Mar 27, 2020

A Time of Uncertainty - COVID 19 - Part 1

Do people blog much anymore?  By the looks of my last entry, it’s been almost three years since I visited my site; something I used to do a few times a week.  While I still love to write, Facebook and other social medial has reduced my creativity to brief thoughts or a just whimsical notion.  

If I look back at my old blog, it was perhaps a little self-absorbed.  Writing about what I love to do was easy.  Horses were and are a big part of my life.  There are still times when riding that I think about sharing this or that but then it ends up a quick photo and post to Facebook and the long version is forgotten.  

Today’s urge to write has nothing to do with horses unless I count what is going on in the world is taking me away from the horse adventures I’d planned this spring.  I was going to get Windy’s 1,000 competition miles.  Maybe enter The Colt in his first CTR.  I had campsites and entry fees paid.  I just needed to get through The Horse Trail Riding Expo, which I have chaired for six years, and I’d be ready to go!  That and the remodel of my house, which was running concurrently with Expo planning.  (Will someone remind me not to take on things like that during Expo time?)

Expo was pushed back a couple weeks this year due to Equifest in Kansas changing their date.  I was surprised at how the two-week delay reduced the stress of a tight timeframe and pleased with how things were moving along so well.   I should take a lesson in Murphy’s Law.  

In mid to late February, we start hearing more and more about this virus or flu which has crippled China.  I have become pretty numb to national news.  The days of trusting the likes of Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley are long gone.  Hell, even the weather forecasters tell you the sky is falling over a summer thunderstorm.  It’s about ratings and politics and when those things dry up, fear-mongering ends up being the story of the day. So now we have some “coronavirus” which is going to take out the world.  Looking at the numbers of people in China afflicted by this virus compared to the population of China, it was minuscule; shouldn’t even be a blip on anyone’s radar.  Italy?  It’s the size of California.  Of course it would be more concentrated!   

February 28:  My Expo co-chair called me and suggested we should have a Plan B around the coronavirus.  I thought he was being a bit paranoid.  “Let’s just keep an eye on it,” I said.  I probably rolled my eyes at the time, too.  I am sure I damned the media on Facebook for spreading the fear.  Then had a fun weekend in Kansas City; ate at a very full restaurant, stayed in a hotel, attended a horse conference and went shopping.  

March 9:  Met with the Co-Chairs about the status of Expo.  I was asked what we would lose is Expo was canceled.  While we had incurred some expenses, it wasn’t a lot.  Programs and tee shirts were ready to go to print.  We decided to call the printer and get a “drop dead” date for printing.  They gave us until Friday, March 13.  We would watch the news and meet with our Board of Directors on Thursday, March 12.  Print or don’t print.  Plan C was refunding the advertisers and just doing a schedule handout.  

March 10:  Happy Birthday to me.  My hopes of retiring in three years is now only just a dream.  I fell asleep with the TV on and woke up to dire predictions of the stock market going to hell because of China and this idiotic virus which couldn’t make me any sicker than I was at that moment or at the end of the day for the next several days.  

March 11:  Just 17 days ago.  Really?  I keep looking at the calendar because it doesn’t seem possible.  Again, another discussion with my Co-Chairs.  Things were heating up in Omaha.  We started to hear mention of “social distancing” and limiting activities to small groups.  Our event sponsor backed out.  Other vendors were calling and were concerned…

Meanwhile, another flu was rearing its head:  Equine Influenza.  While not a killer among horses, it is a social disease which can quickly go through a herd or barn.  Cough, snotty noses, fever and listlessness.  While just 17 days ago, a lot of my crowd hadn’t even paid homage to the coronavirus, the idea of horses catching equine influenza at our Expo was my bigger concern.  That, combined with seeing what was happening on Wall Street, the fight was out of me and I called Uncle.  Before we could meet with the board of directors, our team decided to pull the plug on Expo.  

The back lash to canceling this event was mixed.  Many said we were doing the socially responsible thing while others complained on Faceback that “a horse show was canceled over fear of this virus - really?”  I have to say, I woke up the next day with a lot of weight off of my shoulders.  A premonition of sorts, perhaps.  I say more like a God-send.  

To Be Continued:  PART 2

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