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The Old Order vs. the New Coronavirus World

By Garland O. Goodwin

Remember When column

As an ol’ timer of some 90 years experience, I marvel at the prospects of the post-coronavirus world. Emily Foster-Dona sent me a facebook message that triggered my thinking on this subject.

Astronomer Jim Cooper has also awakened my sleeping brain by his paper on “Life Elsewhere.” As one of Fran’s teachers asked her class, “Do you think the Lord made all of this just for US?”

I remember looking at the sky on the really dark nights of Rippy Hill as a boy, marveling at the overwhelming brightness of the Milky Way. I learned to find the “Big Dipper” and follow its lead to the North Star. The only other constellation I remember recognizing part of was the three stars of Orion’s belt.

Emily’s video of a “bedtime story” inspired me to reply in terms of other boyhood enjoyments, such as being able to climb the local mountains and able to run halfway home from school in Tryon alongside a road grader to study the mechanism for positioning its scraper blade.

I also mentioned putting my hand on the mule’s jaw to feel the vibrations as she crunched on the corn I had just put in her trough. I also loved my other animal friends that I spent a lot of time with: my cat Scarlett, who used to meet me coming home from school and ride the rest of the way on my shoulders; Mama Rippy’s chow dog Jerry, who guarded our premises against all visitors, including tomcats courting Scarlett; and her purebred Jersey cow Jean, who I used to curry with the mule’s curry-comb and milk twice a day when fresh.

Jean was a special pet, because she was pretty much my responsibility. I led her to the different fenced pastures, I mixed the various dry feeds that she ate while I milked her, and always prepared her stable for the arrival of her calf. She always chose to drop the calf in a remote hiding place far from the barn!

I was also responsible for teaching the newborn calf to drink from a bucket instead of his mama. That was not fun, but I also want to say here that I think there is nothing prettier or more lovable than a newborn Jersey calf!

All of this is to say that I grew up in a simpler time when we all enjoyed the outdoors. The tech world of the internet and television enabled us to become couch spuds, sitting for hours on end. Many of us have discovered that we can watch only so much TV or internet fare, read only so much, or sleep only so much, during this “social distancing” time.

In the time of Dickens, office workers STOOD before tall tables (example at Polk County Historical Association Museum in Columbus) to do their work. I stood more than I sat before my drawing table, but I had a tall stool to sit on sometimes. When we began to use computers to draw, the transition to more sitting also began.

Now I sit at my computer, or on the sofa to watch the evening news on the TV. All of this sitting has given me aches and pains that I never had before, when I was more active. I am walking on the treadmill once more because the parking lots here are too hilly, and I cannot walk far enough to warrant going to Harmon Field.

When the coronavirus restrictions are removed, will we then become more active, as we are allowed to patronize restaurants and gather for events (no, still SITTING!)? Cannot say what most of us will do, but I am resolving to stand and walk more than now. I will walk around the store while Fran shops instead of sitting on a bench (“watching all the girls go by”) while I wait for her to finish.