Sorry, We’re Closed

Mother’s Marketplace

I live in Hood River, Oregon. The river for which it is named flows north from the foothills of the Mt. Hood National Forest. Its three forks converge ten miles south of town. My youngest son and his family shelter in place near that spot. From there it meanders through woods, pastures, and orchards before emptying into the Columbia River at the waterfront where I often walk.

My wife and I moved here more than forty years ago. Good fortune came from that choice. We raised our sons in the upper valley. Our first home sat on a plateau between the middle and west forks of the river. The roots of the grandkids sprout from the same soil that nurtured their parents. They share the same legacy of mountain forests and streams; wildlife and rural community.

Ace Hardware

The county of Hood River relies upon agriculture and tourism for its existence. Orchards and vineyards thrive in spite of the virus. Tourism, however, stopped abruptly when Oregon’s governor imposed restrictions to prevent the pandemic’s spread.

The itch to be normal again is strong. But, uncertainty circulates through our community. One day there’s confidence the coronavirus will dissipate in the ether of time. The next you are reminded that the disease vectors persist with an ubiquity reminiscent of dandelions. They’re everywhere. 

Camp 1805

Locals, unemployed by the shutdown of small businesses, return to work with caution. Some retail outlets prefer to continue offering their products from behind closed doors. Some restaurants feel takeout only is still appropriate. Other stores allow customers to browse their wares. A few serve food with revised seating to maintain a semblance of social distancing.

Our health department reports 14-18-22-30-37-59-67-81 cases of COVID-19. (The numbers are in flux since posting on 5/31/20.) Some have completely recovered, none required hospitalization, and no one in Hood River has died from the virus. Sheltering in place and the discouragement of visitors worked to keep the level of infection low. Now, as we open ourselves up to outsiders, the risk of disease looms.

What have we learned from the pandemic of 2020?

We know that 370,000 people world wide have died from the disease.

We know that the United States owns over 100,000 of those deaths.

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A disproportionate number of the deaths are borne by the elderly.

We know the delayed response from our national leadership was a mistake.

Rosy pronouncements from the White House conflicted with reality again and again.

We know its disorganized rollout of plans and promises seldom materialized into action.

We know, incredibly, the president has fostered division instead of unity.

The result is confusion and the world’s worst rates of contagion and death.

The result is a collapsed economy that still wobbles.

We know 40 million people are unemployed in the United States.

Forty. Million. People.

We Miss Hanging Out With The Grandkids.

We know simplicity, once enacted, made a difference.

Social distancing, masks, and good hygiene flattened the curve.

We know essential workers in a community are ordinary people, doing ordinary jobs.

We know, if we choose to adjust priorities, hope exists to renew our troubled planet.


The wonders of our rivers and forests and wildlife remain unaffected by the crisis of disease. The human community restricted activities to protect itself from contagion. Now, with the relaxation of those controls, what consequences will the latest new normals deliver?

Answers elude us about things such as whether public schools can open next fall. Then, there’s the renewed permission to be going out and mingling with one another. It’s like a blind date with mortality. You hope to be lucky.

I wait. Time goes by. There will never be no risk. But continuing with preventive behaviors will increase your luck.

9 thoughts on “Sorry, We’re Closed

  1. I went back to work last week, serving breakfast in a hotel. Northern Michigan was allowed to reopen. So far, no new cases up here.

    Your grandkids are sure growing up! So cute. I bet they miss you too, Grandpa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We FaceTime with the grandkids weekly. We have also “risked” a couple of outdoor visits and took precautions. But, it’s not the same.

      I am happy to hear you are working Far From the Madding Crowd in Northern Michigan. Be safe, be vigilant.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I never stopped seeing my grands. Workers in Walmart and grocery stores didn’t wear masks for weeks and as far as I know, none got sick. What governors did in states sending sick covid patients back to long term care facilities was criminal. Fortunate to live in state that didn’t close down much, worked well with using the common sense all of us MMers learned from transplant.. Your area is so beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi JC. Yes, MMer’s who had been through transplants were well versed in the advantages of quarantines. Isolation protected us when we were most vulnerable. Even now, 12 years after my transplant and prior to the coronavirus, I choose not to fly or travel long distances.

      The dreadful consequences of Covid-19 are still evolving. We are not even six months into the impact of this disease. Maybe in June of 2021, we will better understand. I hope you and I are still here and enjoying our grandkids. 😊


      1. Thank you. I did fly when I had time off treatment during my last 13 years, but don’t anymore. CART is in my near future I think. So, each day I get with family is a blessing. I was not the best patient when it came to isolation after both of my transplants…was fortunate enough to get away with it. Enjoy your pictures so much.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Been thinking a lot lately about nature’s total indifference to our plight. It does not know good or evil, God or the Devil.
    It does not give a flip for our friends and loved ones, our babies and our grandparents. It will send us tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and disease, but also much wonder and beauty as you so ably testify to.

    There are lessons to learn from this pandemic. Let’s hope we learn them.

    Liked by 1 person

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