“This will be in the history books,” I say. “You’ll talk to your grandchildren about it.”
At first, they rolled their eyes in that humbling way teenagers have, but as the months pass I know hearing this gives them some relief.
Before 2020 we’d look to community in times like these, but even keeping communities connected has proven a challenge for just about everyone. So we look to national news pundits and social media, only to land in a Twilight Zone of split universes with information presented in opposing, yet equally persuasive ways depending on the source.
In the midst of this confusion and uncertainty, I have been thinking of the late, great Fred Rogers, who famously said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
I am heartened by the positive stories that have emerged nationally during these trying times, but I want to pay tribute to some local helpers too.
Frontline health workers and grocery store employees are deserving of the praise they’ve received for their steadfast commitment, but I would also add those people working in the restaurant industry. Talk about fighters. In less than a year they have had to creatively reinvent how they do business and not just once, but multiple times. Despite the heat, rain and cold, our local establishments have created outdoor seating areas. While they worry about their livelihoods, they have gotten even more creative with their menus all while staying in touch with their customers.
Our schools deserve praise too. All El Dorado Hills schools are running on at least a hybrid, in-person schedule. I give a special shout-out to the Rescue Union School District’s Board of Trustees, which voted last summer to reopen schools when no one surrounding them was. Under the leadership of Superintendent Cheryl Olson, Rescue Union schools have remained open since August and our other El Dorado Hills school districts have followed in the same model. Now all our districts are showing the rest of the state how this balancing act can be accomplished and I know schools across our county are working to be among the first in the state to open fully. I have three sisters who also live in California and of our combined kids mine are the only ones in any sort of in-person school. When we talk, the differences in our kids’ experiences this school year have been stark.
Individuals are doing what they can to help too. One local family I know usually hosts a large, annual Christmas Eve party. When they realized they couldn’t keep the tradition this year, the family of six took their disappointment and the funds they’d set aside for their party to take action. On Christmas Eve they purchased breakfast burritos from Taqueria El Favorito and delivered a full breakfast to the UC Davis Medical Center’s Emergency Room staff.
When uncertainty, fear and even anger creep in, these are the people who make me think we are going to be OK. These are the kinds of people who give me hope. Who or what is giving you hope right now?
Julie Samrick is a mother and author. Connect with her at juliesamrick.com
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