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Arlo Mudgett: The View from Faraway Farm | Unusual times

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The world just got in everybody's face, uninvited, unannounced, and certainly unwelcome. It's on everyone's mind, so I figured I might as well talk about the Coronavirus Pandemic. I'm already practically a recluse, so social distancing has been a breeze. I work from home anyway. However, I'm not exactly isolated. I have my own personal vector. My fiancee works in an office where people come and go all day. She is very active in her Quilt Guild, but they have fortunately scaled back events. Her father comes to my studio one day per week to record a chapter or two of his novel for an audio-book version. That's it.

Because my vector/fiancee is in town every weekday she can pick items up that we need. I feel guilty about that but I'm older and at higher risk. It still puts us both at risk because she is out and about every day, but there isn't anything we can do about it beyond the standard precautions. A lot of us are in that same boat. People have to work if they are going to be able to stay afloat. We're all going to have our challenges.

There hasn't been anything like this in my lifetime. My parents lived through times when diseases like polio put people in iron lungs, but vaccines were developed before my generation was at risk. My adoptive father was born in 1917, the year before the great influenza pandemic, but he never told us how Putney handled the issue. Living outside of town on a farm the family was pretty well isolated and most likely self-sufficient. Communication was limited to mail, newspaper and telegraph/telegram in 1918. Social distancing was pretty easy.

Then there's the hoarding here in the 2020 pandemic. How human. This is not the apocalypse folks. I've made jokes about it as have my friends, but the unfunny part is the irrationality of hoarding large quantities of toilet paper. Some folks truly ought to be ashamed of themselves. They will look back in six to eight weeks and feel like complete fools. Well, if the Depends fits I guess you should wear them. We are very fortunate to have a bidet. Not to provide more information than you need but the bidet cuts toilet paper use down to a real bare minimum, pun intended. The 6 rolls in our current inventory ought to last the duration.

Hand sanitizer. Another irritation when I see folks hoarding it. If you have it all, other people won't have it. They might be the very ones that will infect you. Think about that for a minute. I bought a case of the stuff back in October because I am a bit of a germaphobe and I like to keep a bottle in all our vehicles and nearly every room in the house. Since I've used hand sanitizer regularly I get fewer colds. I think it is effective so I use it. We have plenty of it in our pantry and not because we hoard it. I have seen recipes for making your own and I intend to try that to save money. I also use my own mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water to clean around the house. It is great stuff, eliminates odors, and costs way less than commercial chemical sanitizing sprays

So here I am blathering on about not hoarding, using a bidet and remaining socially distant, while on social media I see folks in small towns like mine putting out posts that offer to watch kids for working families, pick up groceries for vulnerable folks who should stay in and just being all-around good neighbors by lending a hand. One young woman snagged the last roll of toilet paper and bottle of hand sanitizer in a local Brattleboro area store and when she got to the check-out there was an elderly man with a sick wife at home who needed both items and she just handed them over to him. Well, I know the girl's mother who grew up in Chester when I did and I'm not surprised. It was the way folks were brought up and yes, many of them did pass on their values. Those are the things we need to focus on in these unusual times.

The Morning Almanac with Arlo Mudgett can be heard Monday through Saturday mornings on radio stations Oldies KOOL FM 106.7, 96.3 and 106.5 and over Peak-FM 101.9 and 100.7. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.



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