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Column: What will happen to our major holidays?
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

Like a lot of people, I hoped the coronavirus would be fading into the sunset by now.  

That’s not necessarily the case. Some places that had a major outbreak earlier in the year are now seeing a resurgence of the virus. 

Everybody wants to blame somebody, but the truth of it is we don’t have vaccines that have passed all the tests, and we’re not sure exactly how the virus spreads. 

It reminds me of the outbreak of AIDS in the 1980s. We didn’t have medicine, and were afraid of what was happening. 

Sometimes, when I’m standing in the yard, young missionaries come by from the Mormon church up the street. I may not agree with them, but there is no reason we can’t be polite. Sadly, I’ve seen some of my neighbors slam the door on them. 

I wonder if that will be how we deal with young ghosts and goblins who come to our doors in search of candy on Halloween. Do we throw a morsel of candy at them and slam the door, or do we just pretend we’re not home? 

Supermarkets have huge aisles of candy. I’m afraid there may be a big after-Halloween sale. 

There are those who are recommending that we don’t get together with big groups of family members, particularly if that includes vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and medically frail.  

I like Thanksgiving, but I don’t want to do anything that could be the death knell for someone gathered around the table. The same is true for Christmas gatherings with large family meals. 

And what about Santa? Are we going to make him wear a mask? Can herds of small children still sit in his lap? 

There are some things already decided that are breaking my heart. Our annual Living Christmas Tree will not be held this year. This would have been my 20th year. I’ll have to push that milestone further down the road. 

What about New Year’s Eve? There have been thousands of people gathered in New York City’s Times Square to watch the ball drop, marking the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. Unless things change, I doubt there is a singer who would want to perform in such an environment. 

I laughed off the talk of an epidemic when we first started hearing about it. Now, I know of several people who have died and others who had a brush with death as they battled COVID-19 earlier this year. We have lost doctors and nurses, who were giving their all to treat the ailing. 

It is real, and there are many annual traditions we may have to forego. 

I keep hearing stories of people who do not believe it is real because it hasn’t attacked someone they know. There are people who don’t want to be told by the government that they have to wear a mask or other protective items. If the difference between living and dying is a mask, let’s put it on. 

Until then, we need to pray for a cure and for those who are too ignorant to realize how dangerous this virus is. 

I hope they make it until next holiday season.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the weekend Life page and on