Living on the edge

Each day brings news of the pandemic, some encouraging, some discouraging, little that is conclusive. There seems always to be the threat of a new strain.  Whether it is merely a caution to avoid lapsing from the usual detail of social distancing and wearing a mask, there are also warnings about renewed contamination. Will it ever end?

Last night listening to Ringo Starr talk about his upcoming performances, he appeared to have already relinquished 2021.  Given his notable success and involvement in the industry, the prediction does nothing to fire our hopes for the future.

Sir Richard Starkey MBE (born 7 July 1940), better known by his stage name Ringo Starr, is an English musician, singer, songwriter and actor who achieved international fame during the 1960s as the drummer for the Beatles. He occasionally sang lead vocals with the group, usually for one song on each album, including “Yellow Submarine”, “With a Little Help from My Friends” and their cover of “Act Naturally”. He also wrote and sang the Beatles’ songs “Don’t Pass Me By” and “Octopus’s Garden”, and is credited as a co-writer of others.

Starr was afflicted by life-threatening illnesses during childhood, with periods of prolonged hospitalisation. He briefly held a position with British Rail before securing an apprenticeship as a machinist at a Liverpool equipment manufacturer. Soon afterwards, he became interested in the UK skiffle craze and developed a fervent admiration for the genre. In 1957, he co-founded his first band, the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group, which earned several prestigious local bookings before the fad succumbed to American rock and rollaround early 1958. When the Beatles formed in 1960, Starr was a member of another Liverpool group, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. After achieving moderate success in the UK and Hamburg, he quit the Hurricanes when he was asked to join the Beatles in August 1962, replacing Pete Best.

Once again we’ve found ourselves apologetically glorifying Lanark County and life by the hearth. It most certainly is not a condemnation – all the more so as I wipe the small plate clean of the creamy residue of a butter tart from Beckwith Kitchen! No, the problem is most certainly not life in Almonte. We’ve had the advantage of learned lectures on Zoom; cycling almost every day throughout the winter; some terrific purchases, fulfilling medical inquiries (X-ray, blood test, MRI and general consultation with family physician), meeting new people and learning to survive on an extremely limited wardrobe.

Though we’re no closer to realizing our hope of wintering south of the border next year, we continue to devote time to analysis of available rental accommodation in the State of Florida or on the Florida Keys. At this stage it is no more than a lottery.  The Canadian government and our medical insurer must first convince themselves of the propriety of travel. It is an odd paralysis because it affects activity not only abroad but also locally. The indiscriminate universality of the pandemic equally proscribes our behaviour this side of the border. As the period from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice approaches, and beyond, it remains uncertain whether the traditional resorts on the St. Lawrence River or the Madawaska will be open to the usual trade. This naturally dissuades socializing with family and friends so once again we remain living on the edge.

Those of us who are retired, living off private pensions and investments, the pandemic nonetheless remains a threat to what is to come.  It is unimaginable the deprivation so many have suffered as a result of employment loss and business failure. It is arguable in the broadest of opinions that even were the pandemic to continue unabated or perhaps worse, commerce will survive through necessity of change.  The internet has clearly facilitated education. People stopped going to movie houses years ago. Buying things on-line is an indisputable convenience. Resources (such as fuel and metals) can still be cultivated. Factories and other places of close-quarter will have to change. Travel and vacation will obviously be different.

The point is, the pandemic does not make the world go away, but there may well be need for alteration. Bill Mahr’s appeal to adopt the Chinese capacity for development may overtake the current economy which in turn may be built upon infrastructure improvement which is an acknowledged necessity in Western society.