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No holiday from the coronavirus

No holiday from the coronavirus No holiday from the coronavirus

Like many of you, I’ve more than had it with this “new normal” ushered in by COVID-19. The month of March, when all the shutdowns went into effect, seems like it was decade ago, at least.

But, of course, the C word is still here, and it’s actually worse than ever based on the number of new cases and deaths here in Wisconsin. And, to make matters worse, the weather has gotten way too cold way too early, so the simple joy of getting fresh air and sunshine isn’t as joyful as it was just a month ago.

It came as a sobering reminder to me that the holidays are fast-approaching, and all those plans for family gatherings are now being reconsidered and reconfi gured so that we don’t bring an unwanted viral guest to our celebrations. Linda and I have already started the uncomfortable conversations regarding Thanksgiving and Christmas — and whether or not our parents can be in the same house as our nieces and nephews. It immediately brings back bleak memories of this past Easter, when the COVID lockdown was still less than a month old and no one was going anywhere — not even to church.

Even the simple, innocent traditions of Halloween have come into question, with some communities (none locally) deciding to cancel trick-or-treating. I’m glad that common sense seems to be prevailing, i.e., if you don’t feel comfortable hosting little ghosts and goblins at your house, keep your porch light off and your doors shut. As a lifelong Halloween fanatic, I hope to see lots of costumed kiddos taking advantage of relatively warm weather (a high of 50!) on Saturday.

Clinging to normalcy has been a strong desire of mine — and many others — ever since “the ‘rona” hit. As I’ve discussed numerous times in this column, I feel like I’m constantly fighting an internal battle between the part of me that wants to rip off my mask and give someone a hug and the more responsible side that tells me to follow the rules and recommendations laid out by medical professionals who are much smarter than me.

I can’t help myself from negotiating, though. When it seems as if Christmas with my side of the family may be in jeopardy, I start suggesting that we all get COVID tests ahead of time and then, assuming the results are negative, we get together as normal. I’m sure that’s not a 100 percent full-proof plan, but it gives me something to look forward to besides a long, dark winter.

An effective antidote to all this grumbling is to count my blessings. My circle of friends and family has been relatively unaffected by this pandemic. The same cannot be said for thousands, if not millions of others, who have lost loved ones and livelihoods. Simply put, it’s never too early to start giving thanks.