I have always been an optimist, sometimes a blind optimist looking through rose colored glasses at my world. Yet, 2020 and all that has occurred makes it hard to look for the proverbial silver lining. However, my husband and I made a recent trip to southern Utah to visit the “Mighty 5” National Parks. I experienced a resurgence of optimism on this trip and I hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel as we face the struggles of beating COVID-19. Granted, I really hope it is not “blind” optimism but I would imagine all of us are looking for good news and a light at the end of the tunnel at this point.
When I started to write this blog, and think of my recent experiences on the road, I thought of the Rosie the Riveter icon from World War II who served as an inspiration to working women trying hard to do what it takes to help at home while soldiers across the sea were fighting to win the war. The “war” on COVID-19 is a different war, but a war nevertheless because it has drastically affected the way we live our lives. So Rosie was encouraging gals to pull together and do what is needed to provide the goods and services to not only win the war, but to provide for the folks at home. That spirit of pulling together as part of a community became even more evident to me recently. It seems to me that almost every man, woman and child is trying hard to do all the “right things” that are expected of us at this time: wash hands frequently, mask wearing and social distancing. Specifically, while on our trip, we saw almost everyone wearing their masks and keeping a respectable distance from one another. At Zion National Park, masked are required in enclosed buildings, like the Visitor’s Center. When in open areas of the Park they were recommended only when close to other people. I would estimate that 90 to 95% of park goers were very good about adhering to these regulations and even though the Park was relatively crowded, people tried very hard to be considerate of others. After all, we are all in this together and we all want this craziness to come to a halt.
Another aspect of our trip that made me really admire Corona fighting efforts were the hotels and restaurants that we visited. EVERYONE wore masks and everyone tried to make our visit a pleasant one…in spite of all the necessary changes……Remember those free breakfasts offered at many hotels? What a great way to start your day with hot coffee and a light breakfast, that you don’t have to cook! Well, they were still offered, but very different. Several hotels had set up a table by the previous “self-serve” station with an employee to get our choices for us. All the tables were sanitized in between uses. Sometimes my husband and I just ate in our room. It was a good system, just seemed weird. Yet I appreciate all the hotel and restaurateurs efforts to keep us all safe. These hardworking folks all deserve a Rosie the Riveter affirmation.
Apparently I am not the only one who views Rosie as an inspiration for a “call to arms”. In Lafayette, Indiana a Facebook Group was started for the purpose of sewing masks to help fill the needs of their community and beyond. What an inspiring icon for those sewers in Indiana. Apparently Indiana is not the only resourceful part of the country to inspire others with Rosie, there are several groups coast to coast. Also, health care providers have inspired others with her determined stance as well. I view the icon of the mask wearing Rosie as an inspiration to do our part on the battle against Coronavirus. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, yes it’s a pain and yes it has turned our lives upside down. But with tenacity and hope we will get through. And don’t forget to wash your hands…..Julie E. Smith