St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  We were to be enroute to northwest Minnesota to visit a friend but weather interfered, so the trip did not materialize.  In the twin cities, it’s sunshiny, with a very chilly wind.  Better weather ahead, but not today!

I did a post on Activism a little earlier this week.

Source: CC BY-SA 3.0,

This column is about 2020, three years back.

I’m not Irish, but I have a good friend who is, and we arranged to have breakfast at the Original Pancake House in Edina March 17, 2020.

It was becoming undeniable that Covid-19 represented a very serious issue.  I had been an usher at church on Sunday.  It was to be the last such in-person Mass for a long-time; a workshop scheduled for earlier that week had already been cancelled.

March, 2020, Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis MN

But the Pancake House had notice that it would still be open on  the 17th.  So we decided to follow through, until my friend did a drive-by and found the restaurant was closed.

Basically, everything in Minnesota shut down, by Governors order, by March 18.  Normal became abnormal for everyone, for months.  I heard later that I was supposed to have a surprise 80th birthday on May 4.  May 4 I think we ordered in something for the two of us from Appleby’s, at least that’s how I remember it.  I took a brief solitary drive in the near vicinity on May 2, and took the below photo.  There were no social gatherings.  A suspicious neighbor nearby wondered why I was taking that picture.  I told him….  Oh.

80th and Kimbro Ln Cottage Grove MN May 2, 2020

I recall driving by what was almost certainly a funeral memorial service on somebody’s lawn.  Funeral gatherings were too risky. Even outdoors was a stretch.

So that is how the Covid-19 pandemic took charge, at least for me.  Most everything I valued was closed.  The death toll was just beginning to surface.  Denial was prevalent, but I think everyone was nervous.

Everyone has their own stories, particularly about the year that followed.  I certainly have mine.  (So far, no version of Covid has entered our house.  As you know, it’s not quite like swatting a mosquito.)

About this time of year in 2021, I bought my first book about the pandemic: Preventable, by Andy Slavitt.  It was an excellent choice.  Another author called the book “Painfully good”.

Andy was living in my twin cities at the time (Edina), and pages 33-36 in large part is devoted to his high school son “Zach’s Math”.  Succinctly, Zach computed “that one person could transmit the virus to 4,100 people at the average transmission rate.” (p 35)  Andy’s footnote 43 at page 265 dates this prediction at April 25, 2020….  The prediction was very accurate.

Of course, denial is still out there, but muted.  Something over a million deaths from the disease in the U.S. alone.  Mutations still doing their thing, though somewhat less lethal, it appears.  People still suffering from after-effects: “long-haul” they’re called.

We live in an international world.  There are no borders for things like disease.  What the wind used to transport, imperfectly, planes now import precisely and easily from most anywhere.  We humans are the ‘mules’ for disease.  The next pandemic will happen, and we best learn whatever lessons we can from the one now thought to be past.

But basically we’re back to normal; hopefully quite a bit more cognizant of risks.  So far Cathy and I have not been victims.  My friend was not so lucky – hers hit a few weeks ago, she thinks after a too-crowded birthday party.

My friend and I had an early St. Pat’s breakfast at the same restaurant yesterday.  Busy place, no masks that I saw.  No evidence of that long ago year of 2020-21….

This morning my barber was remembering the same March 18 that I did.  Theirs and all similar businesses were shut down.

Let’s hope for a good year.

A good day and weekend to everyone.


2 replies
  1. Pat Gawarecki
    Pat Gawarecki says:

    Hope all is well with you and Cathy! It’s been a doozie of a winter and it’s been quite a few years since we’ve seen this much snow. We are praying we have a slow melt down our way. Always enjoy reading your posts. You are a very gifted writer.


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