Look for the helpers

Ron and I went to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood when it came to Tucumcari a few weeks ago. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s well worth the $3 to watch it on Amazon Prime while you’re practicing social distancing.

As the coronavirus scare unfolds, I find myself wondering how Fred Rogers would handle it. What would a coronavirus-themed episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood look like? What would Mr. Rogers tell his young viewers? What would Lady Aberlin say to reassure Daniel the Striped Tiger? How would King Friday address his subjects in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe?

In an interview many years ago, Mr. Rogers mentioned that when he was a child, and something sad or frightening happened, his mother would say, “Look for the helpers.”

I don’t have Mr. Rogers’ gentle, soft-spoken demeanor or a set of puppets I can use to reassure you. But I do have some training in looking for the good in every situation, and while I’m a bit rusty at it, I still remember how to look for the helpers.

With that in mind, here are some hopeful signs amid the deluge of bad news:

There are plenty of helpers out there. Keep looking for them.



NOTE: This is part of the new novel I am writing. I am posting it here as a diversion for readers who may be living under shelter-in-place policies while the world waits for the coronavirus pandemic to pass. For an explanation of this project, please click here.

December 1959 ~ Desert Hills Motel, Tulsa, Oklahoma

The blood clot was nearly the size of Shirley’s fist. She hadn’t mentioned to John that her period was late. No sense getting his hopes up again after so many false starts, and even now, she wasn’t entirely sure she’d been pregnant.

She grabbed the sink to steady herself as she reached to flush the toilet. Another cramp hit her, and she bit back a profanity, doubling over as lights danced in front of her eyes. She really didn’t have time for this. Not now. Not when she and John were traveling.
Shirley straightened up, moving slowly, and turned on the faucet. She washed her hands and looked at herself in the mirror. She was always pale, but tonight, her face looked almost translucent, the veins contrasting sharply with her ivory skin, and her eyes looked hollow. Continue reading Disappointment