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Do not stay home

I waited patiently at the lake for the guys that were going to finish installing the green chain link fence.  I did not know that having green as the color would delay production by months and was anxious to be through with the last repair item from Hurricane Michael.

When no one showed up, I called the contractor who told me they had been rained out and would be there the next day.  I told him that it had not rained at Compass Lake all afternoon.

Afternoon thunderstorms in the panhandle of Florida are often hit or miss affairs.  It can rain an inch in 30 minutes while the town 20 minutes down the road only sees blue skies. 

My mother, who was staying for a few weeks at Compass Lake at the time, recalled a saying from her own grandmother, Ma Ford.  “Do not stay home just because it is raining”, she would say.  “You never know what the weather is like where you want to go”.  

Of course, this was long before the Weather Channel app that resides on most phones these days.  I continue to be amazed at how accurate the predictions are in even the most rural parts of the country.

I wonder what “Ma” would say during these crazy times we live in now.  She lived through the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.  My grandmother was eight years old.  My great-grandfather was a pharmacist and was likely exposed to many of the ill during that terrible year.  Did they stay home then?

I was exposed to the Coronavirus a couple of weeks ago.  Although these people became sick a few days later, it was not until they received their positive test results that I was notified.  By then, I was only one day away from the end of the quarantine period, had I known to quarantine.  

Both of my children’s families have been exposed.  In both cases, their exposure was in the most unlikely of ways.   It was not at a crowded grocery store, or an overcrowded beach.  They were not being irresponsible or even careless.  

It was then that I realized that most of us, unless we are totally sequestered and cut off from the world, are going to be exposed to this virus.  Most of the time we might not even know it.   It may be in the most surprising of ways, from people we would never expect.  

The Coronavirus is everywhere.  Our part of the world is no longer isolated just because it is rural.  School is starting.  Businesses are in desperate need of revenue.  People need to work.  We miss our friends and our family.  

I was thinking about Ma’s saying.  Would she stay home now that we know it is pretty much raining everywhere?  From what I know about her, my guess is she would not stay at home.  

What she would do is wash her hands regularly, stay six feet away from people, and avoid large groups.  She would wear a mask.  

One day, it will once again just rain here and there.  One day the virus will retreat, and life will become normal once again.  When that day comes, I will not stay at home, not for a long time.

In the meantime, do your part.  Respect the health of others.  Look after yourself.  Call friends who may be isolated.  Thank those that are on the frontlines.  Pray.  Look forward to the good days yet to come.


Dan Ponder can be reached at

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