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As we all face new struggles, may our generosity and community spirit be stronger than ever

PMG FILE PHOTO - John BakerThe times they are a sucking, aren't they?

What we thought of as normal only a couple of weeks ago is completely out the window. The fact is, we are once again in the midst of a "new normal," a new model of what a normal day consists of.

It's not the first time and certainly not the last for many of us, but this one has been a bit more insidious than most disasters that rattle us. If the COVID-19 threat has demonstrated anything, it has offered us a strange and terrible glimpse into that fluid situation we know as normalcy.

And it has impacted everyone, and I mean everyone. We at the Canby Herald/Molalla Pioneer have been impacted on several levels, stores are impacted, restaurants, schools, children, adults, social services, city services, employees, customers and just about everything in-between. And it hurts. It really does.

The COVID-19 threat has left no part of our little world untouched. From toilet paper hoarding to simply enjoying a cheeseburger, nothing is really the same as it once was. And maybe, just maybe, that's not going to be a bad thing as we recover from all of this.

It is moments like these that often seems to bring out the best in us as humans. In the end, the devastation will be considerable and long-lasting on many fronts, but we'll get through it. We'll eventually walk out the other end of this nightmare a slightly changed people and, I hope, perhaps a little better for it. Why? Because this is the type of moment that has always been the foundation of our people shining in their humanity.

While the memes and GIFS of related toilet-paper humor have made me laugh more often than not, I'm not dismayed by reports of people fighting over TP or a guy getting stabbed over a case of water. No, I'm far more encouraged by stores allowing the elderly to get in early and get their supplies, the truck drivers and loading crews all along the great material continuum who are working so hard to get products we need (or at least think we need) to local stores, and countless other selfless examples. In the midst of this darkness, there is certainly light.

In the end, we will weather this storm because that's what we do – you and I. We, the common folk, the day-to-day grinders who keep life rolling along, will be the ones who will ultimately right this ship and keep some semblance of order, pride, dignity and humanity alive while those while national leadership founders and flails.

The signs are all around us. If these are the times that try men's souls, then I hope we lean on that part of our soul that agrees it is more blessed to give than receive. I hope that Canby and Molalla take up the mantel to help and encourage their fellow man, to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, check on their neighbors and make sure those who need help get it, though it be from our own shelves that it comes.

And here's the important part - our communities are still alive and beating, but they will need us to be brave, even as we're prudent. Restaurants need people to order take-out to help keep them alive, stores will need your business, even if that business is amended, and other businesses, ours included, will be doing their best to meet your needs. But they need you to remember, they need your help and, yes, your dollars. We're not dead and we're not defeated; we all just need to remember that things have changed, not stopped. The Herald/Pioneer needs advertising revenues in the same way Burgerville needs drive-up customers or Cutsforth's needs folks to trust that toilet paper is on the way. Help is a two-way street these days. The folks of Canby and Molalla still control their own destiny - a destiny that's now different, but still viable. Help, care, love, patience and smart choices have always been important. Now, they are important in a different way.

Because that's when we truly are at our best, our non-partisan, caring, better angels best. And when we are those people, the COVID-19 virus doesn't stand a chance.

So, don't look to the government for help. If it comes, great. If not, take caring and sharing into our own hands. As always, we will be the firm foundation of a country that's gripped in a virus struggle, and the business of the community is still going on.

Times have changed and there is still the apex of this mountain to get to before we start down the other side. But you and I and the thousands of people just like us are why we will emerge from this and rebuild what was lost. New normals don't scare us. They only embolden and motivate us. Suck on that, COVID-19.

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