From the editor: Setting examples and following ‘orders’

Published 12:34 am Wednesday, March 25, 2020

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Dawn Burleigh, Editor

Stay well.

Stay safe. 

Do you have enough toilet paper?

Not exactly the conversations we expected to have as we start off 2020.

While many of us are learning how to slow down and stay at home, others are enjoying the opportunity to catch their breath, so to speak.

I have had to laugh a time or two as I overheard someone singing Happy Birthday or ABC from a bathroom.

It reminds me of a conversation with my late sister in law, Terry, several years ago. She started by telling me how she had embarrassed herself in the restroom at work one day. 

Terry saw an elderly woman singing happy birthday to herself as she washed her hands. My sister in law wished the woman happy birthday because why else would she be singing, right?

The lady quickly explained the importance of washing one’s hands and if you sing happy birthday to yourself you will have washed them long enough.

Terry and I giggled like schoolgirls over it because one could not stay mad about anything if they were singing Happy Birthday.

So, while concerns are heightened, I have had an opportunity to recall some fond memories with a very precious young lady.

During the great TP shortage of 2020, we will have several stories to tell the next generation about how we survived this situation. We are also learning how to reconnect with our families and how to reach out to our neighbors to check on them. This is a positive moment in this ‘craze’.

This period of our history has been referred to many things in recent days, from fear, craze, evil all while pointing blame to others. When I say others, I have heard the media did it, a beer did it, a nation did it, another nation did it, the government did it.

Consider our country 100 years ago as it was facing a rise in influenza. They did not have the technology available today to help spread the information as quickly as today. 

If they had and stayed home, maybe they would not have lost so many to the disease.

And while we may be tired of hearing how ‘this is unprecedented’, we are dealing with a disease which has spread across the globe faster than ever before. 

Stop and heed the guidelines issued by Orange County Judge John Gothia, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, and President Donald Trump. 

While we may not be able to completely eradicate the coronavirus, the one tool we all have to help ‘flatten the curve’ is to limit exposure to others. It may mean staying at home and watching movies or finally reading that book you have been meaning to pick up, but it could also help save one more person from getting the virus. 

While it is true, most do recover from it, that is not the point. The point is trying to help protect the widow at church or the person down the street with a heart condition or the young man with diabetes. It is about doing your part to help those who need you to give up your routine for a couple of weeks because they are not able to fight for themselves.

Check on those living alone to see if they have what they need and share with them if you are able. A phone call may be the only interaction they can have right now as the world feels as if it was put on hold.

Reflect on all those times you requested ‘things to slow down’ so you could ‘catch your breath’. Well, that time is here, and you are not taking advantage of it.

Stop, smell the flowers or the coffee while you reconnect with those not on social media or have texting skills all while maintaining social distancing. 

Together, we will get through this.


Dawn Burleigh is the general manager and editor of The Orange Leader. She can be reached at