Today's post is going to step away from that journey. It is about our thoughts as we experience this pandemic that is going on in our country and the world around us. I say our even though I, Deb, I am the one writing it. We spend a lot of time together talking about what is happening most of what I write we do agree on. One question we have asked and discussed is, What has happened to the country we grew up in and love?
As I write this, and I started writing it over a month ago so it has been revised several time, I realize that not everyone may agree with what I am saying and in my opinion that is perfectly okay. The world I want to live includes differences of opinions which are sometimes a good thing. Honestly, Tom and I do not always agree. I know hard to believe we have been living together for over 50 years and we actually still have our own opinions about things, respect those differences when they come up, and yes still are planning on living, with luck, quite a few more years together. A thought comes to mind of some of the committees I have been part of over the years; more then once there were differences of opinions which lead to some lively discussions and more times then not led to a completely different conclusion or solution then any of us started with. Other times we agreed to disagree and majority ruled then we joined together to make the final decision work. So as you read this, if you chose to do so, I ask that you remember these are my opinions and for the most part Tom's and as you have a right to yours we have a right to ours. Our hope is that would be the one thing we can all agree on.
It is hard to be living through all the changes that have happened these last few months and not have feelings and opinions about what is going on. As I am writing this I wonder what I will feel when I look back at this time six months or a year from now. Another reason I have decided to record these thoughts here.
In our former life the one that included the excitement of falling in like and love then getting married we spent time talking about and dreaming of what our life together would be like. There were talks about buying a house and making it a home. A home were we would raise children and fill it with love and laughter. What I did not know back in the beginning until Tom started buying camping equipment was that "perfect life" we talked about would also include camping which eventually turned into the retirement dream. Yes, there were bumps along the way, hard to believe, I think I mentioned it before, but we do not always agree...lol. Looking back we were lucky, we ended up with two special children, we always had a roof over our heads, and food on the table. Plus, we were able to afford some of the extras including family vacations. During that time there were Parent Teacher Organizations, Church and School Committees, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, music lessons, dance lessons, and sports etc... it was a busy time.The type of time that seems like it will last forever and then as you look back realize it all happened way to quickly.
Eventually our family expanded to include a daughter-in-law and nine grandchildren. As Tom got closer to retirement we started seriously thinking about our retirement dream. The first plan was to snowbird in our fifth wheel and after our first year we started talking about full-timing. By the second year we knew that was what we wanted to do and the 5th wheel we owned was not the one we wanted to full time in. We realized a motor home and pulling a Jeep would be better suited to the life style we wanted to live. Life settled into a wonderful pattern. Winters traveling mostly in the southwest which we have fallen in love with and summers back in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan a place we will always think of as home. We say it often we have the best of both worlds we spend time traveling and enjoying the wonderful mountains, desert, and vastness of the Southwest. We get to visit and spend time in other areas of the country as we travel to and fro. Then there is spending time near the forest and lakes we have always loved. Most importantly catching up with our children and grandchildren and spending time with extended family and friends throughout the journey.
Like others we have talked with we never imagined how quickly life could/would change in the span of just a few short months. I think back to the month of January parked in the desert near friends. Then February came and we moved a little further east near Huachuca City and my sister flew in for a week. Plus, we again spent time with friends. During this time we were also talking about the possibility of our two oldest grandchildren flying out to spend some time with us next winter an exciting prospect for all of us. Then it was the beginning of March and we started East our goal to spend time with friends in South Carolina while sitting out and enjoying the Atlantic Ocean. First a stop in Texas to visit with friends before continuing our trek east. We crossed the Mississippi River on Friday, March 13, 2020 and we were officially back in the East. We did not know it then but learned in the following days it was the date President Trump Declared a National Emergency and life changed. Over the next few days we made the sad decision to not continue East but to turn north and slowly make our way back to Michigan. We had reservations in Lower Michigan the end of April but still to cold to head that far north we decided to spend time exploring the Natchez Trail. Then our fan belt needed to be replaced but luckily that only delayed us two days. Then we heard from friends that were heading west and home they would be stopping by for one night and so we had yet another fun evening chatting with friends. A couple of days later we decided to continue north. Then we lost our Turbo. During this time States started to close down and stay at home orders were being put in place and on March 24th Michigan followed suit. This is when our plans really changes as one of the things closing were campgrounds in Michigan. On March 30 we made the decision the best and safest thing for us to do was to stay put here in Mississippi. Little did we know that, that first month would extend into two. During this time we also came to realize just how lucky we were to have found this small park, they had an opening, and it was allowed to stay open. Not all the states kept RV Parks open. We have always believed that things happen for a reason. Though if the reason was to keep us in Mississippi a less expensive way of doing it might have been nice.
In the beginning it was hard to believe it was all happening. Schools closing, businesses that were considered non-essential being closed, reading that non-essential medical procedures would be postponed, dentist closed etc... With all of this happening churches closed their doors and as Catholics we were granted the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.
