Paul lives in Texas, USA, with his wife Maggie, who have both happily had their first vaccine since Paul answered the below questions, so are now looking forward to their second dose and some freedom in mid-April.
What's the last year been like for you?
2020 was an extraordinary year thanks for the most part to COVID-19. My wife (Maggie) and I are both in our seventies and both of us have medical conditions which could severely threaten any hope of survival in the event either one, or both, of us were to become infected. So we more or less locked the front door and became hermits. Our only contact with the commercial world was to pick up groceries and medication through the supermarket and pharmacy drive-through. Family and friends became images behind the glass of our electronic devices. COVID survival required the escalation of existing, and the creation of new, means of electronic communication. Eventually we learned about the options and added Zoom, Facebook Messenger and other text and video programs to our PCs, tablets and phones. This then was our new world, and for the most part, still is. Most significantly, and I suppose surprisingly, we found that our world of two was comfortably glued together by our love for each other and by sharing many common interests and hobbies.
Thinking back over the last 24 months, can you pin point any positive moments?
COVID-19, and more recently the five-day ice-storm, bought out the best throughout the population of the United States. Strangers helped strangers throughout the country, sharing food and life’s necessities as well as personal warmth and companionship wherever and whenever it was needed. This wave of giving and sharing far eclipsed, and in many ways compensated for, the unfortunate incompetence of our leaders.
Have you witnessed any acts of kindness at home, in the community, at work, that you can share?
In Texas, many communities share an electronic communications platform called NEXTDOOR. This platform allows neighbors in multiple nearby communities to ask for help and/or to volunteer it. Whether through gifts of money, food and clothing or the services of electricians, plumbers or other skilled and unskilled folks, no call for help was ever ignored, no compensation was ever requested, in many cases donors preferred to remain anonymous.
What's the main thing that's got you through the last year?
Simple answer: love, friendship, respect and a healthy dash of compromise.
What have you learnt that will take you forward in life?
If you want something done right, don’t get a politician involved.
Is there anyone from your school days who you would like to get back in touch with?
Over the years I have enjoyed exchanges of e-mails with Teddy Bailey, Ushvin Khana, Richard Bialy, Nigel Roberts and Jeff Ridgway. In 2017 I enjoyed a pint and chat over old times at the Walhampton Arms with Paul Stickley. I would like to make contact George Bernard.
We hope you enjoy venturing out in April Paul... Stay Safe.
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