A time when we cared for each other


From: Judy Inman



I am an 80-year-old white lady who frequently walks on our lake paths. I am thankful to the city for providing this beautiful source of recreation. I wear a mask and step away from approaching walkers as prescribed by the rules posted at each street interval. Very frequently two, three and even four walkers, abreast of each other and talking, no masks, come way too close so I step away and turn my back to them to let pass. It should be noted that the prescribed distancing of six feet can be accomplished if opposing parties would momentarily separate and move to the edge of the path. For my safety, and that of other compromised walkers (even people from nearby towns) it would be appreciated to find more social distancing being practiced. Also distancing could reduce the coronavirus contamination by groups who do not wear masks and take up more than half of the pathway, leaving scant room and close contact for the on-comer to breathe as we know the virus is airborne, in the calm or wind, and find direct contact.

One day, a cluster of four women, two by two abreast of each other, came toward me, at the same time I heard the whiz of a bicycle approaching from behind. I called out to the women suggesting to go single file, they did not. The bicyclist, without slowing down, made it through us with no mishap. When the women got up to me, one in the back scolded me for talking like that and then gave me the finger. I don’t understand that type of denial and rage. Consequently, it would be great if the paper would promote the city’s rules for using our lake paths as a refresher for local walkers inclusive of our college students (who have come back to the path.)

I come from an era when Winona was plagued by a series of yearly floods (before the permanent dike system). Winonans worked 24 hours a day, seven days heartily sand bagging, hauling, etc., and patrolling day and night for bubbles and breaks in the man-made dike. We were successful and were called “the city that saved itself.” But now we are forced to conquer a foe that we cannot see and some don’t believe it to be. May I suggest that we work with what we can see — each other. The spirit of yesterday, today and tomorrow, the spirit of care and concern for each other, of hospitality (we don’t forget how to come through hard times) that careful spirit will make us victorious, we will continue our beloved community, scathed but holding up.

But, by not seeing nor protecting each other, as I’ve noticed, we negate the greater good and possibility of greater community healing. I am hopeful that we will turn our backs to not caring and look out to help each other.

I need people to see me when I’m walking and for goodness sakes move over, so I don’t have to give you my back. Or maybe you have a preconceived negative idea about old people which says you don’t have to see me nor care. That’s called prejudice.


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