Masks. Maybe people don't have masks. Why don't each of us make sure we have some to share, to pass on, just in case that is why we still see full faced people, because these are our neighbors, our friends, perhaps they have hit on some hard times and can't afford a mask, and don't want to admit it, or don't know where on earth you buy them, or don't have a momma to get her sewing machine out to whip some scraps together to make original creations.
This must be why, because these are our people. They do good things, they are friendly. We like their parents, their kids. They would never want to hurt others. One of my neighbors, did a sneaky drop off of the most luscious jars of jam, didn't knock, just left them in a cute little basket and waited for me to discover it. It would have been great to see her and get a chance to thank her in person, but she told me over the phone, she can't wear a mask for a medical reason, and didn't want to get in our space without one. There are tons of acts of kindness going on all around us. And I bet you are doing some of it yourself.
My doorbell rang yesterday. How often does that happen way out here in the country? When I opened the door I didn't know who the masked man was at first. A carpenter had returned to do a project on my house and charged me a much too modest amount, to be kind I think, but when I paid him, I added the value he deserved.
He valued me, I valued him. We wore masks.
My dad inherited the land I live on, but worked out of state until he retired and moved home. I remember his brothers taking turns calling long distance, remember when that was a thing? They would ask him to hurry up and get moved back to Oklahoma because their friends, people my Dad had grown up with were getting older and "dying like flies," and his brothers wanted him to get up here to "help bury them."
This is literally happening now for real. People here and around the country are literally "dying like flies," They are dying in hospitals alone because they are too infectious for family to be with them.
I remember the AIDS Epidemic. At first people didn't know how that virus was spread, and there was alot of fear ginned up against gay people, until children with hemophilia began to get it and more was learned about that virus and how it could be spread and how that spreading could be stopped and the virus contained while medicines and treatments were developed.
This virus is worse, you don't have to be intimate with a partner, you don't have to exchange blood, all you have to do is breathe what is exhumed from a person who is carrying the virus. It is an air exchange. Think about that.
We all have to breathe to live. But we do not have to exhale virus that can then be breathed in by a person passing by you, someone you might not even know. They could be standing in line near you and there is your virus hanging out in their air. That easy.
Back in the AIDS epidemic, to stop the virus from spreading, the mask of that day was a condom. Not all guys wanted to wear one of those either, lots of virus was spread by the macho man of the day, to women and to other men, people who didn't have to die but did.
I remember going to visit a former student of MHS who was in hospice in Tulsa, in his last hours, quietly dying without his parents because they shunned him for who he loved. He didn't die alone, he was not going to share bodily fluids with me, I was not in danger.
Our people who have been exposed and are quarantining with each moment the real fear must be will I be positive?
Back in the AIDS Epidemic being positive was a negative just as it is now with COVID19. People who live through a bout of this virus will be learning for years what lingers and can bite you later as many of us have learned who had Chicken Pox as children, in our later years only to get its mean brother Shingles.
Our new virus will have lots to teach us, those who survive it will be the guinea pigs who will bear witness to medical professionals for the decades to come.
Together we share responsibility, and care for our community.
Thanksgiving's next week, make the choice to only interact with those in your household and not others so you'll all have a next year to share.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim