Editorial: Weathering a worrisome week

Posted 3/27/20

These are difficult times, tempered by good people, simple pleasures, touching moments …

• Even on cold March weekdays, people — singles, couples, families — out hiking and …

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Editorial: Weathering a worrisome week


These are difficult times, tempered by good people, simple pleasures, touching moments …

• Even on cold March weekdays, people — singles, couples, families — out hiking and jogging at parks, on the beach; most respecting distances, almost all sharing a smile or a wave. It’s a fine time for dogs —more long walks than ever, and not just on weekends.

• The checkout woman at an East Bay grocery who apologized to every customer for enforcing the two-only paper goods edict. No, it is we (in our rush to escape that store) who should be thanking you for standing there long hours, smiling, helping, taking risks. Same for the doctors and nurses at the medical center, where the masks are so scarce (despite what Washington tells us) that they must be used far too long, and for the many others for whom social distancing is not an option.

• Never did a package of chicken seem so precious — a stocker brought a cart-load out to replenish the empty cooler and shoppers rushed from every aisle. “Only two per shopper,” he pleaded. “Only two.” 

• Some moments made our own gripes seem suddenly petty — an ambulance took a neighbor who had suffered a stroke to the hospital, his wife left standing at the end of the driveway. She was told she could not be at the hospital by his side. 

• Yet the realization that life goes on and better times are ahead — hours after that ambulance left (same Bristol neighborhood, three houses away) a couple emerged for a first baby carriage walk with their newborn.

• Appreciating small blessings — like Sunday’s extra low tide that brought many out into the sunshine for a clamming adventure. Closing beaches, by the way, should be a last resort, so please keep your distances, don’t force a beach shutdown, don’t blow it. 

• The Westport Land Trust has the right idea — welcoming visitors to its 15 miles of magnificent trails. This treat, too, will vanish if abused.

• And the blessing of technology that allows us to chat and share silly pictures and jokes with distant friends and family. Or that enables teachers to keep teaching (we’ll see how that works).

• Given that they’d never done it before, Westport’s first try at a remote meeting went surprisingly well — once everyone figured out the mute button.

• Appreciating big blessings, like the people who always seem to show up in times like these — the Meals on Wheels volunteers, Tiverton Senior Center lunch deliverers, the blood donors, the animal fosters, all those who check in on vulnerable neighbors …

• Admittedly it was a tiny sample (and the casino is closed), but judging by this week’s Tiverton and Little Compton police reports, people mostly behaved themselves. Only a single non-traffic related arrest (arrests usually run into double figures here). With people cooped up at home and fearful for their health, jobs and families during this most stressful time, that is impressive.

We will get through this!

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Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.