Suck It Up, Buttercup
By John Meng, News Editor As the combine carved a symmetrical swathe in the corn field across from my home this past week, robotically mowing down thousands of desiccated stalks, I was reminded that nothing ever stays the same. The seasons change. Our physical bodies change. Our jobs change. Even our relationships change.
But there is one thing I hope never changes. Jackson County.
Somehow, some way, Jackson County has been an island, insulated from much of the chaos in the country today. We have been shielded from anarchy and the blatant disrespect of our American institutions. We have no riots. No looting. No major disasters (knock on wood).
Truth is – we have it pretty good, and I’m honored and pleased to call Jackson County my home.
But we’re not immune to what happens beyond the county line. The coronavirus taught us that.
While positive cases of COVID-19 ravaged the counties surrounding us – Victoria, Lavaca, Dewitt, Wharton – we remained blissfully virus-free for nearly two months. Eventually, the virus worked its way into our community and it changed our lives.
Although I still don’t trust the statistics (there have been far too many reports of false data), I believe it’s safe to say that the impact the virus has had on Jackson County has been mild in comparison to many other areas in the state, especially the large urban communities.
Yet, the existence of the virus and the government mandates forced us to change. Our students attend school differently and we go grocery shopping differently. We do our banking through pneumatic tubes now, and we have to ask permission just to shake hands.
While these are all changes to which we must adjust, we all need to keep our situation in perspective. Having to wear a mask is annoying. Conducting banking through a tube is frustrating. Standing six feet away of people is tiresome – although I sometimes welcome it depending on who is the grocery line ahead me.
But these are not hardships. Honestly, I wonder if some people today even know what hardship really is.
I have recently overheard many residents complaining about wearing masks, whining about the repaving of the parking lot at HEB, and moaning about the school schedules.
These are all certainly problems we have to deal with in our daily lives. But are these really problems so large that they preoccupy our daily existence?
The pioneers didn’t have it easy when they settled Jackson County. There were no welfare handouts for new immigrants then. There was no free government cheese and no free Obama phones. When they came to Texas, they brought with them only a few possessions, maybe a mule, a propensity for hard work, and the inspiring dream of a better life.
My father was a World War II veteran. He was no Audie Murphy, but he was representative of what many now call the ‘Greatest Generation.’
They were no different than the rest of us. They were human beings and they felt love, loss and fear just like everyone else. Just as we do today. But they didn’t complain about not having air conditioning or HBO. Yet they stormed the beaches of Normandy and fought for every inch of ground on Iwo Jima.
Their lives were much harder than ours. By comparison, we have become soft and entitled. We have lost perspective on what true hardships can be.
So, suck it up, Buttercup!
Yes. The world changes. Our life changes. The way we do business changes. But we adapt, we improvise and we overcome.
Jackson County is indeed an island. We remain somehow protected from the tsunamis of turmoil that floods areas around us. We have strong values and a long history of community spirit that unites us, and we never want that to change.
Let’s put aside the hyped headlines that distract us from what’s important. Let’s get back to work. Let’s focus on our jobs, our families, our health, and on making our community a better place to live.
As the lyrics to an old song tells us, “Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.” Despite the changes all around us, we should stay focused on the good that we have in our lives and not dwell on the minor annoyances. After all, happiness is a choice we make every day.
Stay strong, Jackson County!