Bill Sniffin: What Will You Remember About The Pandemic Of 2020?

As a journalist, covering the pandemic has been possibly the biggest story of my life. That is the main thing I will remember about this crazy period.

Bill Sniffin

May 04, 20205 min read

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As a journalist, covering the pandemic has been possibly the biggest story of my life. That is the main thing I will remember about this crazy period. 

I reached out to some other interesting folks and asked them what they will remember: 

World traveler and bestselling author Mark Jenkins of Laramie says: “The world is suffering horribly, so much so that I feel guilty living in Wyoming. Due to our wide-open spaces and small population, we can still get outside without seeing a soul. I have cross country skied or rock climbed or mountain biked or hiked every single day since the beginning of the pandemic.”    

Down in Wheatland, Chuck Brown says: “Kate has cleaned every drawer, every closet, every other conceivable surface in the house, and my greatest fear is that she is going to start on me very soon! She also has been seen out scouting around the yard, just waiting for one or two weeds to surface so they can be demolished as well! Happy Covid 19.”

Helen LaRose of Lander: “We’ve gone back to basics. Both of us are over 60 years old and one of us is immunocompromised.  We drove back home from a winter retreat in Texas under the radar and quietly self-quarantined for two weeks.  

“No bread on the shelves? I restarted my sourdough. It’s never been so bubbly and well attended. Home cooking at its peak, the grill and smoker under my husband’s care is turning out delicious meat. And the seedlings for my victory garden are receiving close monitoring, moving by my hand to meet the sun all day long. Our retirement income and long walks continue. Occasional drives out to our Wyoming beauty have taken our breath away.  

“What do I miss? Being able to help. I fall into the elderly ‘be careful’ group.   I can’t volunteer to this community and it hurts my soul. Deeply.  Our kids in Houston FaceTime regularly but we miss them and worry about them as they maneuver through this new economic and health pandemic.” 

Former Green River resident Jack Pugh: “The Spanish Flu killed about 18 million people worldwide. We’re all too young to have lived through that. But we’ve got this one, this pandemic. We need to see the present through the lens of the past. This current pandemic will have to do us, I suppose, and the docs say it’s far from over.” 

Tom Cox: “The best part of this pandemic is speculating on how it’s going to change our culture. With the technology available today, I can see some big advances in the pharmaceutical industry. Maybe even, a better understanding of cancer or neurological maladies. It’s been a rough few weeks with some more to come before we develop immunity for everyone. The biggest disappointment, I think, is the pervasiveness of politics in dealing with this crisis.” 

Bill Schilling of Casper is hunkering down near Princeville on Kauai says: “Two standouts: first, how quickly Rotary at the club, district and international have adapted to zoom meetings without missing a beat in terms of congeniality; and second, how mindful citizens have become regarding social distancing. And how the vast majority are behaving with acceptance of the new normal 

Bill and Sue Lee of Lander: “In the last month drove twice to Bellingham, Washington, for the birth of our second grandson.  Driving straight through.  Clorox wipes, gloves and face mask.  Stopping only to get gas.  Taking food in cooler.  Potty breaks in the woods.  Now on to self-quarantine for two weeks now that we are home.”

Jerry Kendall of Hudson says: “We’re gonna make it through this. When we do, I hope that we will use what we have learned from it and not go back to the way it was before, but instead move forward in a decent, honorable way. Look out for one another instead of senseless bickering and refusing to even talk to someone who does not think the same way we do.” 

In my own case, as of this writing, we have been hunkering down at our home in Lander. We have been self-quarantined here since March 15, over six weeks. 

We have gotten along surprisingly well and on the health front, neither of us has had the flu, a cold, or even the sniffles.  This quarantine business has its positive effects.  If you are not exposed to anyone, especially, the grandkids, you are less likely to pick up some of those nasty spring diseases. 

So far, Zoom, Uber, and Go-to-meeting virtual meetings — have been over 30 so far.  Rarely did I ever do one of these before. Now some days can see as many as four such meetings. 

We are proud of those ordinary folks delivering food, stocking shelves, doing police and firefighter work, cooking in restaurants (for take-out), and a whole slew of folks we always took for granted. They are my new heroes and I will never look through them or take them for granted again. Ever. 

The medical folks and EMT folks deserve special consideration. All across the country, American citizens have a new appreciation for the dangerous work they are doing.

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Bill Sniffin

Wyoming Life Columnist

Columnist, author, and journalist Bill Sniffin writes about Wyoming life on Cowboy State Daily -- the state's most-read news publication.