Puffs from the Locomotive
July 23, 2020
What does the current COVID-19 Pandemic have in common with the Spanish Flu of 1918 ? ? ?
Other than the obvious illness and death common to all a person has to get down to a personal level. To me that involves family.
One hundred and two years ago my uncle (John Brockman) died during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 at the age of almost 21 years. This past week my brother Marion died during the COVID-19 flu epidemic of 2020 at the age of 88.
Attendance at the John Brockman funeral was three. St. Stephen parish priest, Father Hahn, Sacred Heart parish priest, Msgr. Becker and John’s father, Henry Brockman. (You see gathering of any kind were forbidden in 1918, and I suspect that Henry was not supposed to attend either.) In memory of John, the family used his Knights of Columbus insurance benefit to purchase the Christmas Nativity Scene still used in the St. Stephen parish church.
In 102 years society and cultures do change. Marion’s body was cremated and a celebration of life memorial service will be held in Florida at some time and a Memorial Mass is being offered this Friday in Grand Island, Nebraska. As befitting his 29 years of service to his country in the Air Force, burial will be in the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D. C. at a later date. Marion’s death resulted from a combination of factors: COVID-19 was part of it, but he also suffered from a form of Parkinson’s disease and the after effect of being exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
His family wishes memorials to be directed to the University of Nebraska Foundation Ostdiek Scholarship Fund.
There are differences and there are similarities between those 102 years.
Sadness – Humor:
I’ve mentioned before that a good laugh can often help offset the effects of sadness, no matter the cause. I’ve noted that I often enjoy the newspapers’ Comics section almost as much as anything else.
Well, Monday morning’s comics had two items I enjoyed and helped me keep things in perspective.
One was the “Baby Blues” strip that had the young son asking his dad: “Dad, are we doing anything this summer?”
The dad answered: “Well, with everything that’s going on in the world, I think we’ll be staying close to home.”
The son says: “Okay . . . what’s going on in the world?”
Dad says: “Long story.”
‘O, to be young an innocent . . .
The other comic is called “Shoe.” It often involves a newspaper setting and editors and writers. (One of my favorites.)
An employee of the newspaper tell the writer: “Great news, I got my results back . . . I tested negative.”
The writer replies: “What a relief.”
The editor chimes in with: “It was an I Q test.”
Enough said . . .
Something else . . .
I’ll change the subject for a little while.
I did something last week I haven’t done for many a year. I came across the magazine section while shopping last week and I noticed the autumn football magazines were all there. I haven’t purchased one of those for years, but I bought one that featured the Big Ten Conference football preview.
I have sad news, (overall) for Nebraska Cornhusker football fans.
According to the magazine Nebraska does not stack up very well against its opponents in the Big Ten Conference with few players listed among those who they considered the most outstanding players in the league this season. They went on to comment on the hope that most Husker fans had last season that were dashed.
However, they did note that the Huskers did have a pretty good recruiting season for this year and they went on to talk about the predominant Husker fans’ attitude with the football team. That attitude of “Hope.”
Overall . . . the glowing reports were reserved for the Ohio States and the Wisconsin type teams. Nebraska was not ignored like a couple of teams, but they seemed to have little claim to fame as in years past.
And, it was obvious they did not take the current COVID-19 virus into account. The possibility of not have a football season was not mentioned.
Go Big Red . . .
The following is borrowed: (Most of it is a repeat from last week, but somewhere in the newspaper production process, the final line was lost. The final line helps the whole poem make sense.)
“I’ve seen better days,
but I’ve also seen worse.
I don’t have everything I want,
But I do have all I need.
I woke up with some aches and pains,
But I woke up.
My life may not be perfect,
But I am blessed.”