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Column: Returning to life and thankful for support of friends, readers
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

I’m back.

After a six-week tussle with a virus, I have resumed life. It feels good to be back in circulation.

While I watched the world from my TV and the window, I secretly hoped that I would wake up and find this was all a dream. It was not.

I also hoped that our fussing, fighting, shooting and outrage was just a bad dream. It was, but unfortunately it was real.

We have made no strides in resolving the disputes that seem to dominate our daily lives. Folks are still yelling at each other and, in some cases, using weapons to try to resolve their problems.

We’ll keep hoping for better.

I think being sick gives one an opportunity to measure the value of friendship. Between notes, cards and messages on social media, I learned that I am blessed with a strong contingent of friends. When I felt a little low, I could look at my phone or flip through some cards to see the expressions of concern.

There is something therapeutic about knowing you’re not alone in a tough moment.

I’m proud of our hospital system. I was a guest of theirs for about eight days and the various professionals were working hard to care for patients. It came at a time when hospitals everywhere were stretched to the limit. Rooms were filled and every available person was needed to care for those who were there to seek treatment.

I wasn’t in intensive care and was glad; nine out of 10 intensive care beds were in use. They had to keep a few of them available in case of a car crash or a drive-by shooting.

While I was fortunate not to have COVID-19, I heard report after report in the media about how many people were undergoing treatment and how many of them were unvaccinated. Folks have all sorts of reasons to justify not getting the shot and I respect their right to do so.

Some reasons, such as the notion that the vaccine gives the government the ability to track your movements, are really far-fetched. When you ask them why they believe it, the answer usually comes down to “I read it on the internet.”

For those who have indicated they missed what I have to say in this space, thank you. It’s nice to know that words on a page have meaning to others.

While I was getting better, I was sad to learn that former Secretary of State Colin Powell was not. Powell, who died last week, had several ailments that were only complicated by his exposure to COVID, despite the fact that he had the vaccine.

Powell came to Gainesville over a decade ago for a private event. He was stationed at the Ranger Camp in Dahlonega during his training, decades earlier. The Army encouraged soldiers to attend local church services. There was a concern about sending a young Black officer to the white churches in Dahlonega. The Army placed Powell in a troop-carrier truck and drove him to Gainesville. He wasn’t sure of the church, but based on the description, it was either St. John or First Baptist on what was then Myrtle Street.

Powell was a great leader both in and out of uniform. I hope he may have drawn a little inspiration from sermons he heard in Gainesville.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns publish weekly. 

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