This election was so nasty and divisive, particularly the presidential and U.S. Senate race. I’m afraid it’s going to take a long time to get over it. Two days after the election, a headline in this newspaper said, “Jittery public turns to liquor, news.” Not good!

I did like Congressman Jared Golden’s statement in that same paper. Jared said, “Keep the faith not only in our country and democracy but also in each other.” Let’s hope we can do that. I also liked Jared’s question, “What good does partisan gridlock bring anyway?” No good, and we all know that.

Partisan gridlock in Washington is really bad. In the 1970s, when I worked for Congressman Dave Emery, people in both parties were friends and worked together. Sadly, today, that’s not the case. But I really appreciate the effort of Jared and Sen. Angus King to work with everyone.

In the good old days, we’d have quickly put the election behind us and moved on with our family, friends, and community members, even if we had voted differently. But the pandemic makes moving on much more difficult.

Although I’m doing OK isolated at home (thanks to my wife Linda), I feel terrible for all the people who are depressed and not doing well, isolated at home. I participate in quite a few Zoom meetings, and that helps. Linda and I also go for drives quite a lot, and I love traveling through all the beautiful places in our area. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful state.

I feel very lucky to have lived in Mount Vernon for 42 years. Rural towns are wonderful places where you can know and be friends with almost all the residents. But the pandemic has really hurt all of us.

I really miss the Saturday morning breakfasts at our community center, which is in an old church. The ladies would serve wonderful breakfasts, and we would stay there for a couple hours visiting with everyone. Because of the pandemic, these breakfasts don’t happen now.

And I loved spending time at our wonderful library, where I’ve enjoyed being a library trustee for decades. You could spend a long time in the library, selecting books and visiting with people. We even have a table where you can sit and visit. Sadly, because of the pandemic, only a few people at a time can visit the library and they can only stay 20 minutes.

In the past, whether you were at the post office or general store, you’d be there a while, visiting with friends. Today, people are in and out as fast as possible. The same is true no matter where you shop. At many stores, you can order on line or by phone, and they deliver your order outside, so you don’t go in the store.

At Hannaford in Augusta, while Linda shopped, I’d ride around the store in my wheelchair, visiting with people. Not anymore.

Because I have ALS, and the virus could kill me, I don’t dare go anywhere where there’s a crowd. But when the weather’s good, I love to ride up the road in my wheelchair, with Linda walking beside me. Quite often, people driving by will stop to visit. Yes, that’s what we do in small rural towns.

I am pleased that, partly because of the pandemic, a lot more people are getting outside. The number of hunters and anglers is up a lot, including women. I guarantee your spirits will be lifted if you walk through our beautiful woods. I can recommend Kennebec Land Trust’s Trails — especially at the Ezra Smith Wildlife Conservation Area on Route 41 in Mount Vernon, where the land trust cleared some nice trails on the woodlot I donated to them.

So, let’s put the election turmoil behind us, get outside, be safe, and hope the pandemic is over soon.

George Smith can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected] Read more of Smith’s writings at www.georgesmithmaine.com.


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