When I was young, my father used to beg us kids, all five, to please use the supplies sparingly. Not paying for the toilet paper, paper towels, water, and other necessities, it was easy to use all we wanted, whenever we wanted. With no concerns for the cost.
Long hot baths, letting the water run throughout. Using a quarter of the toilet roll to pad our hands wasn’t relevant to our lives.
He was born in the 1920’s and saw first-hand the devastation a nation suffered during the depression. The world had just survived the “war to end all wars” and now a horrifying economic collapse. He saw the work, energy and devotion it took to unify a country to find a new normalcy. He understood the need to prevent waste, to appreciate what we have, when we have it.
He was just a child when the depression hit. Too young to understand the financial consequences, but he felt the breathtaking hardships it caused his family and others. He told stories of how others knew his family’s door was always open to anyone who passed because of the welcoming mezuzah it proudly displayed. It is a sign on a Jewish doorpost that serves two functions – a reminder of our covenant with God and its message to all who see it, this household is a testament to the values that covenant demands.
In a time of despair it became a symbol of love and compassion to those in need. He often came home to strangers at the dinner table who joined them for a brief respite before they journeyed on. No matter what tomorrow brought, knowing they weren’t alone made a huge difference to lives shattered and destroyed by circumstances beyond their control.We were far from rich, but a generation had learned the hard way that being there for each other was paramount. How nothing could beat American ingenuity or tenacity. This too would be survived.
But explaining that to someone who’s never done without, never worried it would disappear is like talking to the wind and asking it not to blow.
My father passed away 30 years ago. It’s hard to believe it’s been decades since I saw his face, heard his wisdom, or felt his strong arms embrace me in a bear hug. My daughter was only a year old when he died. She never knew his warmth, charisma, brilliance beyond just IQ ( he was a master chess and bridge player), fierce loyalty to those he loved and willingness to battle any injustices he encountered. With him in your corner anything could be accomplished. But she inherited his genes.
Every day I saw in her his humor, wit, intelligence and ability to charm any audience. Even at a young age she adored meeting people and sharing their lives. Often forming bonds that lasted beyond a brief encounter.
That’s who we are. A compilation of generations who have fought and survived what were thought to be insurmountable odds. I often think about my parents and the past generations who shaped my life. Where they came from, who they were, what they taught me. Each had their defining moments. each had to make choices that impacted future paths. As awful as adversity can be, it creates unity and a drive to overcome all obstacles. Clinging to each other we draw strength and courage. Together, we can devise a plan of action. Together, there is nothing we can’t accomplish. As history has proven it works.
That’s what’s needed now. We have been left to our own devices. It’s shocking and heartbreaking to see our government throw in the towel or bury their heads in the sand. Unlike any other crisis we’ve had to survive, there is no direction and guidance from above.
That’s how all other countries have dropped their COVID infection rate to nominal numbers. Here we are still soaring to new heights. We continue to infect tens of thousands daily- we are at an incredible 60,000 now. It would require staying at this awful infection rate every day for a year to approach the herd immunity necessary to even begin to impact this virus! And millions will perish.
New data is disheartening- those infected with COVID may only have antibody protection for a few months. This may mean getting sick with COVID is not a pass. You may be able to get it, and give it to others again.
And the coming fall, with colder weather driving us back indoors and other infections biting at our heels- influenza, colds, pneumonia- we will be in worse shape. Now is the time to demand every individual follow the recommended guidelines.
We must decide our fate.
All of us must do our part to get to the other side safely.
Wear a mask. That bears repeating,
Wear. A. Mask.
It has nothing to do with civil rights or political views. You do not have the right to drink and drive or go without a seat belt. You cannot smoke in a restaurant. Laws protect the common good when individuals may not choose that course.
Yes, we initially said it might not help. But that was months before we saw the data making it clear droplets from sneezing, coughing, even talking and breathing can linger in the air and infect. That’s what knowledge is all about- learning, growing, evolving. And knowing when to update or change outdated information.
Make sure your mask is actually protective. Place a candle a few inches from your face and blow. If it impacts the flame light it’s not good enough.
Stay apart. Droplets can disperse with talking up to several feet, with coughing and sneezing much further. The farther apart we are the better but at least six feet makes an incredible difference.
Stay home when possible. We all miss socializing, but is it worth possibly hurting yourself or others?
Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
Wash your hands for twenty seconds.
Don’t touch your face.
And don’t go out if you feel sick.
I hear too many patients, even after testing positive for COVID and feeling better, say they need to work. But going out in public knowing you may be infectious is inexcusable.
Let’s all do our part to keep our community, our co-workers, our friends, our families, our loved ones, our businesses safe and healthy.