COVID-19: Speaking Personally

Sunday, March 15, 2020, 8:20 a.m. CDT.  I decided to continue the conversation of March 6 and March 13 at this space.  March 17 also applies.  This will simply be personal comments as this crisis evolves.  Check back every now and then if you are interested.

General information on COVID-19  here.  My hope is to cause reflection and conversation, including my own, as I struggle with to how best to deal with the current reality.  This is not easy for any of us.  I am sure there will be future postings here on this topic.


I went to morning Mass at Basilica today, as usual.  I ushered.  I would guess the attendance was no more than 20% of normal for 9:30.  A colleague usher works for a corporation, and she said the decisions are almost literally being made day by day.  The Governor will close schools in Minnesota for a time beginning Wednesday.  COVID-19 is THE topic and I suspect it will continue to be so.  On we go.  (Photo at Basilica of St. Mary Mar 14, 2020.)

I suppose it was risk taking to just go to church.  Each of us has to find where to draw our own line.  Enroute to church I thought back to another church, in early Fall, 1982, Riverside Methodist in Park Rapids.  The church bulletin that day had a piece of prose I kept, and have often used in years since.  It speaks for itself, and I encourage your reading it, and your own interpretation of what it means to you.


Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune had an interesting opinion on the Travel ban, by Catherine Guisan of the University of Minnesota.  You can read it here.

March 16 5:30 a.m.:  Yesterday I began to make a list of personal interactions with human beings, just on Saturday and Sunday.  It was surprisingly long.  It starts with two of us here in the same house, 24-7.  Last evening a friend called to say that the husband of a mutual friend of ours in another state had been diagnosed with terminal illness.  We decided to do breakfast tomorrow morning at a usual mid-point location, at 6:30 a.m. rather than 7, and to check to see if the restaurant is even open….  

I’m wondering, now, if this will work.  Everything is being cancelled, or cancelling ‘as I speak’, and a few minutes from now I plan to go to my usual coffee stop, where usually there are relatively few people at this time of day.  I’ll report.

Overnight, Just Above Sunset, “What Money Will Buy”, which deserves your time.

March 16, 9 a.m.:  I left the nearly empty (very unusual) coffee shop about 8:15 (usual), and my friend in back called out “are you leaving from fear” (“Fear itself”), he say my arm gesture for “no”, but I decided not to go back there, since someone else was asking “how many shooting deaths have there been in Chicago?”  This is how it goes.  At home a link to a Boston Globe article about Bergamo from friend Lydia which you can read here.  In a previous post, she sent me a letter from someone in Bergamo.

Yesterday in a near empty Lifetime Fitness where I do my usual solitary treadmill time, there were perhaps 10 people within 100 feet of me.  (That low density is not unusual at the time I go to the facility).  I asked a young man (less than 30) how he was faring.  He said he’d just been laid off as a server at the popular Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, well known in the Twin Cities.  200 cancellations, he said.

This is how it is going, here.  Picked up some bananas and water softener salt at the local grocery store, near empty at this time of day, anyway, and observed to the clerk, who’s old enough to remember, that this crisis has the markers of being worse than 9-11-01 in its impact.  She agreed with no hesitation.

Three hours ago, before I left the house, an incoming e-mail from my friend, John Noltner, who has had a successful enterprise  called A Peace of My Mind for a number of years.  He has a Facebook presence, and he had this to say in an e-mail this morning: “As we try to protect ourselves and those around us, we need to find new ways to care for one another. Right now, A Peace of My Mind can’t build community in our usual way. So we are going to try something new.

We’re going to get together online and talk about what matters most. We’ll discuss stories, build community, and remember what connects us.
Every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 7pm central, join me on Facebook Livefor a short conversation sparked by American Stories.”
He isn’t certain exactly how this will work, but I know John’s work, and it will be worth your time.
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