Thomas Howard: Everyone deserves a pat on the back


Take a deep breath in…two…three…four.

Okay, now let it out.

And again, breathe in…and out.

This past week hasn’t been easy. Mississippi now has more than 800 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 14 people have died. Since I wrote a column last Monday, the news has been none stop coronavirus.

Gov. Reeves, President Trump and even the Dyson vacuum guy have been working non-stop to keep us up-to-date on what they are – and aren’t– doing to keep us safe. Friends have posted on social media about losing their jobs and the frustrations of trying to get through the overwhelmed unemployment benefits system.

Political leaders and talking heads have lobbied to place the blame on their rivals. Conspiracy theorists have shouted their paranoia-induced origin story for the virus across the internet. Starbucks closed.

To say the past week has been stressful would be understating the deluge of chaos and panic that journalists, and I’m sure many readers, have had to sort through to accomplish our weekly tasks. Let’s take a minute and be proud of ourselves for not giving in and joining the alliterative three-ring circus of politics, panic and pontification that now makes up our Facebook feeds. Good for us!

Let’s also take a moment to recognize those in our community that went beyond the minimum standard –for me it’s putting on pants without falling over, and today was not my day – and found creative workarounds to the disruption this pandemic is causing in our daily lives. To the pastors and ministers who braved the camera Sunday to live stream their sermons, thank you. To the teachers, who videotaped their lectures and wrestled with hereditarily defective digital learning platforms to make sure their students had opportunities to learn, thank you. To the grocery store owners, who placed massive orders only to receive less than half their anticipated delivery, thank you.

On Saturday, I shared a meme that said, “This too shall pass. It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.” I think that’s true. I don’t know how or when, but the pandemic will end. Schools will reopen, internet trolls will slink back to 4Chan and we’ll all be able to enjoy our cups of overpriced, sugary milk falsely advertised as coffee.

Until then, remember to breathe.

Thomas Howard is the managing editor of The Newton County Appeal. He can be reached at