Doing my part with a mask on

Published 10:15 am Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Today’s Special

This mask isn’t going to get the best of me. I’m not particularly fond of wearing one…it’s hot, confusing, inconvenient, uncomfortable, not exactly pretty, a sign of these unsettling times, aggravating, cumbersome, and only effective when worn correctly.

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However, I will wear it in spite of it all. DW and I’ve committed ourselves to wearing ours when or wherever we could potentially catch or spread this pandemic causing virus.  I don’t want to get COVID-19, I don’t have the right to make someone else sick, and neither do others have the right to make me or my loved ones sick.  This mask is not to make a political or social statement, but for doing my part in stopping the spread of the disease and keeping my family safe.

There’s no harm in being cautious.  I’ve hurt no one else because I wear mine and if it turns out that it’s not necessary, so what!  And it doesn’t bother me (but it does) that local leaders (also in Tennessee) don’t take the lead and set an example for all of us…. but I will wear a mask regardless of who are or are not wearing theirs.

In fact, I may wear one until 2020 is over…. I will wear mine as a show of solidarity with health care workers everywhere and the staff at the assisted living center where my nearly 90-year-old mother resides.  Most definitely a strong economy makes life better for all of us so I’ll support my local retail businesses, grocery stores, restaurants and their mask-wearing employees by wearing mine when I’m a customer.  Really, it’s not that big of a deal, but it is.

I’ll wear mine to support teachers and school staff everywhere who are also on the front battle lines of this epidemic.  For sure, school needed to get started, but God bless them, they are bravely facing the unknown as they guide, guard, and protect students including my grandchildren.

They face off with COVID in classrooms every day while trying to teach with masks on, having to constantly clean and sanitize (even though the necessary products aren’t always provided), trying to keep masks on their students, maintaining approved social distancing in the classroom…down the hall and out the door, preparing and monitoring virtual lessons as well to support those students at home and responding to confused and sometimes angry and/or helpless parents.

And, they have to be ever ready to make changes in an instant as policies evolve, not to mention that teachers are always facing possible quarantine or sickness themselves.  No, wearing my mask is not a problem. It’s the least I can do.

Thankfully, it’s not necessary 24/7. There’s no need to wear one when it’s not needed, like in your car by yourself or with someone you live with.  You don’t need it outside if you’re not in a group of people.  Mine’s off the second I step out of a business if no one is close to me.

We wear ours in and out of church and try to keep our distance too, we have too many members at high risk. I grocery shop early or very late in the day when there aren’t so many other shoppers making distancing easier. And for good measure I check our temperatures every day and keep hand sanitizers handy.

The worst part of wearing a mask is remembering to.  It has been rather confusing. Too often I’ve left the house without one or had to return to the car for one, but that’s only a slight inconvenience.

Sometimes I, without thinking, take off my mask instead of my sunglasses when I enter a business and recently, I walked right into a doctor’s office with my mask in my hand.  The COVID monitor asked if I had a mask, I replied yes and stared at her.  She said, politely, staring back, “would you please put it on.”  I tried to get it on before my face turned red.

You just might as well make the best of it and laugh when you can.  Mask on. Seriously.

Recipe of the Week

Vanilla Comfort Rice Pudding

It’s Rice month and DW thinks this pudding is sure nice! 

2 ½ cups whole milk

⅓ cup uncooked short grain white rice

Pinch of salt

1 egg

¼ cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

⅓ cup raisins (optional, but I do include them)

In a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan bring the milk, rice, salt to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, simmer until rice is tender, about 20 -25 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. In a small mixing bowl, whisk egg and brown sugar until well mixed.  Add one half cup of hot rice mixture to egg mixture, one tablespoon at a time, whisking to mix well to temper egg.  Add egg mixture back to sauce pan with rice and milk, stir on low for 10 minutes or until thickened. Be careful not to bring mixture back to a boil. Stir in vanilla. Remove from heat, stir in raisins and cinnamon.  Spoon into compotes and serve while warm.