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We weren't technically getting punished during these last 15 months of restrictions and limitations, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to learn from it

When most of us were kids, after we endured a big punishment, we were met with a question: What did you learn from all of this?

When the Oregon COVID mask and social distancing mandates were officially lifted this past Wednesday, it felt like the end of a big punishment. Sure, none of us did anything wrong and weren't actually getting punished, but the whole thing sure felt like getting grounded, didn't it?

So perhaps we should all ask ourselves what we have learned. What did we truly miss the most during this whole ordeal? Of course, there's that whole ability to walk into a store or restaurant and not have to cover your face. And it will be nice to not have to keep others 6 feet away from us. But we undoubtedly missed more than that.

A lot of us learned the value of human interaction, spending time with friends and family. At the height of our shutdown, when that was all ripped away for a few weeks, many of us realized just how important those face-to-face interactions are – and how we probably took them for granted.

That is an important realization as we move forward in this era of the tablet and smartphone. Will we perhaps eschew online interaction, which was forced upon many of us for months, for more in-person conversations and gatherings, complete with eye contact and a willing ear? Let's hope so. Let's also hope that we have become more willing to put the electronic devices in the pocket more often, especially during meals or when the family finally gathers at the end of a long day.

The community learned a little something as well. While we all probably enjoyed our summer events – the Crooked River Roundup, the Fourth of July festivities, and the Crook County Fair – none of us probably realized how important they were to Crook County until they were either completely canceled or dramatically altered.

Is it at all surprising that the Crooked River Roundup rodeo drew a packed house and was a rousing success? Clearly, we all missed it dearly, and it suggests that the upcoming horse races and local fair will probably draw a larger and more grateful crowd as well.

This is really a short list of all the things that were tough to go without. Maybe there are a few other more personal things that come to mind – things that you didn't recognize the value of until they were no longer available.

No, we weren't technically getting punished during these last 15 months of restrictions and limitations, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to learn from it.


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