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From the Fringe: My birthday during lockdown …

I don’t care as long as we all keep doing the right things to combat coronavirus


Stress is something we all deal with. But, the type of stress we’re going through right now is unprecedented.

So, with that in mind, I promise that what I’m about to say is not coming from any place other than that of genuine concern for all of us in Havre, Hill County and the Hi-Line. We all live here, so we’re all in this coronavirus world together.

And what I’m going to say is actually a question, and my question is this: Can we please just tough this quarantine, or stay-at-home-order or whatever we want to call it, out until it isn’t necessary anymore? Can we please just do the right thing?

Listen, I’m by no means telling anyone what to do, but the fact of the matter is, early data is showing that the social distancing measures, the shutdowns, the closures and the directives by governors around America are working. Early statistics show that, even without some of the harsher, draconian measures other countries have taken, that, the steps the United States have taken and the steps we’ve taken right here in Montana are making a difference.

And since it’s already being proven to be working, then it stands to reason that, if we keep doing what we’re dong, for at least as long as the medical experts say it’s necessary, it’s going to pay off and we can get back to normal sooner.

On the flip side, it’s also already been proven that, ignoring orders, being a part of the transmission of COVID-19, is not only dangerous and deadly, it will also lengthen the period of time that these extreme circumstances we’re living in today are going to last. 

That’s right, rebelling against the steps we’re taking to “flatten the curve” is really going to get you nowhere but “locked down” for even longer. We’ve all seen the stories and videos on the internet, from crowded spring break parties on beaches to house parties, or non-essential businesses violating ordered closures, and while those things may be to some a symbol of people rebelling against these orders, what they’re really doing is just making the orders last longer. 

I’ll only speak for Montana, but the bottom line is, if we screw this up, in other words, if we don’t stick to the plan set forth to combat coronavirus, I can say with certainty that Gov. Steve Bullock will extend the situation we’re in even longer, no matter how mad people get at him, and no matter how much he doesn’t want too. If we, as the people who actually live here, don’t do this right, the medical experts, they’ll insist the situation we’re in will have to be extended even further than Bullock did Tuesday.

And before I’m accused of being on some sort of soap box, let me just tell you all, I’m in it with you. I just celebrated by 45th birthday Tuesday evening. My family loves birthdays too, and normally we’d all do it together, but not this year. I stayed home, and it was just Amy and I. Then, I went and worked out all by myself, like I’ve been doing since this all started, and then I went to work all by myself, like I’ve been doing since this all started. Then it was right back home. That was it for my birthday. And you know what, if my birthday is taking a backseat to all this will help make things better, if a year of abnormal is what it takes, then so be it.

And none of that is normal. Right now, normal for me would be coaching tennis, celebrating my birthday with the Havre High tennis teams and then my family. Normal would be working out at the Zoo, and preparing for a summer of golf league and tournaments, at least one out-of-state vacation and hiking trips. And yet, none of that is possible at the moment. But, that’s also why I am doing everything I can to follow these guidelines, so that maybe what’s normal can be again, sooner rather than later.

I want all of your normals to return too. I want Havre to return to normal. I want everybody to be healthy and happy. I don’t want anybody to get sick with this stuff. I want everybody here to be able to go back to work. I don’t want people to remain laid off or struggling. I fully understand the economic beating this virus and fighting it is dishing out right now. And I want our local businesses to reopen and thrive again. I want to see playgrounds full, I want to see kids playing baseball at Elks Park, and this summer, Havreites heading to Beaver Creek Park and to Fresno Reservoir. 

I want everybody in Havre to have the kind of normal they’re used too. I want Havre to be happy again. But, I believe that won’t happen anytime soon, unless everybody sticks together, and everybody takes care of themselves and does whatever necessary to help prevent anymore spread of COVID-19. And if you just do that, if you just do your part now, than you’re also taking care of our community. If we all do that together, we’re all making sure Havre can “Have It” once again.

So please, don’t take this as a lecture or me thinking I know what’s best for anybody else, because that’s not where I’m coming from. No, instead, I’m just asking you all to do what you’re probably already doing, and that is, taking care of yourselves and your family, following these stay-at-home guidelines, and as a result, helping Havre return to the Havre we all love.

To me, Havre has always felt like a community that really supports and cares about each other. All my life it’s felt that way. And now more than ever, let’s keep doing what Havre has always done, and if we do it the right way, we will be back to your normal, my normal, our Havre normal, in no time.


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