Not quite normal, but more normal

By Dennis Minich

Things are not back to normal, things may never be back to normal, but at least some things are a little more normal and so I feel a little more normal.

I am not big on traffic. In fact, one of the things I enjoy most about living in this area is the lack of congestion on the roadways our neighbors to the north encounter on a daily basis. Now, when I have to drive up to Kansas City, I am shocked by the number of cars and stop lights and how long it takes to get from one place to another. Oddly, I lived many years in that environment and never thought about it, but once you get used to a slower pace, its hard to step back.

But contrary to those sentiments, it has seen kind of nice to drive around town the past week and see a semblance of normality return. It was really strange the past few weeks when you could drive around the city and county and there were so very few cars on the street.

I remember one Saturday night at about 10 p.m. driving on North Commercial and it was like a virtual ghost town. Last weekend the stay-at-home order had been lifted in Cass County, but was still in effect in Jackson County. I drove north and if seeing North Commercial as desolate was shocking, seeing much of Jackson County closed up was eerie. Of course, the highway looked somewhat normal because there was road construction blocking several lanes every couple of miles, so it was apparent life goes on.

I am also not a big exercise guy. But following my heart attack last fall, I got used to spending a few hours each week doing some therapy at Cass Regional Medical Center. It also stopped over a month ago, but I got to go back to it this week. As much as I really hate exercise, I will admit I missed my workouts. Monday’s was tough because I tried to get back in the swing of things and while my brain was ready, my body wasn’t. But it felt good to get going again. And the biggest news on the workout day was the weigh in. I was really concerned that after five weeks away from my exercises and
lots of time at home with the food I love, I might have un-done some of the weight loss I had achieved. But I weighed in one pound less than the last time I was there, so I was greatly relieved and some- what proud, although I don’t know what I could have done to have achieved such a noteworthy accomplishment.

Which leads me to a topic I do love, food. I don’t think many of us ever appreciated what a treat it is to go out to eat. For the past few weeks, unless we cooked at home, we were stuck with curbside pick up or delivery. And in
very simple terms, picking up food and taking it home usually means you get to enjoy cold food.

This is not a knock against any restaurants or their packaging, but a simple statement of science: hot food will get cold if not eaten right away. Last week I ate out and got to actually sit in three restaurants. Who would have ever guessed such a simple accomplishment would bring such a feeling of giddiness?

All this feel good does come with downsides. To quote an old commercial, “Where’s the beef?” As we reported a few weeks ago, interruptions at meat processing plants is causing disruptions in the food pipeline and it appears the major casualty is beef.

At one restaurant we were told that other than hamburgers, the beef was pretty much 86ed. No hot beef sandwiches, no steaks, no corned beef Reubens.

At another restaurant, the normal menu was replaced by a smaller, sleeker listing. And missing from the listings was anything with beef or seafood.

I guess the good news for me is on my diet I am supposed to stick with chicken and turkey, and so far, we still seem to have chicken and turkey.

So, I hope someday soon beef will be like traffic, exercises and dining out: something we used to miss, but not anymore.