I met “Granny Mo” while in England two weeks ago visiting family there. The sixty-something talented and wise woman runs a small bakery/deli in the charming independent town of Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire in the Southwest. Chock full of delicacies from umpteen flavors of cannolis to a spectacular selection of stick-to-your-ribs take out dishes, she started this business after closing an eatery along the banks of the canal where tourists would tie up their floating houses and enjoy the scenery from footpaths.
My knickname being Mo, I naturally had to visit the storefront and introduct myself to her. As we spoke about the worrisome situation caused by COVID-19, I got goosebumps at something she said. Her words confirmed and fleshed out a suspicion I’d held for a week or so already. The virus would not only change things in the short-term but seemed to be, as she put it, “Mother Nature’s way of making us pause to re-prioritize.” I did think it was the planet giving us a good shake, but the way she worded it made real sense to me.
I’ve watched with horror as our country has spun out of control and the number of cases and deaths has spiraled upward. As of this writing, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus dashboard says there are 576,859 reported cases of the SARS-COVID19 virus and 26,455 deaths worldwide. The U.S. leads in the number of reported cases at 94,238 with 1,438 deaths attributed to this disease.
My “spidey-sense” was alerted to this impending pandemic back in late January or early February from Twitter. In fact, I emailed a link to myself about flying and precautions to take to protect from the bug. It was sent on Feb. 5 and I know it was on my radar before that. I was monitoring things because of our forthcoming trip to Paris and Southwest U.K. to depart the U.S. March 4. You’d think our president would have been hard at work trying to prevent the catastrophe that we are now facing. Especially since he was made aware as early as January.
I shared my concerns at work but clearly was way ahead of the curve there, earning me a few choice knicknames and reputation as an alarmist. “We’re not gonna get the Coronavirus,” my boss said when I asked him if we had any contingency plans in place.
Well… I got put on furlough today with 50% of my colleagues. It could be worse since my employer is generously covering my entire health insurance payment. But the fact that I’ll have far more free hours in my day explains this post’s headline. “A change in priorities.” So now I have far more personal time… to paint, to write, perchance to dream… But first I have to tackle our taxes.
Check back for more.