About a month ago I made my weekly early trip to the supermarket, walked in and saw an elderly woman taking a cart without a mask. The employee reminded her that masks were required but she said, “I can’t wear a mask” and went in. I wanted to tell her that there were options like curbside pick-up, delivery or having a friend/family do her shopping, but didn’t say anything.

Last week I made my monthly early shopping trip to another store, and as I approached the dairy case a women apologized for being in the way, moved her cart but kept talking, I got what I wanted as she wished me and my family a happy Thanksgiving. As I turned to wish her the same, I saw that she had no mask so just said, “And you also and stay well without a mask,” whereupon she said, “Well, it’s all a hoax!”

Stunned, I turned and went on my way, feeling sad at the ferocity and willingness of people to believe in a narrative when the facts are telling you otherwise. I’m stumped at the tribalism this pandemic and election have caused, and unless I’ve missed it, I haven’t seen one letter to the editor explaining why half the country is so adamant on keeping the whole lot of us from getting sick.

I’d like to see a letter from someone defending the no-mask dogma, or am I just being naïve in thinking that our letters are preaching to the choir in the newspaper. Any takers?


Portia Miles Smith


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