October 28, 2020

Stevens County Times

Your spot for community news in Stevens County, Minnesota

Celebrate tiny steps with caution as society opens

kates-column

I have never been in jail or even confined to a small room for any length of time. However, stepping into a bar and restaurant last week felt like someone just let me out of jail and I was finally free. Free from something very confining and scary.

We are not ‘out of the woods’ so to speak yet but it does feel just a little bit less constricting to have more choices about what you want to do. We still need to be careful but we can start to ease into a freer lifestyle. Kind of like coming to the end of a major snowstorm and the roads are finally cleared so we can travel, however, the wind and drifting can put right back at home.

It is hard to imagine what the future holds for us. There will be changes for certain but not all of these are bad. I find that I have a desire to wash my hands after anything I do or touch. That is not a bad thing. I do less hugging and handshaking but these were probably ways we caught all kinds of viruses. I have a huge desire to shop local and help out our local businesses. If someone suggests going to Walmart, Target, or ordering online, I stop and think about buying it here before resorting to those bigger box stores.

Some changes could be humorous. I saw something on Facebook the other day about what teachers will be saying to students if they are required to wear facemasks to school. It would be things like “those are meant to be worn on your face, not your leg, arm, neck, etc.” “no you can’t exchange masks with your friends just because theirs are prettier,” “no it is not a kleenex, don’t blow your nose in it,” “you just went to the bathroom, why is your facemask wet?” and then “you dropped it where? and put it back on your face!”  I love these and could see kids doing things like that every day.

Other changes are making us rethink how we have done things in the past. Our virtual church services have been very successful with people from other towns and states tuning in and visiting before and after the service. Zoom meetings have also been great. No driving, fewer disruptions, no worries about the weather, and you can attend in your pajamas. I could see some of these things being incorporated into our society in new ways. Working from home has been good for many people with employers finding it to be a cheaper and efficient way to employ people.

Families are finding that less is more. Less involvement in outside activities means more time spent together as a family. I am surprised how many children I have heard say that they are relieved to not have the constant requirements with a sports schedule. They don’t have to show up for practice, no games to attend, and more time with their family. I do feel that it is good for kids to be involved in sports but they don’t need to be in everything that comes along. The same can be said about parents.

While we might be feeling a little bit freer, we also need to be aware of what is going on in the world around us. We are feeling a sense of safety with few cases in the county, but it only takes one trip by one person to bring it back to the area. It can hit suddenly and it can hit hard. We need to celebrate each tiny step as we move away from the pandemic and rejoice as we look toward a better future.

Katie Erdman