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A Little Break in the Action...

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We're getting ready to "go on vacation." That used to be so simple, but not anymore. We've been holing up like a couple of mice in an ice storm, "self-quarantining" in an effort to travel to Prospect, Kentucky to see our daughter and her family (and our two grandchildren) whom we haven't seen in person since Christmas. They are self-quarantining, too, so as not to take the chance of catching and transmitting Coronavirus to the "old people." "Plan A" was to take the Prius Prime, which would get us to Prospect on less than a full tank of gas, no problem, and to drive straight through, with no stops. "Plan B" has kicked in, because the grandkids want us to bring our bicycles, and Dara's Prius is the one with the hitch for the bike carrier. It may not make it on a single tank, which means a stop along the way. Who am I kidding? Two 65-plus adults who begin their day with serious shots of coffee? No potty stop? Not going to …

Had to stop to pray...

Friday afternoon, I was sitting in my office "balancing" a number of tasks, none of which seemed to go with the others. I was the "only one home," as on Friday, Karen and the rest of the program and office staff work from home. I did have to sneak out around 1:00PM to get fingerprinted for the FBI check, as my FBI clearance had expired. I sure hope I don't harbor the Coronavirus, and/or that they REALLY clean that electronic fingerprinting device, as they go NUTS with rolling almost every inch of every finger and thumb around on that thing! Too bad they can't make it a dual-purpose device and have it check you for the virus at the same time, as they sure got a good sample of whatever was on any of my fingers.

Anyway, I was working on a sermon, writing my weekly update for our Friday email at St. Paul's, working on material for a wedding, answering emails and phone calls, and making contacts in my new responsibility as "eldest son," handling th…

With a Heavy Heart...

Well, while the cautions of COVID-19 are FAR, FAR from over, it's time for this blog to move on. Unfortunately, because many have not been good little siblings and kept their face coverings on in public, and didn't avoid crowds, COVID-19 has begun to make headlines again. Who knows, we may just wind up in another lockdown! So far, so good in Pennsylvania and Allegheny County, but I'm seeing less and less people taking precautions, and we could be in the same boat soon as Florida, Texas, Arizona, and other "hot spot" states. My neighborhood had its annual "Garage Sale" a couple of weeks ago, and as I was trying to get out of Adams Ridge to go to a morning wedding, I witnessed that most of the hundreds of people clogging the streets, and a majority of those hosting sales, were not wearing face coverings, so who knows?

But this is not the main reason my heart is heavy, today. Two OP-ED pieces in the New York Times today jarred me to a higher plane of reali…

The Quarantine Chronicles: The Final Insult...

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Yeah, I bummed that title from the "Police Squad" movies with Leslie Nielsen. I caught up with all of them during the lockdown/quarantine one night when nothing better was on the TV, and that's saying something. While it won't be the last thing I write about COVID-19, it will be the final installment of what I have been calling the "Quarantine Chronicles."

COVID-19 is NOT over! All of our medical friends remind us of that daily, and Pennsylvania's "Green Phase" just means we are "green" to continue social distancing, wearing masks, washing our hands constantly, smelling like sanitizer is our cologne, and venturing out to the increasingly opened businesses VERY gingerly. Getting your hair cut is still a risk. Getting your nails done is still a risk. Eating in a restaurant is still a risk. Swimming in a community pool is a GREAT risk, as are jammed bars, concert venues, movie theaters, and churches. Go to things that are out of doors, …

The Quarantine Chronicles, Part V

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Sorry for the delay in posting to this blog--things have been happening that had a higher priority, like Pennsylvania's governor moving Allegheny and Butler Counties into the "Yellow Phase" of re-opening in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis. As with many of you, I'm sure, I've been pretty much planted in front of a computer for hours a day, meeting with church staff and our Medical Advisory Panel experts trying to plan for what we may open at St. Paul's UMC, and when. There are no clear answers. Every decision to return something to "normal," or even the "new normal," is fraught with risk. The problem with the Coronavirus is that it just doesn't care. It is a virus, doing what viruses do with no thought, pretense, or respect for its host. It just does what it is genetically predisposed to do, and we humans are now convenient hosts.

As I listen to some of the political and economic rhetoric out there, it sometimes sounds like its spea…

The Quarantine Chronicles, Part IV

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Over six weeks now we have been "sheltering in place," and most of our typical lives have been shut down. How are you faring, friends? My wife and I have eaten more meals at home this past six-plus weeks than we have in almost 43 years of marriage! Our schedules, both in raising a family and in being career people along the way, have changed us into dining gadabouts. When our kids were little, the local Eat 'n Park had our "family" table for us when we walked in. Yours truly is learning how to cook--very slowly. I found a recipe for cinnamon rolls that sounded good, so with a little guidance from the kitchen chemist and resident dietitian, I made them, and she frosted them. It was a bad idea. They were SO good we wiped them out in two days. We have pledged to not make another batch for at least six weeks. We are committed to avoid shrinking our clothes during this pandemic, if we can help it. And these cinnamon rolls will definitely harm this goal. I'll be…

The Quarantine Chronicles, Part III

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Last week, I ended my narrative with a photo of me and my "social distancing" mask, one made by my creative wife. Here we are, nearing the end of week three of April, and the masks have become "a thing." The governor has "strongly recommended" that we wear them anytime we go out in public, but especially when we are going where we will encounter others. Many stores that are still able to be open will not let you inside unless you are wearing one. I had to pick up something at the auto parts store today, and they were one of those "Wear your mask or don't come in" places. Like many have joked, if I were to enter Autozone during any "season" other than Coronavirus Spring of 2020 wearing a mask, I'm sure they'd set off some kind of alarm and/or phone 911.

While it really is NO joking matter to follow these important social-distancing and masking guidelines to try to keep us all safe and well, there are a few humorous things ab…