What does a pandemic do?

What does a pandemic do? It changes things. And it cancels things.
For the past several years, the fourth Saturday in July has been a busy one for Atmore News and for Myrna and me personally.
Usually Don or Ditto – or both – cover the Unity in the Community event at Grace Fellowship. It’s a big to-do with games, activities, information, food, entertainment, school uniforms and supplies. It’s a huge undertaking that Ruth Robinson coordinates every year – until this year. Now the “big to-do” is reduced to a drive-through afternoon with a supplies and uniforms giveaway only.
The Langford-Williams reunion has become one of the events we’ve attended on this particular Saturday for a number of years. The Rev. C.L. Langford family in Atmore and the Gary Langford family in Brewton are the backbone of this get-together, which is held at Catawba Springs Baptist Church, Old Highway 31 near Brewton. We started attending to take family pictures, but we were already “family.” It’s truly a family reunion with a huge potluck dinner (served at lunch), and relatives travel from all over for hugs and fellowship – but not this year. Organizer Nina Langford sent out a notice a couple of months ago that the reunion would not be held this year. Anticipating that social distancing would still be recommended, she posed the question, how can you have a reunion without hugging?
The fourth Saturday in July ends up with my attending the Distinguished Young Women program at Coastal Alabama Community College in Brewton. Suzanne and Molly Barnett are the mainstays of this event, and they enlist the entire family to help through the process and especially that evening. On stage, the young ladies go through their physical fitness programs, answer the interview questions, and present their talent routines – but not this year. Everything was done online.
For me personally, I date the pandemic from the day in March when the Final Four basketball tournament was cancelled. We couldn’t have known that was only the beginning.
Daily, for many, it’s hard dealing with the restrictions of the pandemic. Do you go there? Do you not? Daily, I don’t have to think about it much. I’m particular about where I go and I make sure I have my mask on.
But when I see one day, like this Saturday, when events are totally disrupted, it makes me wonder, as I’m sure it makes you wonder – how long?