Let's clean out the notebook ....
• The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many lines that we've seen on TV, from those waiting for a vaccine to those distancing to vote. We've got our own lines in Jasper.
There are some that are inside - particularly at some pharmacies. I saw two lines inside one major one recently, and decided it best to just go home and order on DoorDash.
Again, the pharmacies have their own drive-through lines. One at a major one in Jasper stretched from the window, backward around the corner and to the starting point next to the front door. This is a sign of how many people are needing prescriptions and medical supplies in this pandemic. I know I had to use those lines at my worst.
But in trying to come back more to the work place, it was a shock to deal with the lines again. I think I waited until well past noon on Monday, and went looked at restaurants from Milo's down west to Airport Road. With some indoor dining areas still closed to the public anyway, almost every restaurant of any type had long lines at their drive through. It was obvious to me that some would have been scared to eat in anyway. I wound up heading to the apartment and reheating some microwave plate.
The next day I learned my lesson. I went to a drive-through at 11 a.m.
• Jasper's First Baptist Church was set to begin Grief Share meetings this month, but they've decided to postpone them to the fall due to the COVID-19. Senior Pastor Lloyd Stilley and Worship Pastor and Administrator Art Werner have both had the virus recently, and a couple of Sunday services - including the one before Christmas - and the Christmas Eve service were virtual only. Student and Family Minister Justin Wood had to lead all three of those services. They are back now to in-person services on Sunday; Wednesday night activities return Jan. 13.
• Circuit Clerk-elect Joeletta Barrentine will have her swear-in in a public ceremony at the Jasper Civic Center on Friday, Jan. 15, at 2 p.m. Former Circuit Judge Jerry Selman will swear her in. The public is invited.
• If Joe Biden and I were in the same room Wednesday morning, we would both likely be staring at each other. Reportedly the Biden team didn't think Democrats would take both Senate seats in Georgia, bracing for the worst. I thought Raphael Warnock had a good chance against Republican Kelly Loeffler, who has underperformed; it didn't hurt being an African-American and a pastor. But I didn't see newcomer Jon Ossoff beating incumbent Republican David Perdue. At this writing, Ossoff outperformed his earlier race with a 16,000-vote margin, made easier in that the two Senate races were practically tied together so party nominees were like teams. For that matter, I wasn't expecting Warnock to have a 54,000 margin Wednesday morning.
The changing dynamics of the suburbs and certainly of Georgia played a part, but so did organization by Democrats and perhaps outrage by different groups on how the election was conducted, sometimes with racial overtones. But voters appeared to want to give their presidential winner majorities in both chambers and probably reacted badly to President Trump's self-absorbed antics over his own election, criticizing Republican state officials that these voters are familiar with - and who fought back on their own - and engaging in at least a highly unethical phone call the weekend before. And most voters said they thought the November election was fair. It was almost a perfect storm, and Trump pushed it all over the edge to cost his party the Senate, if the Ossoff lead holds up as expected.
• Many of you know the Pizza Bar in Carbon Hill, and that there is an extension in Winfield. There will now be a Hamilton Lacy's (using the old name of the Carbon Hill site and its late owner) which opened Wednesday.
• U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt and his wife Caroline heard about the Jasper buses coming for Wednesday's rallies. His wife took breakfast to the local supporters that morning, Aderholt said on Facebook. Everyone looked happy - and quite bundled in the cold.
• It is clear local government is taking no chances with the pandemic, although sometimes the notices on the door can't keep up. Some sickness has been seen at some staffs, although not all. Generally, closings at city halls and other government offices are sometimes being ordered, or ordered to be continued, to prevent spread, although the staffs may continue to work indoors. Many of them have drop boxes for payments anyway, but as this pandemic heats up, I would call first before I made any quick visit, and if you could do business remotely, I think the staffs would be grateful. (For that matter, the Daily Mountain Eagle office still is closed to the public.)
• Be patient with the Daily Mountain Eagle as we are transitioning to new schedules, procedures, products and redesigns - as well as the sickness you are all seeing, including some positive tests or other illness.
• We all know stories with the COVID-19 that breaks our hearts. A minister friend of mine close to my age who is a Winfield native, now in Shelby County, saw his wife get covid and pneumonia and couldn't get his wife into the hospital because beds were reserved for those to be put on machines. He exhausted himself at night giving her meds, but a day or two later they finally got her in for a few days. She came back home this week to recuperate - with an oxygen tank.
Meanwhile, Doug Puckett was an employee for a while at the Journal Record in Marion County, and was also known in the area for working on computers and printers or selling such equipment, including Walker County. Doug was a real character but incredibly smart (as all Pucketts are). He contracted COVID-19 this week and was taken to the hospital. In a day or two, he was dead. it is a terrible loss for his family and friends.
And yet, these are only two cases. I know you have many more.