I’ve been calling around the county, asking, “How are you doing? What are you doing? What are you seeing?”
BeaverCountian.com has been running the stories I hear, as well as those from other site contributors, as part of the series “Beaver County Coronavirus Chronicles.”
Questions come naturally to me. Just ask my mother, who’s told me for as long as I can remember that I ask too many questions. But, obviously, I think they’re important, especially as we all hunker down, eat and drink too much, and worry about COVID-19.
Personally, I worry for my 70-ish-year-old parents in New Sewickley Township. Dad has serious lung and heart issues, and their age alone makes them big targets. I’ve been begging them to stay home and stay away from people. And my father, a real Archie Bunker type who typically doesn’t listen to anyone, is actually listening. He’s keeping what we affectionately call his “gas ass” in his recliner.
When my sister dropped off papers for them this morning because Mum can’t live without her crosswords, Dad asked her to wipe them down. The news out of Italy scared them enough to listen. And they’re listening intently to constant news sources. They’re taking this very seriously and I’m glad.
I worry for my nephew who lives in Nashville with his fiancé. Some of you might know him, Christian Beck of Freedom. He’s a country singer who made the move to give the big time a go. His lovely fiancé is a nurse and we worry for their exposure. They’re bingeing “Designated Survivor” on Netflix right now and going nuts in their small apartment.
I worry about the status of their wedding, scheduled for May. I worry my father shouldn’t attend, which would be heartbreaking for my nephew.
I worry for my youngest sister in West Virginia, who is having a heck of a time keeping her teenage son away from visiting his girlfriend.
I worry for another friend about to be a first-time grandma. She won’t be able to go into the hospital or hold the baby.
I email with very dear friends in the south of England. Their daughter, son-in-law and two granddaughters live in Spain.
“Are you both well?” my English friend asked. “Oh do look after yourselves. We’re alright but are being very sensible now. Not going out, just to pop for provisions, and not many of them really because my freezer is full as I expected a houseful for Easter. There has been talk about mental health issues coming out of all this and I can see how fragile people could succumb. I am a bit down in the dumps because my Spanish girls can’t come. In fact, they are not allowed (allowed!) to leave the house, never mind the country. (Our son-in-law) can go to work but has authorisation and has actually been stopped by police.”
I feel sad for friends with kids in college and high school who are missing their sports participation and labs, and maybe their senior proms and in-person graduations. I fear for people like the Apostolis family members who run and own Athens Family Restaurant in Beaver Falls and are worried about their future.
And, let’s be honest, I chuckle inwardly at friends who are ready to take the bridge if their younger kids don’t settle down.
I regularly wonder about people who go to Facebook groups to ask questions they could easily find themselves also online, but I suppose they’d rather scroll through hundreds of responses and snarky comments.
Then I get on social media and see people like Judith Bert, Tim Reddinger and Chuck Bates in Bridgewater recording a video telling people that they are there for them. I see neighbors on social app Nextdoor offering their help to anyone who needs it.
Then I talk to truly wonderful people like Karey McIntyre in New Brighton, who is busting her butt to run the Twelve Loaves Soup Kitchen in New Brighton. I’ve talked to local pastors who have found virtual ways to keep their parishioners and others comforted. I admire people who see any silver lining in this stressful time.
In my 30 years as a journalist, I’ve covered stories of people rising to triumph over challenges of pretty much every kind you can imagine. Horrible fires. Murders. Plane crashes. But what we are all going through now is a new one for me, an event with the potential to change the world permanently. It’s very important we chronicle our local experience for future generations.
So I’m going to keep asking, “How are you doing? What are you doing? What are you seeing?”
And I’m asking you to share your stories.
You may think you don’t have one, but you are wrong.
Send them to BeaverCountian.com and I’ll write them for you, with or without your name if you’re not comfortable. Share, and whether you know it or not, someone else will relate, be informed and maybe find comfort.
How are you doing? What are you doing? What are you seeing?
Please tell me.