A Challenging Two Years
by Mike Ruby
April 09, 2022

Living with the COVID-19 cloud hovering over us the last two years has been a challenge, that’s for sure. One of the advantages of residing in a town the size of Muscatine is that we see friends when we are out and about, frequently stopping for a quick chat or at least a friendly greeting. Oftentimes, I didn’t recognize other mask-wearing shoppers and they likely did not recognize me. I missed this basic human contact and again reminded myself why I’ve never wanted to live in a big city where people, even next door neighbors, appear to be strangers to one another.

For decades, Jo Anne and I have kept a written log listing the dates and names of people we have entertained in our home. In a typical year, we welcome about 100 guests, but our hosting took a drastic hit these last two years. We have sorely missed the good times that are shared with friends and family around our dining room table.

In spite of all the challenges, there is definitely a positive side to the pandemic. We’ve put considerably fewer miles on our cars, as lengthy windshield time has been replaced by computer screen time, as meetings have been (and continue to be) held via Zoom. In many aspects, this mandate has been a refreshing change. For example, I typically make at least 10 annual round trips (300 miles each) to central Iowa for meetings (3,000 miles) but meeting online saves miles on the car, takes no gas, and ties me up for only a fraction of the day. Since I’m still able to connect with others face to face via Zoom, it’s a win-win.

Yes, this pandemic has brought about major challenges for the health care industry, educators, retailers, churches, parents, civic organizations, and a host of service providers. It’s not over yet, but it does appear things are getting considerably better. During the pandemic, I’ve been reminded that a positive attitude and openness to innovative ways goes a long way in adjusting to the new normal. The years of COVID-19 will forever be remembered as future generations will hear firsthand experiences from their elders or learn about it in history class.

What positives have come out of pandemic innovations for you?

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