Vern Lawson

On March 27, Brian Williams, MSNBC host, focused on the empty streets in New York City … a blessing that has been brought on by the enormous effect of the pandemic.

On Monday night of this week, he closed the show with videos of some of the great cities of the world where traffic jams have dissipated, leaving a long sigh of silence in the streets.

The pandemic’s murderous intent is creating world-wide anxiety as more and more people become frighteningly ill and many die in the United States and elsewhere on the planet.

The Antelope Valley has acres and acres of unused parking lots. Most of the businesses are closed. Some restaurants offer curbside service but no lunch tables inside.

The movie theaters reflect the non-fiction reality in Hollywood where productions have been postponed.

Writing for The Atlantic magazine, Uri Friedman explained on March 18 that:

“We were warned in 2012, when the Rand Corporation surveyed the international threats arrayed against the United States and concluded that only pandemics posed an existential danger, in that they were capable of destroying America’s way of life.”

Now we are living that prediction.

In 2015, Ezra Klein of Vox, after speaking with Bill Gates, wrote “a pandemic disease is the most predictable catastrophe in the history of the human race, if only because it has happened to the human race so many, many times before.”

In 2017, Lisa Monaco, Barack Obama’s outgoing homeland security adviser, explained that “The nightmare scenario for us, and frankly to any public-health expert that you would talk to, has always been a new strain of flu or a respiratory illness because of how much easier it is to spread” relative to other pandemic diseases that aren’t airborne.

Those of us who were around during the Great Depression in the 1930s gained some experience in how to survive on meager salaries.

The key for my family was the awesome work ethic of my father. His monthly take-home pay was $125 a month.

Our household included seven family members. And then a cousin from Illinois moved in. My dad and mom had acquired a five-acre mini ranch in southwest Idaho.

We raised our beef and pork on the land and annually cultivated nearly an acre of vegetables.

Our cows supplied us with large cans of milk, some of which was sold to a  creamery.

My dad had left school in the sixth grade to care for his ailing mother but somehow he learned how to do things, like wire the rural house for electricity. I still get a kick out of flipping on light switches.

He opened a great arch between the living room and the dining room. He developed a plumbing project so the cows and the resident bull had drinking water. I helped him build a city-like sidewalk to nowhere on the front lawn.

He electrified the fence that enclosed about four acres of clover-rich grass for the cows.

He worked six days a week and on Sunday, we did mechanical improvements on the Model A Ford.

He rode a bike some six miles to work so I could transport high school classmates in the family car to Nampa, about eight miles to the north.

There are grim predictions that the hammering destruction of the 21st century economy, with its horrific job losses, will lead to another Depression.

My best advice to our fellow humans is to be sure you get a dad with a never-say-rest work ethic in order to survive.

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