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Quarantine or not, relationships matter
By Glen Liford, Editor 4/24/2020

As I sit here writing this afternoon, an unexpected soft shower is drenching the ground. Daffodils are blooming in the flowerbeds, and the redbud trees are putting on a purple show alongside the road in front of the house.

If I hadn’t been plugged into all that’s going on in the world right now, it would seem to be a typical spring day. Instead, the last few weeks have been anything but normal.

We’ve all learned a lot of new phrases and words during this crazy and scary time including COVID-19, coronavirus, social distancing, flattening the curve, pandemic, high-risk group, and stay-at-home order, among many others.

However, in spite of all the turmoil and uncertainty, life goes on, especially for essential businesses. The healthcare professionals on the front line have to show up, law enforcement and other first responders keep working, and agriculture can’t shut down. Co-op has a duty, too, to continue providing the products and services our farmers and our communities need during this trying time.

Co-ops are still open for business, though carefully following Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for personal

hygiene, cleaning, and sanitizing, as well as adhering to the agency’s instruction for social distancing. Fortunately, the government recognized early how important agriculture is and deemed it an essential business. You can read more about the Co-op’s response to the crisis beginning on page 5.

By early March, the April issue of the Cooperator was at the printer, and production of this issue was underway with stories assigned and ads confirmed. The flyer for Co-op’s Early Spring Sale, scheduled to begin March 30, had already been printed and was in the process of being mailed and distributed. Then, on March 13, President Trump declared COVID-19 a national emergency. Fifteen days later, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued a “stay at home” order.

As we all do our part, and for the most part shut ourselves off from the world, it has become more apparent how much connections matter. Coworkers who barely spoke while in the same office, in many cases, are missing one another. Graduations, weddings, and family gatherings have been postponed or canceled altogether. We can’t hug our parents or grandparents for fear of causing them harm. 

In one of his recent messages to Co-op employees, Tennessee Farmers Cooperative Chief Executive Officer Bart Krisle suggested we take this time to spend with our families. He even recommended taking a few moments to write a letter to someone you haven’t heard from in a while. Social media is fine. It’s a good way to stay in touch, but an old-fashioned letter still seems like a better option. Whatever method you choose, stay connected with those you love, and, if you can, call your mom. 

This event has been repeatedly referred to as unprecedented, and it truly is. It’s the most surreal thing I have ever been a part of. As we wait, watch, and pray that these extreme

measures will work, we continue to hope the quarantine will soon end. 

In the meantime,  we must look to the encouraging signs. In my corner of the world, the azaleas are blooming and brilliant. Across our country, farmers are headed toward the fields with fertilizer and seed. All signs are pointing toward a beautiful spring and offer the hope that things will soon return to normal. The change of seasons goes on, and we will, too.

 
 
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