By Joe Rector

Last Memorial Day, the nation was closed down tightly as Covid-19 ravaged even the smallest towns. This year, things were much different. Responsible folks chose to get vaccinations, and enough have done so that we can cautiously come out for the spring and summer season.

If you’re thinking things seem different, join the crowd. It is as if we’ve been in some kind of suspended animation. Everything that we took for granted is special now. Folks love spending time outside. Nature seems to be excited as well because the birds are singing louder and more often. The cicadas have awakened after their long naps and are filling the air with their mating calls. To some of us, being shut in for such a long time and now being able to go outside has brought on devastating allergic attacks. The pollen is thick as dust and has us sneezing and rubbing our itching eyes. Still, we refuse to go back inside to be trapped again.

I’m happiest for the kids. This is the first generation in over 100 years that has been trapped. Schools closed the doors to classroom education; instead, children tried to complete lessons on computers through virtual learning. The concept sounded good, but I seriously doubt that many students excelled this past year. In fact, I’d bet that next year might be spent in remediation.

Now, they can play with friends and simply be together. The most important lessons in educations have been absent for the last year. With the protection from new medicines, young people can now learn how to get along with others, how to participate in groups, and how to communicate with others. As well, they can share the joys of extracurricular activities that are so important in the development of  individuals.

This return to the old ways has hit adults hard. Being idle for so long makes returning to a schedule tough. Dealing with less-than-pleasant co-workers demands extra efforts. Even returning to the office and wearing something other than sweatpants and t-shirts has proven to be a chafing experience.

Of course, the return to freedom will save many relationships. None of us is meant to be with another person 24-7. Work doesn’t look so bad when it offers a break from all that closeness. A little distance makes the heart grow fonder.

What all of us are discovering is that all this time with others outside our houses is exhausting. We are re-learning how to be with other people. To our surprise, social settings suck our energies quickly. After just a few hours, folks go home and collapse from the time spent with others. It takes students a while to settle back into school routines and the remember correct way to behave in class. Being tired after a day of school makes completing homework and projects almost impossible.

We are on the road to recovery. Every person should get the vaccinations; no one has the right to endanger others by expressing his so-called freedom of speech. Before long, let’s hope that Covid-19 is in the past. While we return to our former lives, let’s make sure that we pace ourselves until our strength is back. Still, enjoy the return to a healthy world and give thanks to those who made it possible. Let’s hope we are better prepared for the next catastrophe that surely will occur.