By Dr. Glenn Mollette
Social distancing is tough for most of us. We love gathering in ballgames, movies, theatres, restaurants, churches and with family. Seeing our neighbors and friends in the local grocery or chatting at the post office is a normalcy of life, was a normalcy of life. The new normal is shocking. Now we have to dodge people in the grocery store and be six feet apart in the post office all while wearing a mask. We don’t even know if our neighbor is in the grocery store or the post office. We can hardly recognize our neighbor walking by each other in the same subdivision if we are wearing our masks. Masks? Can you believe this?
In rural East, Kentucky our family didn’t go to restaurants because very few were around. We didn’t have a movie theatre. Entertainers did not come to our area so there weren’t any shows to attend. We did go to school events, lots of school ballgames and our families gathered periodically. We grew up around family and when the family got together there would be 100 or more people. We went to church a lot. People got together to play music, play ball or just talk on the front porch. People shook hands occasionally but we saw the same people all the time so there was never a feeling that we had to shake hands much. There really wasn’t a lot to do but we always found a way to enjoy life.
We raised a lot of our food. My mom and dad canned and froze enough food to feed a family of seven. We had livestock. We occasionally butchered a hog and occasionally a cow. For a little while we had chickens. We had a huge strawberry patch once. My grandfather ran a grocery store across the creek from where we lived. If we needed something from a store, we bought it from him and there was rarely more than ever one or two other people in the store so we were always socially distant. Walmart’s did not exist and there were no Amazon or Target deliveries. My grandpa did occasionally deliver groceries in his old truck. It wasn’t that bad, everybody seemed to find a way. We didn’t have the Internet or even a telephone until I was nine.
Sometimes we would sit in grandma and grandpa’s big cane bottom chairs in the grocery store and talk while drinking a RC cola and eating a moon pie. Now, that was living it up. We always found a way to enjoy life.
Back in the day, when we needed people we could simply walk down the road and there were always people out that we could say howdy to. It wasn’t that hard to find a way to be sociable.
Right now, millions of people are hurting everywhere. We’ll figure this out and we’ll find a way.
Glenn Mollette is the publisher of Newburgh Press, Liberty Torch and various other publishing imprints; a national columnist – American Issues and Common Sense opinions, analysis, stories and features appear each week In over 500 newspapers, websites and blogs across the United States.