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Today is January 16, 2021

Mississippi Seen

We are all a lot more related then we realize

By Walt Grayson

We are all a lot more related then we realize

Wow! What was that?
This COVID-19 thing?
Talk about out of nowhere!

Alright, I will try to settle down and make complete sentences for a while. But seriously! Did you ever expect that we would ever have a worldwide pandemic in our lifetimes, or ever again? I never imagined something like the coronavirus engulfing the globe with all the advances in medicine we have today.

A couple of observations about the pandemic. First, evidently it is a small world after all. The blinding speed at which the whole planet was touched by the virus is amazing. How a microscopic entity that originated in China a few months ago could be the major topic of concern in the smallest villages in Mississippi right now is mind-boggling. The old “six degrees of separation” thing must really work.

That’s the theory that we all know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody and so on — to the point that within six people we could have contact with anybody on the planet. I have a couple of neat stories about the degrees of separation. Years ago, I was introduced to a Yazoo City man in his 90s who had lived in Washington, D.C. as a young man. His landlady was in her 80s. She told him about her 15th birthday — an outing to the theatre — Ford’s Theatre the night Lincoln was shot. So, I’ve met a guy who met a lady who saw Lincoln’s assassination. That puts just two degrees of separation between me and Lincoln.

Another quick story. I was interviewing a group of volunteers building a wheelchair ramp for an older lady in Rankin County. The leader of the group, obviously British by his accent, showed me a photograph of his mother and her best friend. Her friend is Ringo Starr’s mom. So, he knows Ringo. So, there is just one degree of separation between me and Ringo.

Oddly, that puts Ringo just four degrees of separation from Abraham Lincoln through his friend, then me, then the older gentleman in Yazoo City and his landlady in Washington when he was young.

What does all of that have to do with COVID-19? Not much, except to point out that we are all a lot more related than we realize. And with the way we move around the world today, it’s not surprising something like a virus for which we have no natural immunity could whip around the globe at blinding speed.

One other observation about COVID-19. The virus seems to have brought us all to some sort of redefinition of what life is all about. People have started visiting their neighbors, keeping their social distance of course. We have picked up hobbies that we “grew out of” because of the demands of life. We discovered we actually DO touch one another. So, we’ve started to make those touches more meaningful. Interesting that it took something that could easily kill all of us to point us back toward living.

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