomes. People are learning to be patient. They are made to stand in line and wait their turn. That’s good. I always hated when people crowded me at the grocery counter and put their groceries on the counter while I was still unloading my cart.
It never made sense to me that so many men drive into town every morning for breakfast or for a coffee. Make your coffee and breakfast at home and enjoy your home life.
Air travel has been drastically reduced, as well as the number of cars and trucks on city streets and highways. There is less pollution in the atmosphere, which has resulted in cleaner air and water.
With a total lockdown of the school system, parents and children of all ages have been confined to staying home. This has put a strain on normal household activities. But it has also presented the opportunity for families to spend more time together, cooking and eating together. That’s a big plus for families!
People are planting gardens again. Seed potatoes are a hot item and some stores sold out early this spring.
Maynard van der Galien is a Renfrew-area farmer and newspaper columnist starting his 34th year writing columns.