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THE REGULARS: Coronavirus: 'I have no idea how or when this will end' - Sioux City Journal

THE REGULARS: Coronavirus: 'I have no idea how or when this will end' - Sioux City Journal

THE REGULARS: Coronavirus: 'I have no idea how or when this will end' - Sioux City Journal

Posted: 19 Apr 2020 05:00 AM PDT

Even though my Journal assignment is one 750-word column every six weeks, I occasionally struggle for a good story line. Today's column self-identified. I'm a storyteller. Hopefully, most of my stories make you smile. When you smile – I smile with you. I'm not sure I can get you there today. I need to share my thoughts with you about corona. Pretty name for such a nasty creature.

Let's start on March 17 - St. Patrick's Day - as I boarded an airplane in Fort Myers, Florida, on my way back to Sioux City. I had the whole arsenal - antibacterial wipes, face mask, hand sanitizer and a backpack stuffed with replacements should I need them.

Note to God: I need a minute with You please. Could you find me a seat on the plane that is rows away from anyone with a cough or sneeze? God update: God delivered.

Here we are a month later and the threat continues. I have no idea how or when this will end. I wish there was a date we could pull out of the air and say, with great certainty, it's over. Back to school. Back to work. Back to normal. That's not going to happen.

I have a hunch you're thinking some of the same things I am these days. Perhaps I have the honor of reflecting your ideas through my words:

• There are so many heroes whose stories will never be told. Health care workers, those sewing face masks, the women and men delivering groceries, the workers stocking the shelves, all our restaurants changing their business models overnight just to stay afloat, those saints working in nursing homes, the early risers dropping The Sioux City Journal on our front step every morning, first responders and law enforcement personnel. Heroes all. God bless them.

• My eyes are drawn to the obituary pages every morning. How many funerals are we going to have when all of this is over?

• How can we help our friends who own small businesses? How will they survive this difficult stretch? I've never seen a business plan that contains a contingency strategy for a pandemic.

• What about our friends in the media? Who's going to be left to tell the critical stories that need to be told? There's never been a better time to support local journalism and subscribe to your hometown paper. In the face of declining advertising revenues, the Storm Lake Times started a Go Fund Me page to meet payroll and pay the light bill. Their editor, Art Cullen, just won a Pulitzer Prize. Doesn't add up.

• I'm glad I got a haircut before I left Florida. Another month and I'll look like my 1970 high school senior picture. And 1970 was not one of my better hair years.

• I'll never be mistaken for St. James, but I miss church. Online is OK. It's all we've got. True confession: I occasionally fast-forward through homilies. Fully confident God's good with that.

• The picture of Pope Francis standing alone and praying for the world in a darkened and abandoned St. Peter's Square is surreal.

• My grandchildren live right down the street, but I can't hug them. William turned six on April 4 and he couldn't have a party with Papa and Granny. I'll make it up to you William.

• I forgot how good white bread tastes. Whole wheat was sold out, so we ended up with old school white. Baloney on white bread still rocks my world.

• I used to tease mom about her basement stash of hominy. Mom knew what she was doing. But I still refuse to eat hominy.

• A solo car ride in the country is suddenly fun again.

• I've watched every single episode of Andy Griffith. Helen was a babe.

• Need to call Fr. Jerry. He gave me a St. Louis Cardinal rosary for Christmas. I use it every day.

• How did that junk end up in my basement? Jim Wharton for City Council yard signs from 1989 – a newspaper clipping my mom sent me from the Nokomis Free-Press Progress when I got a speeding ticket – my grade school report cards.

"The Prayer" is one of the most popular songs ever written. Today, its words are appropriate as our country prays for protection from this evil among us.

"Give us faith so we'll be safe."

Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Next week: Steve Warnstadt

Jim Wharton, of Sioux City, is a former member of the Sioux City Council and a former mayor of Sioux City. He and his wife, Beverly, have one daughter, Dr. Laura Giese, and four grandchildren.


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