Sometimes it takes traveling slowly through that extremely long, pitch black length of tunnel to clearly see the bright lights, vivid beauty and sparkling refreshment at the end. And within that bright light, hope glimmers anew. Faith swiftly strengthens and charity warmly becomes a shared event. There's no doubt about it, times are changing, perhaps for the better. There's growing doubt whether it will ever go back to what could fast become the days of yore. That includes stocking our larders after surviving a quarantine we'd all rather forget.

Let's face it, folks, ever since Eve left the garden with Adam in tow, shopping has never been the same. One big store replaces a small one and the big store is then replaced by an even bigger one. It goes on like that until we arrive at the 21st Century with the super-mega stores. They're the ones that have everything under one roof and then some.

Stored along with other recollections that languish somewhere near the back roads by the riverbanks of your memory are the days of Mom and Pop grocery stores where you could buy two Tootsie Rolls and a soda pop, pay with a dime and get three cents change. Or at Miller's local hardware store where the best gallon of paint cost less than two dollars.

And Aunt Ellen's Diner was where the 15 cent homemade pie slices were so unmistakably delicious they won blue ribbons every year at the local fair. It was also where you could buy a triple scoop banana split with three sauces, including a creamy marshmallow sauce, dripping in hot fudge or chocolate syrup, smothered with whipped cream, covered with crushed pecans and topped with a maraschino cherry, all for 29 cents. If you wanted a cherry or lemon coke to go with that dream dish it costs 5 cents more. Those childhood days are now distant memories, as will be, thanks to the current wave of coronavirus, all the ones from 2019.

During this recent pandemic, and it's not over yet, folks, all non-essential businesses were closed by order of the government to keep this deadly virus from spreading. The little guy, locally and affectionately known as mom and pop businesses, suffered the most. Having little cash flow and with even less stored in reserve, staying open as long as they could just to serve those of us who could make it out of our homes so we could purchase whatever essentials was needed, they literally lived from day to day until getting to the point where it finally cost them just to open the doors.

These local businesses have bent over back supporting us and in many cases had to close down due to lack of funds. I hope everyone finds it in their hearts to use some of the extra funds from the stimulus checks the government is sending out to everyone to patronize those local Mom and Pop stores. It's a small way of thanking them and letting them know we support them, too.

As we've heard so many times over the past four months from just about everyone and their uncle, “We're all in this together!” Now is the time to put those words to good use and prove to the rest of the world that as always, America stands behind its own. Let the word continuously go forth that this country persistently means exactly what it says when responding protectively to anything threatening.

If or when the second wave of this COVID-19 hits later in the year, as so many medical experts are predicting, let's all hope those in other parts of the world will look upon America as a survival lesson and learn that it all begins on a grass roots level with the local Mom and Pop businesses.

Comments may be emailed to: