It was the first week in December in 1941. A young Army officer and his wife were sitting in their car looking out at the magnificent view from their overlook high atop Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. They were happily looking forward to the birth of their first child later that month. The fresh mountain air felt good and the radio was playing some good music. The news of the war in Europe and China seemed far away, something that would be tomorrow’s problem. Life, for the moment, was good. And then came a special news bulletin on the radio and, in the blink of an eye, everything changed forever!

Pearl Harbor had been bombed and the world would never be the same again. The young couple was hit by the enormity of the news, the young Cavalry Officer knowing that it meant war for him, and his bride knowing that she must raise their coming child on her own for a while, perhaps a long while, perhaps forever. I know this story well because the young couple that heard this terrible news high atop Lookout Mountain was my mother and father. In that moment the only thing that they knew for sure was that, for better or worse, everything was changed forever!

Twenty-three days later, I was born into a world full of fear and uncertainty, but I was also born into a country full of determination to fight and to see it through to the end. Everyone, young and old, struggled to do their part!

Now my life has come full circle. Now, 78 years later, there is again a world emerging that is full of fear and uncertainty. We face a different set of circumstances and the enemy is invisible and hard to understand. We are desperate to know the truth, to have a plan, to fight and win. We want leadership. We want to hope. We want everyone to do their part! But there is only one thing that we can be sure of. For better or worse, everything is changed forever!

Change has come to the way we shop, the way we work, the way we worship, the way we greet each other, the way we demonstrate our love for one another. We have found a different way to work, a different way to hold meetings, a different way to shop, to get an education, to greet each other, to be together. The invisible enemy lurks everywhere in the old ways of living and we struggle to adapt to the new strategies to keep the enemy at bay. The warriors among us rush into battle with a dwindling and aging arsenal of defensive weapons and the scientists strive to rush development of a weapon, a vaccine, that could protect us all from the enemy. Just like that day on Lookout Mountain, we are at war. Then, I witnessed the onset of that war from the womb, and now I witness this war as a senior citizen. One thing hopefully remains the same… Now, as then, with smart decisions and God’s grace, most of us will do our part so that more of us will survive!

Amidst all the turmoil, there are some highlights to all this change. Some folks’ yards have never looked better! Lots of wonderful concerts on Facebook and YouTube. In many industrial countries the air is cleaner. Gas is a lot cheaper. You’ve heard other examples I’m sure, but the bottom line is that we want to get back to normal, and when we do, if we can we’ll hold on to some of the positive aspects like clean air, better health care, inspirational art and music, and affordable energy!

Remember, amidst all the changes and cancellations, your life is changed and challenged, but not cancelled. Live it to the fullest that you can! In the meantime remember to be patient. “Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” And remember to be hopeful and keep your good humor. “I sure hope America works better when we plug it back in again.”

Happy birthday to Lovely Mae Williams, who celebrates her 87th year of life on April 12! She is indeed a “lovely” person, always positive and pleasant, and White Springs is better off because of her contributions to our community life. White Springs wishes you a happy and safe birthday!

Once again, I’ve said enough. But you haven’t! Let me hear from you. Tell me how you’re coping with all this. I am thankful that we can depend on each other, and I hope that we can continue to feel proud of who we are and where we’re headed, and that we all appreciate how White Springs and its surrounding region is a very special place, to be honored and protected. Be safe in your socially isolated life in White Springs!

Walter McKenzie


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