As we watched the news develop and listened to what was happening the saddest thing was hearing how many people died each day. The other sad part was the realization of how much hate was still present even during this awful moment of crisis not only in our country but the world. The same hate that enveloped our country on November 8, 2016 the day we as as a country elected Donald Trump to be the 45th President and this became an all consuming issue for so many in our country. Good or bad, right or wrong on that day it was decided he was going to be our next President. This was the 12th time, if I counted correctly, I voted in a Presidential Election and not all those I voted for won. That is the way of elections yet as a country, even with many dissatisfied people, we moved on and forward coming together for the good of our country. This time instead of saying okay the one elected was not my choice but we need to get behind him do what we need to do to succeed and continue to grow as a nation, in my opinion, our country turned on itself . Instead we became a country were I heard people say He is not my President I hope he fails. First of all if you are a citizen of the United States he is your President that is how it works. Secondly, why would anyone want him to fail? This is our country if he fails that hurts us all.
Many times over the last couple of months I have thought were would be as a country if instead of letting such a hate take hold we would have banded together for the good of our country and moved forward together? I am not saying we all need to agree with everything our elected officials do and say. I know I for one do not but at the same time when is enough, enough. Or at the very least where would we be today as a country if when this coronavirus invaded our country we would have banded together to fight it instead of our President? Would we still be reading that over 100,000 have died. I know these questions will never be answered because it never happened. Instead our elected officials and many people on both sides decided instead to continue the "fight".
I read an article a while back on facebook about how President Trumps numbers have gone down because of what is happening with the coronavirus. The article talked about the number of deaths and people infected with the disease. It mentioned what this is doing to our economy. The person who shared the article added the comment "Miracles do happen". My first thought was how could anyone hate someone so much that they would think what is going on in our country is a miracle because it may or may not bring Trump's numbers down. Then I just felt saddened to the core to know that someone I knew thought what was happening was a miracle and others I knew hit the like button. Then there was the article about the man that believed it all was a hoax then caught the virus and died. The comments included: he deserved it and karma can be a bitch. He was wrong but he left people behind that loved him why was it important to point out the obvious did it make anyone feel better hurting those he left behind because that is all it really did. I have read comments people have made about someone they do not agree with stating they hope they catch the virus and die a slow painful death. When was it not enough to disagree with someone and just say that and point out why? When will enough be enough?
That brings me to another thought, question really, which is, When did it not become alright to disagree with someone? Who decided that if someone is not of the same opinion they did not deserve any respect? When did it become okay to tell others they are just stupid, an idiot, a moron, and ignorant (and those are the nicer names being used) or for that matter even live if they have a different opinion? Why did it become a world were friends and relatives tell each other to f#%$ off and then not talk to each other because they are not of the same opinion? One of the things I always told our children because I truly believe it, If you truly believe what you believe to be right you never have to raise your voice, you never have to resort to name calling, or bulling because that only brings you to their level.The minute you raise your voice and start insulting people you have lost any semblance of credibility. You are never going to change someones opinion by any of those tactics. There are times in life when you to just need agree to disagree and move on while respecting their right to their opinion. This I told them is called being a decent human being. Of course, that would also be in a perfect world and I am not naive enough to believe the world we live in is perfect or ever will be. We raise our voices, we call each other names, we lose our cool, yet I remember a time when through all of that when the dust settled we still ended up respecting the other person's right to their beliefs and opinions.
If you look at the history of this country you will find good and bad. I do not need to list it here we all know the list. We are certainly not a perfect county and there is a lot of sad history that is part of who we are as a country. The hope would always be we have learned from the past and it will not be repeated. This is a very sad time we are living through and the loss of life as a result is heart breaking. There is a lot of talk about wanting things to go back to normal personally I am not sure we will ever go back totally to the way things were and that may very well be a good thing. Maybe, like so many other things that have happened in the past, this will be something that makes us stronger and a better country for having gone through it. Though I also personally believe that as a country we need to let go of all the division and hate. We need to join hands, or at least walk side by side, and move forward together.
For the record: Do I think the conservatives or the liberals are right about everything? The answer would be no. Do I think liberals and conservatives are wrong about everything? Again the answer would be no. Do I think we as a people are lied to by politicians when it suits there purpose? This answer is for both sides, definitely yes. Do I think there is a perfect system? No I do not. For now what I am trying to do is to look at all the issues and weed through the untruths and truths and find some peace in what I believe. The sad part is it is getting harder and harder to find the truth. I sadly, also, know there are people I care about that will not all agree with my opinion but in the world I want to live in we will still be friends. For sure I do not believe it is okay to try and shame anyone who does not agree with me.
There is a lot of wonderful things about this country and I always thought that freedom of thought was one of them. Now I feel like there are people who want to take that right away from those that do not agree with them. There is so much hate and anger spewing out of people; it is like they are wearing blinders because they only want to see what they want to see or what the news is feeding them and telling them to think.
I know one thing for sure I want President Trump along with all our government leaders to succeed because if they succeed we as a country succeed. At the same time I do not want to feel like my civil liberties are being taken away little by little. I feel the eye roll but you know what do some research that is what I am doing draw your own conclusions. Some of the things going on presently scare me and I am not talking about the right to wear or not wear a mask. The thing is I have the right, the last I checked, to connect my dots. (Though I am finding it interesting and for want of different word scary, when I am trying to find something out by asking a question on line I get directed to some thing else. Almost like someone else has decided that is not a question I should have asked. I should have asked this one.)
