Saints and Jerks...

When this wretched pandemic is finally vanquished, there will be two kinds of people who will be remembered in years to come.

There are the big-hearted and there are the selfish and there are lots of both of them out there. I’ll give you a couple of examples.

The big-hearted look after their family, friends and neighbours---a casserole here, an errand run or a cheerful phone call there—because that’s the right thing to do.

The big-hearted go out every day and work on the front lines knowing that their health and that of their families could be endangered.

They look after our kids, the sick, the lonely and the aged and respond to emergencies and staff our shops and offices to provide essential services.

Many go above and beyond the call of duty.

For example:

Recently, I was among the patients lined up on the sidewalk outside the LifeLabs office on Bagot St. in our downtown.

Staff in full pandemic-proof regalia eventually called our names and in we each went to navigate the next round of procedures leading eventually to treatment.

These (all) women do a job that is tough enough at the best of times.

One of my fellow travelers was a young woman with a squirming, anxious toddler. When they were called to their cubicle, I said a silent prayer that she—not the little boy---was the patient. Prayer unanswered.

He reacted as any kid would feeling and watching a needle stuck into his arm. Screams to wake the dead. The Mom bundled him up in her arms and quickly left the lab.

A few moments later I heard one of the lab techs say, “Oh, no, he forgot his teddy.”

In a flash she was out the door and running down the street with a teddy under her arm. Patients still outside had sent her in the right direction.

She returned a few minutes later a little worse for wear. Like most of us, she hasn’t trained for marathons.

Apparently, she sprinted over to Brock street and half a block south before she could catch up and reunite the teddy with its sad little owner and his frazzled Mom.

I had been somewhat down in spirits that morning facing another overcast pandemic day of restrictions and confinement and bombarded with soaring virus statistics around the world.

But the big-hearted technician brought the sun out. I returned home thankful for good health care and the good people who make it so and everything else we have going for us.

Then there are the selfish who don’t consider the needs and feelings of others and how important it is--- especially in these trying times--- to show a little kindness, compassion and generosity.

For example :

A group of eight young guys---late teens, early 20s---had recently shown up each day at the basketball court at LaSalle Secondary School on Highway 15. They arrived about 5pm and left two hours later after good-natured competition that entertained some people in the high-rise apartment complex next door but apparently upset a few others.

The basketball court is a considerable distance from the building. There was no suggestion the young people were disorderly in any way.

Just a bunch of kids enjoying the outdoors and some recreation over the dinner hour.

It wasn’t long before a grumpy resident confronted the boys and told them they were unwelcome. A complaint was registered and the school cordoned off the basketball court to prevent after school play. Apparently, that is standard procedure when there’s a complaint. The school strives to be a good neighbour.

The last time I drove by, the fencing was still up.

So much for encouraging healthy outdoor activity and exercise. So much for encouraging a little much needed joy and happiness around us.

Leaders in the pandemic war remind us that we are all in this together. They’re right.

So let’s put on our masks, avoid large gatherings and try to be kind to each other.


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© 2020 Sally Barnes