Day Two: Always Look for the Helpers

You knew I’d get around to Mr. Rogers before long, didn’t you?

Nope. Haven’t gone out to the stores yet. My gauge is the half-gallon milk jug in the refrigerator. Once it’s in the quarter-full (optimist’s view!) range, I’ll don my gloves and face mask and head out, probably not to Trader Joe’s, but some less-traveled market if possible. I hope to avoid lines, so if stores are still whack-o busy, I can always resort to oat milk from the pantry. After all…I bought it.

But speaking of Trader Joe’s, I don’t mean to point them out as bad guys. From all reports, they’re turning out to be one of the community helpers these days. According to a neighbor’s recent visit, seniors are being given special consideration, carts and hands are sprayed at the entrance and exit doors, plus shoppers were given a beautiful bunch of free flowers on their way out at his visit.

Other local businesses are striving to make a difference in our community, too. Tony and Alba’s Pizza and Pasta not only makes home deliveries, but are delivering free pizza and a salad to local residents 70 and older. Another local grocery chain, Zanotto’s, is offering special hours for at-risk residents. And I love hearing about just-us people reaching out to neighbors they don’t know with offers of assistance, just making connections. And then there was the guy in LA who was redistributing donated toilet paper for free on a drive-by street corner.

All of our essential service providers–healthcare and social workers, shop clerks, gas station attendants, maintenance workers of all forms–not only continue to work long hours in a time of madness, but carry the added stress of our short tempers and fears, the ongoing exposure to potential virus infection, plus the worry of exposing any family members at home.

If you’re reading this from outside a locked-down community, perhaps also pay attention to where the Mr. Rogers’ video was embedded: the American Red Cross. Apparently donations are down at this time of crisis. They urgently need blood. If they’re still collecting in your community and it’s safe for you to go out, you might consider donating.

And if you’re wondering what it means to be “sheltering in place,” here’s a very thorough and helpful link to FAQs provided by Santa Clara County public health officials. Thanks guys! It might prove useful to review if you think your community might be heading toward similar restrictions.

Something further that helps me in this Mr. Rogers’ video are the images of disaster intermingled with Fred. My house stands. I have oat milk in the pantry. I can go to a store later in the week. Perspective helps.

So yes, look for the helpers and look out for them with patience and encouragement. And as much as we can, find ways to be one too. Hope is a pretty big little word, a “thing with feathers,” as Emily Dickinson so aptly captured, liable to take off at the slightest disturbance. I’m going to keep looking for it, and hope, as my dear Italian friend encouraged me this morning that andrà tutto bene, everything will be fine.

Stay safe~

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