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Try doing normal things

Try doing normal things


It has been a week since we learned that President Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. We watched live TV news coverage as he was flown by helicopter from the White House to nearby Walter Reed Military Hospital, where he was given a “cocktail” of experimental drugs and other not-yet-proven-effective treatments unavailable to the general public.

Any president diagnosed with a virus for which there is no cure or vaccine would receive such care, whether or not he had attempted to protect himself or others from contracting it.

Those of us who have avoided COVID-19 so far still feel the physical and mental strain of living through a pandemic that’s spiking again. Self-medicating starts with prevention: Avoid crowded places and events, maintain social distance, wear masks, wash hands, sanitize home and work areas, and stay home if we don’t feel well or suspect we might have been exposed.

Our best no-prescription-required medicine may be small doses of nearly normal experiences.

Treat yourself to favorite foods, whether they are made at home, takeout orders or enjoyed at restaurants with adequate social distancing space. I can confirm the healing qualities of soft serve ice cream, even if its benefits are short term.

It’s a joy to watch NFL football games, even in their less-than-normal state. I often hit the “mute” button on my TV remote control when I don’t like a color commentator and/or crowd background noise drives me crazy, so having few fans at current games is fine.

Those of us with farm roots know that a normal October means harvest season. I had three “doses” of nearly normal farm and ranch experiences in the past week.

During Saturday’s 2020 Nebraska State Hand Cornhusking competition at Holdrege’s Nebraska Prairie Museum, I enjoyed watching draft horses and mules pull wagons alongside competitors picking ears from cornstalks one at a time and quickly.

I know Dad harvested corn that way as a farm boy and older generations of my family gathered entire crops by hand while working into the winter to fill corncribs and feed livestock.

I photographed modern harvesting nine miles north of Shelton on Tuesday to illustrate upcoming stories about harvest season and current ag issues. A crew from the Paul and Deb Gangwish farm drove two combines, two tractor-pulled grain carts and four semis in patterns that Deb once described as like ballet.

My Wednesday morning dose of rural Nebraska started with a sunrise drive to pasture-canyon country south of Highway 23 between Smithfield and Elwood, where I photographed FFA kids competing in a land judging contest. I got my exercise for the day while climbing up and down hills in an area that’s beautiful even after a dry grass-growing season.

You can enjoy similar scenes by taking drives on Nebraska’s country roads. Self-medicate by watching harvest machines dance through cornfields, cattle graze in pastures or a river flow between trees with leaves painted in fall colors.

Take heart and pray in these difficult, even scary, times that seem to have no end. Get a booster shot of nearly normal experiences to heal your soul. Take walks, play with pets, call family or friends, read, listen to music, try a new recipe or hobby, watch TV, or sit on the porch or in a park and watch the world go by.

If you need stronger medicine, there’s always ice cream.

Lori Potter is a Hub staff writer.

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