COTTREL: A year of progress amid pandemic, and more still to be made

Pam Cottrel
Pam Cottrel

A year ago, we were deep in the COVID-19 pandemic. My husband and I had tested positive at the beginning of the month, and were completing our quarantine just before Thanksgiving. Number one on our Thanksgiving blessing list was just being alive.

This year even though that pesky pandemic is still going on like the Energizer Bunny, we can add something new near the top of our list of blessings and that is “Progress.”

We have over this last year made tremendous progress toward living normal lives again.

My husband and I came out of COVID with our own antibodies and to that we added our first Johnson & Johnson immunization, once they had been approved.

We felt blessed to have two ways to fight COVID; our own antibodies and the J&J shot. Recently, we were able to add the Moderna booster to our defensive lineup.

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It was easy to get the immunizations at the Clark County Combined Health District and at local pharmacies. We are pleased that these continue to be easily attainable and are thankful for all the volunteers who helped make this possible.

We watched our friends go through their own dilemmas, trying to decide if they would get the immunization or not. They also had to decide which of the immunizations was best for their bodies.

The discussions we had with friends and family were deep and sincere. I think we have the most diverse group of people in our lives and their take on what they needed to do was just as diverse. Serious study of individual situations made for some lively discussions. We didn’t agree but we each did what we felt was correct for us. The good news is that we are all still kicking. That is also on my blessing list this year.

Last year, we refused to shop in a grocery. Today, I am thankful that I was able to go buy the turkey in the store by myself this year. Everything else we needed; the ingredients for stuffing, potatoes, sweet potatoes, even those yummy crispy onions for the green bean casserole were on the shelves awaiting purchase. That surprised me since we had heard that the supply chain that brought the holiday menu items was broken. Well, they may be low on toilet paper at the store but Thanksgiving ingredients were available.

Although those last-minute extra vacation days that Springfield schools added this week created more chaos for our family schedule than it helped, we are for the most part pleased that learning is back in school and not distance learning. We are thankful for education in the classrooms.

Personally, I am very thankful that we are once again worshiping in the church on Sunday mornings. Communion in the simple form of a small container of wine and a bread has just returned for some of us. Other churches are at different points in their return to normal but it is better than it was a year ago for all of us. For this we are very grateful.

The return of our local festivals; Heritage of Flight, Apple Butter, Summer Arts, Fair at New Boston, etc. has been a joy. Some were not quite as before but they actually happened. Parades marched on our streets on holidays, fireworks filled the skies. and athletics returned. We are appreciative.

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We are looking forward to December and the buildup to Christmas. It will be more fun this year than last, but we cannot totally be free of concern because of increasing cases of COVID-19.

We have been asked to be renew our cautious behavior over the holiday season. I, for one, will wear the mask again when it is required. I’ll wash my hands, use hand sanitizer and remember those social distancing rules. I will be extra careful when visiting relatives older than me and anyone whose health is precarious. And we will respectfully remember those who haven’t survived the pandemic.

I’m doing this because I really, really want to celebrate our victory over COVID next Thanksgiving. I think that is a goal we all can agree upon. Progress.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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