Community in a time of crisis
Ovando, Montana in the Blackfoot Valley where "a river runs through it"
March 22, 2020
On March 10, I returned from Mexico City, after attending the 100th Birthday Party of my “Madre Mexicana" Yolanda Batiz de Hay. I have been her Gringa Hija since 1978 and I am now Comadre to her daughter Yolanda and godmother to her grand-daughter Jimena. On the day of my flight, there were over 114,000 coronavirus cases worldwide, though only 15 listed in Mexico and none in Montana.
I stayed with a friend in Mill Valley, planning to meet with someone from the East speaking at a conference, but all conferences and events in the Bay Area were cancelled and we were asked to “shelter in place.” I moved up my flight back to Montana to March 18th. San Francisco International Airport was virtually empty. Spooky. There were four people on my plane. It was like flying in my own Lear Jet.
My friends Howie and Peggy Fly met me at the airport in Missoula, an hour from Ovando. Peggy had emailed to ask if I would like them to pick up anything at Walmart or Costco. I sent a list of ten things, apologizing for the quantity. She emailed back: “We checked your larder and you are out of sugar, low on oatmeal, out of fruit-nut bars and chocolate covered almonds…" and more. In my town of 50, people do these things! On this date, March 18, there were over 118,000 cases worldwide. Only eleven in Montana.
I had planned a 14 day quarantine in my hermitage over the Stray Bullet Café. Peggy explained that all businesses were closed down except Fred’s Blackfoot Store across the street. If I needed something, Fred would deliver it to my porch and put it on an account to be paid later.
Then Kathy of the Blackfoot Angler, and the town herald, sent out this email to all residents, very much in keeping with the spirit of the town.
Time to relax and be patient folks. And time to stay together as a community. With that thought:
1. If you are in need of assistance, please reply to this email with what is needed and we can see if someone can assist you. From a distance.
2. If you are NOT in need of assistance, but wish to help others; let folks know via this email how you can be of service [prescription/food/mail PU and delivery etc]. From a distance.
Most of us are use to isolation so it is Just Another Day in the Valley, so we'll get thru this just fine; and this isn't going to last for ever. But for some this isn't normal so reach out to help those. Just a phone call or an email can be uplifting. So hang in there folks! These be interesting times!
And the following Ovando businesses are here to help you thru these times:
Blackfoot Commercial Co: Open 7 days a week from 8 to 5 M-Sat, 10 to 4 Sundays. Subject to change. Shelves are looking good, as they can get their supplies. Call 793-555 for more information.
Trixis Antler Saloon: Closed for dining. Closed Mondays only. Take out available between noon and 6. Call 793-5611 in advance [or 793-5049 in case she ran home for a minute]. All menu items available. Lights will be off to discourage drive up diners but she is there! Or call 793-5049 after hours for more assistance.
Blackfoot Angler: Opening weekends only starting the 28th: 10 to 4. 1 person at a time. Licenses available on line. Supplies arrive first of May. Not a lot in stock but there if you need them. Call 793-0018 for information.
The Stray Bullet Cafe: Available for take and bake casseroles just place your orders... spaghetti casserole, lasagna, chicken enchiladas, tater tot casserole or special requests!
$30 each and serves 8 easily!
Blackfoot Community Bible Church: Will not be having services this week, or any until the restrictions have been lifted. They are going week by week but urge those of you interested to congregate on-line via the Lolo Community Church's FB Live program Sunday at 10:45 am via https://www.facebook.com/Lolo-Community-Church-128712677142175/
It was the first day of Spring. Joe Bradshaw wrote that the bluebirds and meadowlarks had arrived on the Flats. There were now 305,000 cases worldwide.
Last night I read this poignant public Facebook post from Claudio Nardini in Scotland. It is worth sharing with anyone who does not take this seriously or who ignores restrictions:
Today was a real eye opener.
We decided to remain open to provide a takeaway service for what I thought would be a few people grabbing the opportunity to appreciate a walk along Largs prom….
I can't believe how busy the prom was. Crowds of people walking hand in hand, hugging, grandmothers holding babies, teenagers sharing drinks, elderly people galore mingling with others of all ages. Wow! Just Wow!
Now, I have strong links to two other countries in Europe and have witnessed this virus develop by talking regularly to family in both Italy and Spain. This nonchalant attitude was rife in both those countries only a couple of weeks ago. Italy yesterday announced almost 700 deaths in the preceding 24 hours. They can't cope, even after creating thousands of extra spaces in hospitals they are inundated with new cases. I heard the saddest news yesterday that they are letting people over a certain age die as they have to concentrate their efforts and resources keeping younger people alive. They are already calling the older generation 'heroes' as they will now be sacrificed. It now looks like Spain is headed in the same direction even though both countries have been in total lock down for a while now.
Seeing the prom rammed with people and dozens of cars queuing for the ferry today like nothing was out of the ordinary really saddened me. I should have been overjoyed, the till was ringing constantly and coffees and ice creams were flying out the door. I wasn't because it reminded me of the images my family and friends were sending me only a couple of weeks ago and now look where they're at. I sent them a photo of today's packed prom and they couldn't believe it especially when we should be using their recent experience as an example.
Everyone at work today was overcome with a strange feeling of guilt, almost as if we were contributing to this madness. For this reason we have decided to completely close this evening until this whole thing blows over.
An announcement not long ago pointed out it's spreading faster here than it did at this stage in both Italy or Spain. Please please please stay at home if you can, I couldn't bear seeing what is happening to my relatives happen here too. Cxx
Today there are 31 cases in Montana. 337,679 worldwide. If you have been following the arithmetic, that’s over 223,000 new cases in 12 days.
Please take care and be well,