It was a weird feeling on the weekend. It felt like 2019.
I was actually out in the community and covering events.
There was the Estevan Oilfield Technical Society’s Oilmen’s Golf Tournament, the opening day of spray parks in the city (just in time for a heat wave), a bicycle safety clinic offered by the Estevan Family Centre, and the opening day for the Southeast Performance Pump U18 AAA Twins baseball team.
I could have done more, but there’s only so much space in the paper.
It was definitely a weird feeling to spend time sorting through photos for this week’s paper. In many weeks over the 15 months, the photos I’ve had to sort through have been submitted pictures or file photos.
We haven’t spent a lot of time just being out in the community.
I look forward to doing it more often. And I know I’ll eventually take it for granted again.
We’re into Phase 1 of the Re-Open Saskatchewan Road Map, or the sequel to the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan. There are things we can do now that we couldn’t do a few weeks ago. In a week and a half, we’ll be into Step 2, and we’ll be able to do even more.
Maybe, just maybe, on July 11, we can stop wearing our masks when we go into a business (some national businesses might still have mask mandates) and we can pack the grandstand at the Estevan Motor Speedway with 1,500 people.
Of course, we’ll need people to keep getting vaccinated, and my guess is we’ll need our current case count to remain low.
If July 11 rolls around and we’re able to bid adieu to masks, social distancing and crowd limitations, both indoors and outdoors, then we should be thankful. We can shake hands, hug and sit next to a stranger without feeling nervous. We can see each other’s smiles again.
We won’t have to worry about self-isolation any longer.
All of these actions I’ve listed above are ones that most of us will enjoy. Some won’t; they’ll still have the lingering concerns about the pandemic that has touched every aspect of our lives.
And eventually, all of these actions will become normal again, and we’ll take them for granted.
Yes, there’ll be the “remember when” comments about COVID, when we reflect on the months in lockdown in spring 2020; the time spent living with restrictions, wondering what activities would be the next to be called off; and crossing our fingers that we don’t get hit as hard as other parts of the world, or even other parts of the country.
But those thoughts will subside.
I could sit here and tell you that in a year, I’ll still have that incredible feeling of going out and covering something. But that would be a lie. I know I’ll take it for granted. I’ll likely take it for granted six months from now.
That doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy going to golf tournaments, or attending council meetings without a mask, or entering the hospital or a school for an event. I’ll enjoy them, every bit as much as I enjoyed them before March 2020.
But the day will come when I won’t think of how unique it is to do those things. It’ll be something that I really enjoy doing, as part of a job that I really enjoy doing.
In two years, I won’t be thinking how special it is to be at an Estevan Bruins hockey game against the Kindersley Klippers on a Saturday night. Excited to be there? Absolutely.
I’ve missed seeing smiling faces. I don’t like taking pictures covered by masks. I want to see the smile on a kid’s face when they know their picture is going into the paper. I want to see the smile on a recipient’s face during a cheque presentation.
And I want to have people stand shoulder to shoulder for photos. Socially distanced photos don’t work in print.
Again, though, these are all things I hope I won’t have to think about in a few months’ time.
Eventually, it won’t feel special boarding a plane or travelling to the U.S. for a Sunday drive.
And that’s just fine with me.