As we are all aware, our normal schedules have been on tilt for a while. This past weekend, however, really felt strange.

Other than Easter, this past weekend was the first major holiday affected by the various COVID-19 “stay at home” orders.

It wasn’t so much the lack of the usual crowd (i.e. – did you see the crowds at Rockport Beach?), but rather the absence of two major events – the Memorial Day Observance and the Rockport Festival of Food and Wines.

On a number of occasions Monday I stopped in my tracks, thinking I had missed the usual observance at Veterans Park. That was not a good feeling. I did take a moment Monday, like most of you, I’m sure, to reflect on all the men and women who paid the ultimate price so that we might live in freedom. I also thought about the changes that are occurring in our great country, and the attack on our freedoms, which have been brought sharply into focus these past couple of months via government mandates restricting our activities.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the reasoning behind much of what has been “done to us” … but certainly not everything.

I can’t help but think about the damage to our economy (and no, that does not mean I want to see people die), the political theatrics in an election year that are close to overcoming the pandemic itself, and whether or not some of the actions taken by our national and state leaders meet the common sense test.

There didn’t seem to be a lot of common sense behind letting big box stores remain open since day one, while giving small business owners proverbial letters that say, “You’re dumber then big box store owners and can’t open ‘safely’ like they can.”

The biggest travesty was telling people they couldn’t go to church, and some areas unleashing the law on believers whose only sin was wanting to worship in their church, synagogue, mosque, etc.

If there are hundreds of people in big box stores every day, surely those who wanted to (and many would have chosen to stay home) should have been allowed to worship in person.

I’m glad big box stores were allowed to remain open … but if the people in this country could figure out how to shop for toilet paper and food and not get sick, couldn’t worshippers figure out how to worship without getting sick?

Then, of course, there’s the brilliant idea of allowing liquor stores to remain open, but telling alcoholics and addicts they couldn’t meet in their 12-step meetings, etc.

That makes absolutely no sense.

The death toll from undetected medical problems in the past two months, suicides, family violence, etc. will outpace COVID-19 deaths, but it’s my belief we won’t hear much about those numbers.

There is no doubt COVID-19 is a real threat to particular groups in our society, and could be for some time, but if the protections and preventative measures outlined by the “authorities” (and there isn’t just one god in this arena) were good enough to strop the spread of the virus in the beginning, it should be good enough to contain the spread of the virus now.

My about-to-be 90-year-old parents are both in a nursing home in New Braunfels, and we’ve been told we can’t have physical contact with them until probably sometime this fall.

I totally understand that since the elderly are the ones who make up the largest percentage of COVID-19 deaths.

However, not being able to physically touch my aging mother and father is something this son truly misses. And no, feeling that way is not selfish. Selfish would be breaking down the door of the nursing home and demanding a hug. They would never come out and say it, but I can tell in their voices they aren’t too thrilled about this situation, either.

Long before COVID-19 we were heading in the direction of being a society where people have a hard time communicating because of texting, email, and social media.

Simple conversations with another human being will soon be an art form.

Texting, email, and all the social media platforms are forms of communication, but it’s not actually “communicating” as anyone above the age of 40 can attest.

The sad thing is too many young people will never know what real communication with another human being is all about … and one wonders why kids are choosing to take their own lives at an alarming rate.

Ask a bride a groom to text each other their vows and see how cool that is.

Some are even suggesting from this point forward we shouldn’t shake hands or hug each other. That will only make worse our growing inability to have normal human relationships.

I don’t see much good coming out of this pandemic, unless, of course, further division, separation, power grabs, and loss of freedoms is what one truly desires.

I can’t help but wonder if some of the men and women we were supposed to be honoring Monday are silently crying … not for their fate, but ours.

Until next week, have a good week, use common sense, and don’t be stupid.

Mike Probst can be reached at publisher@rockportpilot.com.

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