I want those in charge to look at all the data that is out there even if it seems far fetched and prove it our disprove it. Then figure it out correctly because I want to be able to see those we love. We want to hug our children and grandchildren because we miss them more then we can say. Plus, we want this for all our family and friends. We want to get together with our extended family and friends. We want this to end and the border between Canada and the US to open so our Canadian friends can come south for the winter. Yes, we want to sit a in a Happy Hour circle were we laugh and talk about our day plus our thoughts and dreams. I want to hear grandparents brag about their grandchildren up close and in person. Most importantly I/we want to stop reading about how many people died today.
When I vote in November I will remember how I have felt during this time and what I believe. Right now, with no apologizes, in this time and place I pray everyday that God will give our government leaders the knowledge to keep our children and grandchildren safe and healthy. I pray this for our family and friends. I pray that our leaders succeed in bringing this under control by making the right decisions and using common sense. I pray that Tom and I will come out the other side of this safe and healthy.
If you are angry with me for anything I have written here that is okay. I can live with that as long as we come out the other side still friends, safe and healthy. I say this because I strongly believe it is okay to be angry. I know right now I am angry about what some people are saying and doing but that does not stop me from caring about them or does it mean I do not believe they have a right to feel what they are feeling.
I know this has gotten long and if you have lasted this long I am truly getting close to bringing it to a conclusion.
I keep thinking what happened to us as a country that we got so fearful that we willing went into our homes and shut the door behind us not knowing when we would come back out. (Figuratively for some and for others this was a reality.) In the beginning I was not filled with fear, cautious yes but not fearful. We had the issue with the fan belt in Vicksburg and while we waited for the mechanic to show up I went grocery shopping. Yes, I wiped the handle of the cart down but if there are wipes I always do. I did not worry about being by people. We visited with friends and social distancing was not on the agenda and hugging certainly was. This was in the middle of March. Then we broke down and we had to move into a motel and that is when I went from cautious to worried. I was worried about the motel room and how clean it was. They had told us they would probably have to be in and out of the motorhome to access the motor so I worried about how we would ever clean all the surfaces like we were now hearing we should. There was no social distancing at the diesel shop and now I was worried about that. Yet, I went into Walmart shopping and I did decide to use gloves but no mask and though I was cautious about distancing from people I was not fearful about it. Then we went into Kroger during the morning senior time. We both wore gloves and I wore a mask Tom opted not to but most seniors were wearing them. I was looking at something on a shelf and some guy reached over me to get something above where I was standing. In order to do so he had to touch me and his face was right up to mine and that is the moment I first felt any fear about this virus because though I was wearing a mask he was not. So we started doing curbside pick up and now can I just say I sort of like it. Not all the time and I have actually been back in the stores because I no longer want that moment of fear to stop me from living my life. Though, I just have to say shopping at Walmart is a lot less stressful doing curbside pick up. No standing in line and no one asking me if I would like to do self check out. I place my order a couple of days out so I have time to add to it. At the designated time I have chosen we pull into a pickup space and we check in by letting them know what space we are in.. They come out to the Jeep with our groceries, confirm who we are, at this time if there are any substitutions they have made that I do not want they scan the item and pull those out of the order. Then they pop the groceries in the back, and we are done. I have stood in line longer then this takes. Way, way longer.
So, again, if you have made it this far these are just some random thoughts I have had as we have sat parked here in Corinth, Mississippi. This morning we will pull in the slides, pull up the levelers, hook up the Jeep and start are trek north. We have reservations at a park that is taking rigs that are fully self contained, which we are. Nothing will be open in the park not even the office and we already know what site to pull into. We will keep a low profile for the first couple of weeks. Basically we will put ourselves in quarantine to make sure we are okay before we start seeing the people we care about. We have things we want to get done in the next couple of months. After emptying out a house of over 50 years of stuff we have realized way to much ended up in a storage unit and now we are going to down size the storage unit.
To finally really and truly end this I just want to say I am not sure I agree with all the rules and regulations that are in place I am still not sure about the whole mask thing but Tom and I both are in the age bracket and have underlining health issues so we probably will be wearing them. Yet if we cross paths in the store and you are not wearing one I will just keep my distance and respect your decision and I expect you to give me the same respect. When we are able to go back to church if it requires we social distance and wear a mask then we will. If we want to go into a small business that is limiting the number of people in their store and we are asked to wear a mask and gloves then we will follow their rule after all it is their store. I do not think that is infringing on our rights at all I feel like that is us respecting their decision as to what they feel they need to put into place so they will feel like they are keeping themselves and employees safe. If someone or a business puts in place rules we are not comfortable with we will make the choice not to do business there. This is what is called using common sense for us and respecting others in what they feel is right for them.
Our sincere prayer and wish is for each of our children, grandchildren, extended family, and friends to come out the other side of all of this safe and healthy and we wish this for you and those you care about, also. We wish this because we want you all to have the opportunity to live your dream.