Sat, Sept. 19

Pandemic silver lining a new normal for us all

Judy Bluhm

Judy Bluhm

We may be changed forever. For some, it may be in earth-shattering ways, for others, small little incremental adjustments. When half of the world is in quarantine, nothing remains the same.

Wanting to find some positive ways the world is being rocked by the coronavirus “stay-at-home orders?” Take a look at photos of the world’s major cities that are usually shrouded with gray skies and thick haze.

Pollution levels have dropped so drastically that you can actually see the mountains in Los Angeles. More shocking is the deep blue skies bathing the Taj Mahal or the clean air over China. Nature is taking a break from dirt, dust, smoke and soot. It shows.

People are learning and loving to cook in ways they never imagined. Old family cookbooks are being dusted off and Grandma’s bread recipe is guiding an entire new generation on the art of breadmaking. The companies that make spices and rubs are doing a great business as people try out cumin, saffron and turmeric. The cooking (and eating) are taking on epic proportions as we are realizing that cooking and baking can be a fantastic adventure and stress reliever. No yeast? No worries. Make a loaf of beer bread. Tired of same old meals? Beef Wellington is calling your name.

We are grateful for small and simple things. My daughter was ecstatic because she found sanitizing wipes. Almost giddy with joy.

Yes, things like wedding celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries or vacations used to bring us great jubilation. Now this feeling has been redefined. It is that moment that you walk into the grocery store and see toilet paper on the shelves. Happiness is found in simple, mundane things that we used to take for granted.

The day before Easter there was no sugar to be found in any store. Eggs? Maybe if you were lucky. A lady in her seventies was seen crying (tears of gladness) when a young man handed her a ten-pound bag of sugar from his cart. He had taken the last one off the shelf and saw her look of despair. Sharing the sugar is always a sweet gesture.

People around the world have discovered the joy of sweat- pants, pajamas and other kinds of “casual dress.” Makeup, high heels, even certain undergarments have been “sitting idle” in drawers and closets, waiting for the social distancing to end. Speaking of drawers, some folks are heading out to get the mail without their pants on. A police department in a small town outside of Baltimore, Maryland has issued a stern warning to its residents to “wear your pants when going out to get the mail.”

The police chief went on to say, “Citations will be issued. Get dressed. You know who you are and so do we.” Yikes, people, put on your trousers. And I guess this is not a unique situation in Maryland, as all over the world there are reports of “half-dressed folks” going outside to fetch the paper or walk the dog. Pandemic madness?

Government is preparing to “open up the country,” so let’s get ready.

Pants are required.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at

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