Addled with April…
I have never forgotten that phrase, as quoted by Sr. Mariel, SSJ, in Nazareth Academy first year honors English.
Addled with April.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawling’s “The Yearling” one of the most thought-provoking and beautiful books I’ve ever read.
I’ve always had a kinship with words and animals. Maybe that’s why The Yearling and Where the Red Fern Grows and Girl of the Limberlost and Old Yeller got to me.
Coming of age stories touch not just our hearts but our souls. They touch that spot inside us that feels vulnerable and awful and good. They speak to the rise of hormones and the worry of school, of change, of time passing. Beautiful girls, handsome boys and things spinning out of our control.
Of course life does that. It does it fairly often, but not generally to everyone. If a hurricane roars through Louisiana or Texas or Florida, we dip into our pockets and help out.
If an earthquake rumbles buildings loose in Indonesia, we dip into our pockets and help out.
If a stricken child wants to go to Disneyworld and it’s their Make-a-Wish dream, we dip into our pockets and help out.
But this pandemic isn’t nearly that selective. It’s hit global nations, and quiet neighborhoods. It’s brought the city that never sleeps to its knees and woken up indigenous tribes who had the virus brought to them by miners.
It has killed and maimed and it has been contained and stifled by a brand new term we’ve all come to know and love to hate: Social distancing.
It means no hugging, no visiting around a table, no potlucks, no hoe-downs, no square dances, no dances of any kind, no parties, no festive Easter celebrations and … yes, who would have ever thought this????
No church in America.
And when that sinks in and we realize we can’t eat out, but we better learn how to eat in…. and clean and wash hands (really, men, all y’all knew how to wash hands, you just didn’t do it, don’t try to fool us women) and there is no stopping for coffee or even playing on playgrounds in many places, the reality comes into sharp focus. We sacrificed to save others.
Now that’s Cowboy Code right there. The kind of code that puts the horse up comfortably before he comes in the house to drop his boots and grab a bite. The kind of code that has a mom staying up half the night making a costume for an eight-year-old because she was busy warming three lambs who got born on an ice-cold field just hours before. The kind of code that has a mom refuse dessert because there’s just enough for the other four people… because she’s way too full to eat another bite.
That kind of code.
It’s tough. It’s weird. And when this all first started and experts were arguing ten ways to Sunday about doing this, that or the other thing, one expert stood out to me…
Like that “Addled with April” alliterative quote I’ve never forgotten.
And he said “If we don’t do this and a million people die we’re going to have to deal with the choice we made the rest of our lives. And if we do do close things down to avoid the cross-contamination and exponential numbers, we’re going to look at the mere thousands of deaths and wonder why we ruined an economy for that many people. And that’s when we’ll know the strategy worked.”
So here’s to you. All of you. All of you who cried on Easter when you couldn’t go to church or hug a baby or visit a parent or stop by a nursing home and give Gran a hug.
To all of you who’ve put meeting newborns on hold, and couldn’t fight your way into a hospital to tell a loved one goodbye.
To all of you who swiped and wiped and cleaned and sewed masks and donated and acted like the very best human beings on the planet:
Because of you…
Because of us…
It’s thousands, not millions.
And that’s something we can all be proud of.
Sending God’s most ardent blessings to the world as we keep on keepin’ on.
We’ve got this, my friends.
We’ve got this.