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Letter to the future

Letter to the future Letter to the future

Dear Future Fred, Hello from 2020, I hope things are well with you there in 2120.

I am writing this with the assumption that some future version of myself has assigned you the task of writing a 100th anniversary story about the the COVID-19 outbreak and what impact it had on folks in Taylor County.

From the news articles we are running through the COVID-19 crisis, you will get a good snapshot of what people are up to and how governments are reacting. Facts and figures are the backbone of any news story, but by themselves they don’t give the full picture. As a favor to your future editor, I will focus on trying to share how the COVID-19 crisis is impacting people on the ground level.

(By the way, I hope that you don’t mind that I call you Fred. Since my powers of precognition don’t extend 10 decades into the future, I don’t know your gender or name so I have picked one for you. As a child, I was a fan of Fred Rogers from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood a television program you likely learned about in your classical television appreciation classes in college.) There are few times in my life when I have felt powerless and afraid. This week was one of those times. The other time was when I watched on television as jet planes flew into the World Trade Center and the towers collapsed.

Fear like that has a taste that you cannot forget.

Walking into a grocery store and seeing the shelves stripped of toilet paper - yes people really did hoard that stuff - was surreal. Others were stocking up on other essentials, unsure if this was some precursor to the apocalypses or just a dress rehearsal.

As a newspaper person, I am voracious in consuming news and wanting to know what is happening in my community and the world.

The reports of Italy being locked down, of countries closing their borders and of the stock market hemorrhaging just are making me more sad and more worried.

Perhaps it is the waiting that is the most stressful. As of my writing this, Taylor County has not had a reported case, but odds are that will change.

There are those who claim this is just a big media conspiracy. If it is, no one has taught me the secret handshake or let me in on it.

I am afraid of what tomorrow and the next day may bring — what other shoe will drop.

Each day brings with it a new list of events that have been canceled or postponed, of new restrictions on gatherings and reports of curfews and stay at home orders being imposed. Yet I must remind myself that the world has not ground to halt.

Even under the shadow of a pandemic, the world moves on. There are children playing, people being born and others passing to their eternal rest. There is service and fellowship, love and laughter and all those things that make life worth living.

And yes, there is even hope and a knowledge that like all things this too shall pass and that when it does there will be the hard work of putting the pieces together into whatever the new normal will be. There will be mistakes made and lessons that need to be learned and people who will need to be held accountable for misdeeds.

Rather than let fear drive us to panic, we must master our fears and hammer them into resolve and know that each morning’s sunrise is a new opportunity.

In the meantime, we here at The Star News and at news outlets across the country and world, will be carrying on our work to record and document the history unfolding around us, while continuing to tell the stories of our communities.

Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.