I’ve lived a rather long life, but never in that time did anything occur with the disruptive force to everyday life created by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Its coming and the publicity surrounding it prompted me to think back through the years to recall some of the events which had a major impact — good, bad or neutral — on our way of life.
Because playing and watching sports has always been a big part of my life, I tossed in a few sports events in the recitation.
Among my best memories of days gone by are what one sports writer called “the march of Minnesota’s mighty men” through undefeated football seasons in 1940-1941, under Litchfield native Coach Bernie Bierman. As a pre-teen group up in then provincial tiny Chanhassen, I followed Gophers football and St. Paul Saints baseball with religious zeal.
Then came the war, and I remember so well that gray December Sunday afternoon when my mother came home from “the sister’s shack” er, school in Chanhassen to announce that the Japs had attacked Pearl Harbor, sending a feeling of fear through me that they might be close to our little village.
The next memory of an event which impacted the nation was the death in April of 1945 of President Franklin Roosevelt. I was something of a news junkie in that era and listened intently through the four days of special programming and dirge music which marked the death.
Then in August 1945 came the end of the war, and I recall how the women in the all-Catholic Chanhassen went to church and the men went through the back door (bars were closed) to Pauly’s Bar.
I was here in Litchfield for the next memorable event I recall when the Russians sent up the Sputnik to take the lead in space and spur the United States to action.
Then there was the day in July 1968 when Neil Armstrong uplifted the spirits of every American with his landing on the moon.
And what about a pair of memorable sports events — the Twins winning the 1987 World Series, and John Carlson’s Dragons basketball team winning three state titles in year years in 2000-2004.
Interspersed with these events was probably the most tragic incident internally the nation has ever experienced, the disastrous 2001 attack on the World Trad Center.
And now we have the COVID-19 outbreak. I’m something of a pessimist generally, but on this COVID-19 era, my hope is it will pass quickly, that our kids will be back in school soon, and the Twins will be back on the diamond son, that that the virus will fade and we’ll have a typical Litchfield summer.