From My WindowIssue Date: March 25, 2020
By Jane Thibodeau Martin,
A lot of bewildering, scary and unexpected things are coming at us daily. But in any situation like this we can, as the beloved Mr. Rogers was fond of saying, "Look for the helpers." Right now we are finding them in rather unexpected places.
When I was growing up I was taught truck drivers were "knights of the road." People thought of them as courteous professionals, looking out for us private vehicle operators and performing a job that required high skill. Over time, that reputation shifted, and it is hard to say why. But right now, I bet you feel like I do, as we confront empty store shelves and shortages, where would we be without truck drivers? And warehouse crews? God bless all of them, working hard and long hours to meet our basic needs.
And that grocery store stocker, or checkout person? The bakery workers, the meat and produce managers and their staff? Gold, all of them. I thank every single one I see right now. No complaining or whining from me that there is no yeast or whole wheat bread. No, I am grateful to them " risking themselves having contact with the public all day every day. You are heroes to me.
Our senior residential facilities are locked down, to keep our vulnerable population safer. And who is there taking care of them, when family and friends aren't allowed to visit? The nursing staff, nursing assistants, kitchen crews, cleaning staff and maintenance workers. We are depending on you, and know and appreciate that you are working under stress, covering for coworkers who are off sick, and trying to protect all the seniors and yourselves at the same time.
Of course medical staff at clinics and hospitals are like our guardian angels. My nurse friends report being incredibly busy, making do with critical safety supply shortages and covering extra hours. They are at very high risk of exposure themselves, and I am praying for them every day.
If you are working at a convenience store or gas station, thanks for stocking some essentials and allowing us to get gas, propane and other needs. You too are taking care of our needs while trying to keep from getting sick yourself. And without you, our trucks would stop moving.
I wish I could send a "virtual" hug to all the utility workers who keep our lights on, our water running and our toilets working. If we think it is miserable to be cooped up at home, imagine if we didn't have heat, lights, TV, computers and phone charging. What if we couldn't flush our toilets, or shower?
If you are a first responder, fireman, police officer, sheriff deputy or jail/prison worker, you are also appreciated. Please be extra cautious in these dangerous times; I know we don't pay you what you are worth. We all see that at times like this.
A lifeline is provided by the U.S. postal workers " delivering old fashioned cards and letters, bringing cheer and news to those cloistered in care facilities; those who don't use computers; and those who just like to do things in a way that has stood the test of time. To the clerk at the post office and mail carriers: thank you for taking the box containing my granddaughter's birthday present and delivering it to her " we can't travel to be with her as we planned to; but I know she'll have a gift from us all the same.
If anything good comes of this, it may be that we re-learn that all work is honorable and deserving of our respect. Thank all of you from the bottom of my grateful heart.
In My Opinion
I try not to pontificate in the column (with various levels of success, I admit.) But another thing on my mind right now is how critical scientists and researchers are. Who is racing to develop a vaccine? Who works on defining what medical treatment may be most effective against this new virus, without causing unintended harm? How long does it last on surfaces? Can you get it more than once? All of these difficult questions require skilled researchers and scientists " lives depend on them and their work, not only in this crisis but always. Some seem to have lost respect for science, and are not willing to help support the education of future scientists, which may require ten or more years of study. Scientists are an investment.
My favorite sentiment of the week is from German chancellor Angela Merkel " it is painful that just when people want to come together, family and friends must endure separation.
She nailed what most of us are feeling right now.
You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: JanieTMartin@gmail.com.
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