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Dawn Hankins

Pencil Shavings

Dawn Hankins is a staff writer for the Times-Gazette.

Opinion

New year, same old song? No way!

Thursday, January 7, 2021
Drawing by John I. Carney

I was so excited to learn the other day that Barry Gibb — a member of one of my all-time favorite singing groups, The Bee Gees — and Tennessee’s own Dolly Parton are doing a remake of the brothers’ Gibb song, “Words.” Due to current circumstances, they should have remade another famous Bee Gees hit, “Stayin’ Alive.”

Perhaps this one would have really rung true for a COVID-19 year? Some of the lyrics: “Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother, you're stayin' alive, stayin' alive!”

I’ll skip past the falsetto part, which you 70s folks know you love.

As for things reminiscent of 2020, I saw a great drawing the other day on Facebook, which I think as well sums up this last year so well. It’s a drawing by my previous T-G editor John Carney; he’s become quite the pen and ink artist since leaving the paper last spring.

I’m proud to be able to debut one of John’s latest sketches — Baby Time (2021) telling old Father Time (2020) to get the heck out of Dodge.

The drawing reminded me of how innocent we all were during our New Year’s Day 2020 celebrations. Boy, were we blind-sided when it all started back in March.

Sadly, many lost friends and loved ones in 2020. Others have watched friends and family grow weak from the virus inhibiting their bodies.

Praise for those able to recover and go home with loved ones. They have a long road ahead of them, for the most part.

We’ve been quarantined more than anyone wants to count in 2020. Christmas was wrought with separation and marred traditions.

Still, we’re staying alive.

There’s nothing worse than having to say, ‘I love you’ through text, phone or tossing cleaning supplies up to your 78-year-old mom’s back door. While I feel guilty as a good daughter for doing that, I feel blessed to still have her here. We will continue to be safe.

People are scared.

I heard someone say the other day their husband coughed in a public place, that is, due to prolonged mask wearing. If looks could kill, she explained.

We make “COVIE” jokes to help us cope. We all know though this is really serious.

If you’re making fun of people wearing masks, check your sympathy for others; we’re all in this together.

I still believe in wearing a mask. I’m serious about burning masks in effigy when all this is over.

I still have my faithful fabric one that was made by a co-worker. I like it because it has washed well and held up over a year. Yep, I’m sick of wearing it.

Call it obsessive compulsive, but I wash my work clothes as soon as I can get to the laundry room each evening. My clothes are starting to get pin holes. Still, I remind myself I can buy new clothes, if necessary.

The alternative is not reasonable. Letting our guard down now is also not reasonable or smart at all.

It’s staying with us. And it is easy to catch.

A friend was eating Christmas lunch at her place of employment with co-workers. She was laughing, having a good time.

That night, she became ill from the virus and developed pneumonia. From that point forward until after New Year’s, she was sick but is certainly blessed to have recovered.

Continue to rally prayers and support for your neighbors in 2021 — even if you’ve already had the virus. Others are yet to experience the event.

Scarier, if there is a such thing, apparently this THING has an evil step sister, which has already invaded Colorado and California. If all reports are accurate, it’s a demon spawn of what we’ve been dealing with since March.

I certainly agree this THING called corona is long and getting drawn out. Keep on fighting the good fight. Don’t give up the faith.

I’m reminded of a song by the group, Foo Fighters (I only like a few, but this one is good): It's times like these you learn to live again, It's times like these you give and give again, It's times like these you learn to love again, It's times like these time and time again.

Of all the things we’ve learned, or at least should have, it’s that we’re all right now on the same playing field, regardless of where we come from, as they say around here. This virus can touch any of us, at any time.

So what will be the “new normal?”

For many of us, it may mean we have to wear masks even longer this year. For teachers, it may mean less meaningful interaction with their students. For churches, more online services.

These are things we’ve adjusted to this year much easier than we ever thought. Still, there are things we don’t want to continue doing in 2021 . . . waiting in line at the health department to get tested for the virus.

Those who haven’t been through that swab procedure don’t know what it is like.

But one thing I will say, there are certainly aspects of this year that do not bear repeating. That would certainly be COVID testing.

While I have the upmost respect for the nurses who are administering those COVID tests, I must say I’m a weenie, always have been, when it comes to white coats. The young woman who recently tested me was so kind, especially with my middle grandson, who is on the higher spectrum for autism.

We had talked about the test and what the nurse would do; he was so brave. Autistic children don’t cope as well with the unexpected.

Ironically, he laughed. For me, yeah, it hurt!

Go figure.

But at the same time, I cried in my own heart that my little ones had to undergo something that’s well, just plain weird. You drive by a building and a white uniform clad nurse walks up to your car window with a long swab aimed at your nostrils.

It’s a sign of the current times in which we live.

It is sobering the day you read your test results. I was fortunate mine, and my little grandson’s, said COVID-19-not detectable.

I pray for those right now going through the hardships from the coronavirus. I’m so thankful my cousin, who has been hospitalized since late November with COVID, is now home and able to walk to his bathroom this week. This is something he hasn’t been able to do since entering the hospital.

I have other family and friends who’ve been brushed with such a scare during their illness. By the grace of God, they’re now among those on the “recovered” list.

I’ve had the opportunity to talk with nurses this year — one, a PCU nurse out of state, who is expecting a baby in February. She’s so dedicated to her profession, but more so to those separated from their families, due to COVID-19.

I’ve talked with a 40-plus-year-old who nearly died this year from COVID-19. He spent over a month in the hospital on a ventilator; he couldn’t be touched by family.

“That was the hardest part,” he said.

The Shelbyville father is home now. So are others.

Our hearts go out to the families of those Tennesseans, who due to COVID-19, have gone on to their eternal homes. There are so many prayers needed.

So, could we all mask up just a little longer. I believe with all my heart it’s the best prescription for a happier new year from COVID-19.

Bless you all as you walk this journey together — still 6 feet apart.

For those of us still standing after this pandemic year, we realize it’s not going to be over, ’til it’s over. Judging from this week’s active COVID-19 case numbers, if accurate, we’re looking at possibly another long year still ahead of us.

Just remember what famous author C.S. Lewis once said, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Mask up when in public, Bedford Countians.