Remember readers when a large portion of our nation's population spent a good amount of time each Monday through Friday from about 12:30 p.m. till 4 p.m. watching some great character actors dressed in fashionable clothes who were beautiful and handsome and who lived in great homes and had larger than life problems. I am referring to the "Soaps" or "Soap Operas.”

How many folks do you know who scheduled their day around certain soap operas? Two members of my own family, now deceased, and this is the only reason I am sharing now, absolutely had their own favorites. My Grandma Bullard would get absolutely incensed if anyone interrupted her watching "The Edge of Night.” I can still see her sitting in her wing backed chair sipping that cold six and a half ounce, ice-cold Co-Cola, that's "Coca Cola” or “Coke" to those how have never heard it referred to as a “Co-Cola." I can't help it if your education is incomplete and your raising lacked something, maybe you'll get over it. My own father became addicted — addicted — to the Young and the Restless. So much so that one day when our lifetime friend, Virginia Small, was working at our house, and the power went off, he told her, "Come on Virginia and let's ride over to Jerry Lawrence and Amanda's, we don't want to miss the Young and the Restless." Their power was on, and they didn't miss a beat with the folks in Genoa City.

Anyhow I was thinking of how the Soaps, who were sponsored by the way by some of the folks whose stocks are soaring now, the makers of detergents and bleach, and cleaning supplies, and I was thinking about the titles, the characters, and how many of us knew and loved that we were escaping reality for a while. 

The characters were larger than life, who remembers Dr. Bob Hughes, his mother Nancy, and one of his erstwhile wives, the blonde Southern vixen, Lisa, who could be so bad or, at least, we thought they were bad at the time.

Who can forget Katherine Chancellor from "The Young and the Restless,” who was always, it seemed, dressed in jewels and a chiffon evening gown and who walked and carried on life with a cut glass tumbler of vodka in one hand and cigarette in the other. How about Victor Newman and Nicky from the "Young and the Restless" or Alan Spaulding and his son, Philip, who wasn't really his son, and the Lewis family, H.B., Billy and Josh who were all, at different times, married to the vixen from Oklahoma Reva Shayne. Reva, now that was a soap opera character. I think Reva and Josh Lewis married each other four or five different times. The first time she floated in on a beautiful boat dressed in a wide picture hat, at the Lewis camp, and I can't remember the name of that.

Well, back to the titles of the soaps and how some might positively help us through today's pandemic with COVID-19. I will never think of 19 in the same way again.

Let's begin: Even though we seem to be on "The Edge of Night" and adrift in a "Secret Storm" where the "Young and the Restless” and "The Bold and the Beautiful" are driving some parents crazy, just remember that one day, "All My Children" will be back in school again, and we will no longer be in "Dark Shadows,” but we will attach our positive hope, dreams and prayers to "The Guiding Light" and even though "General Hospital" is filled to capacity, and "The Doctors" are doing all they can do, we will remain secure and steadfast knowing the despite the fact we have "One Life to Live" that  "The Days of our Lives" will be more enriched, because we will have discovered strength and resolve within ourselves and our neighbors that refreshed and renewed us and made us realize that "Love is a Many Splendored Thing.”

We all need an escape from reality. We knew the soaps weren't real, but we loved them anyhow. COVID-19 is real, and it's ugly, but, in the midst of all that, we must keep a sense of humor and continue to encourage each other, and smile, and, yes, even laugh. I will say one thing about wearing these masks they do cover my chins, all of them, and in wearing the mask, some folks have said "you are looking better.” I don't know quite know how to take that, but I'll take it as a compliment even if it's sincerely insincere.

What is not insincere is my wish that each of you remain safe, and that when this is over, I will see you, and we will smile and laugh once more, as I hope you have done a little by reading my somewhat crazy article this week.

I had an acquaintance from up north, Pittsburgh, who once told me, "Bullard the cheese has slid off your cracker." He may have been right. I knew definitely that he was "Crazier than a sprayed roach.” We were in good company and laughed a lot. The wonderful gift of laughter. We need it now, maybe more than ever before. I am being serious now. 

Don't lose hope. Don't lose your sense of humor, don't lose your encouraging words. I am depending on you.

As the late Congressman Adam Clayton Powell , Jr. would say "Keep the Faith Baby.”

From the Eight Mile Still on the Woodpecker Route north of White Springs, wishing you a day filled with joy, peace, and, above all, lots of love and laughter.

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