By SRO Kjell Michelsen
Last week was supposed to be senior week at the high school. We had planned again to arrange for the senior mock-crash event, which we started with the previous year, followed by a pizza lunch and several vendors handing out free stuff, all with a focus on traffic safety. The week would have been rounded off with the senior prom on Saturday. Our student council and many others had worked so hard to make all this happen, and then it was all canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis.
But with all that said, I feel confident that we will come back stronger and better. Our “new normal” will turn into our “regular normal” in many ways, like social distancing, which was hard to even imagine a few short months ago. Some businesses are set to open up again on May 1 here in Tennessee. I personally think it is smart as long as the guidelines set forth by the state of Tennessee and the Center for Disease Control are followed.
Our family, like so many others, are staying at home as much as possible. It’s probably a little easier for me to do so since my work is out and about, driving around, taking calls, picking up and dropping off food and medicine, and whatnot during the day. When I get home, we sit in our garage, which, in a way, has turned into a “second living room.” We sit there talking about our day and just kick back and relax for a bit.
Generally speaking people in this area seem to be much more self-sufficient than in many other places in the country. Just about all the people I know get a little plot of land ready to plant various vegetable gardens in the spring. Many others hunt and fish. Canning is also a popular thing to do. In uncertain times it’s a good layer of security to be able to take care of yourselves and your family. As an extension as a community, we have the resources to take care of those who need a little extra help.
In closing, I want to mention a good friend of mine who passed away recently. Ketil “Hammer” Berntsen. He was, like me, born and raised in Norway. Ketil moved to the U.S. in 2000, and I met him a few years later. We struck up a great friendship, especially since we both had served with the UN military mission to South Lebanon. He left behind a wife of 20 years, Sharon, and a mother and siblings in Norway. Sadly, because of the COVID-19 crisis, we could not have a proper send-off for him, but he lives on in our memories.
Until next time, be safe, have a little fun, and keep up the social distancing.