To the editor: “Beware the Ides of March!” Next week we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, commemorated by some by imbibing copious amounts of green beer. Also, on the ancient Roman calendar, we observe the 15th of this month as a day of certain notoriety, for in 44 BC, a group of senatorial conspirators assassinated the Roman dictator, Julius Caesar, thus condemning the Romans to another 13 years of civil war.
Today, in addition to crazy lunatics running loose and shooting innocent civilians, we must beware of the coronavirus, an incredibly contagious pathogen rumored to have begun in China and rapidly overwhelming the world’s population. This potentially lethal disease threatens the elderly and any of us with compromised immune systems or respiratory difficulties. Medical personnel warn us to avoid all travel, especially cruise ships, and large gatherings, keeping a safe distance from other people of at least 6 feet.
To circumvent the spread of this infectious illness, I emailed my pastor at my church last Sunday to suggest that we modify our Communion service to reduce physical contact and that we temporarily eliminate all hand shaking, fist bumping, high fiving, hugging and kissing, although, as of yet, I must admit that no one in church has actually attempted to kiss this grizzled old sourdough. Perhaps the News-Miner could send a reporter around to interview various physicians and pathologists and then publish a comprehensive study of preventive measures that we can take to alleviate the danger from this dreaded virulence.
Also, on the evening of the 15th, an irreverent bunch of cantankerous curmudgeons like myself will congregate at “the shack out back” in Pleasant Valley to help Rattles, my oldest friend and good neighbor, celebrate his birthday. I will refrain from mentioning his actual age, other than the fact that he will be only one year older than me. You can hear his exciting, nostalgic weekly radio program every Friday evening, “Rocking With Rattles,” from 5-8 p.m. on KRFF-FM, 89.1. But beware, at his party, we plan to uncork a variety of intoxicating beverages and probably even pass a few bowls of “wacky tobaccy.”