And so here we are … another week of living life with the “virus.”
I must admit, the more I hear that word and words like “social distancing,” “essential,” and “the curve” the more I feel as if this movie is just completely crazy.
As the weeks go by, I feel (at least I hope) we become increasingly aware of the good fortune we may have once took for granted.
In the community of Oakdale alone, this past week that seemed more evident than anytime thus far. Rodeo week has now come and gone and … it’s weird. The lively women walking the streets on Wednesday, as they do each year never showed up. The H-B busting with people out on the sidewalk, never appeared. The ceremonial shutting of F street so the Shriners clowns, buckaroos and Clydesdales could travel from the West end to the East end – also nada, nothing, no parade. And of course the rodeo grounds remained vacant this second weekend in April for the first time in Oakdale Rodeo history.
For those unfamiliar or who leave town to escape the Wild West and western heritage that takes over the Cowboy Capital for a solid week-plus this void truly made this “virus” sink in for a great number of us.
Now I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the annual event was not cancelled but rather postponed due to our current state and county guidelines. So, Rodeo Week could still happen, but man last week was weird.
As I sat and spoke with a few friends about the void during an interview we spoke about how this is the time that town “comes alive.” Typically beginning with the Oakdale Rotary’s Testicle Festival the weeks seem to just roll by. Events and excitement seem to build, our schools even host a Western Heritage Day in honor of our town history and annual event.
This year, it’s just all different and as much as we do our best to “flatten the curve” and “stay positive,” it’s all just weird, frustrating and confusing.
Say what you may, explain as you will but this girl, well … I’ll never get used to seeing people out in masks and gloves and streets empty of cars. I’m still not used to not being able to pop into a local shop to pick something up for Easter and yes, I missed covering the Annual Kiwanis Club Egg Hunt this year.
The flip side of course is the recognition of how blessed we are to live in a town, which hosts so many events to bring this community together. Even as the local “news girl” I never truly realized it, until it was all taken away.
And so, now here we are in the midst of Spring Break. Nowadays what that looks like is laptops are put away, mom is not inquiring on lessons learned and we joke about where the day might take us for some Spring Break fun. We also bake a lot of bread and are amazed by how short its shelf life is, as it quickly becomes consumed.
Next week we will begin implementing more family use of the home gym as sedentary life can and does catch up with the quarantined.
There’s a lot to be said about this unprecedented time. I hope you’re all keeping track in some way, shape or form which suits you. I also hope to never live through a time like this again. And yes, I’m more grateful now than ever before that I’m well and healthy, as is my family.
Yet we will get to the other side of this and when we do, I hope each of us remember all that we’ve “shared” through the past and coming weeks. Give less to the Big Box stores and more to our locals, God willing that they are able to reopen. Attend our local events and when donation time comes, choose a local service club to support.
If we are truly going to be in this together, we must continue to embrace that post-virus just as much as while trapped in isolation. Stay safe, be smart and wash your hands – oh and a shower doesn’t hurt either. Ay corona. Be well.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.