Priorities during a pandemic

My mom can cook.

I don’t mean that she makes excellent meat and potatoes dishes that allowed her to survive being the only woman in a household of six.

The woman can cook anything - and she enjoys the challenge of doing it well.

When I explained to my family that my wife had some dietary restrictions as we were dating, my mother didn’t throw up her hands and say, “Well, there goes the holiday meal I had planned!”

No, instead, she has consistently come up with multiple options every holiday meal that my wife can eat, and she enjoys making sure my wife enjoys a serving (or multiple servings) of the dish that she prepared specifically because she was going to be there.

Me? I look forward to the holidays for one specific treat — Mom’s pecan pie.

There are a host of amazing baked items and prepared desserts at any family gathering on either side of my family, but if my mom is hosting, there will be her pecan pie, and even if she overcooks it or it comes out not quite right, the flavor is something I can’t seem to find anywhere else.

This past week my family made the decision to not have Thanksgiving together as a large group. It was certainly a difficult decision, but already we knew that one of my brothers wasn’t coming home, and with recent battles with the virus in my home and elsewhere in the family, it just made sense to be safe rather than sorry.

One of the common quotes in Mike Carroll’s preview piece on the State “B” volleyball tournament was some form of a quote that Huron volleyball coach Shelly Buddenhagen has stated throughout the 2020 fall season - “We are just happy to be playing with everything going on.”

Last week, I was able to write the story about my alma mater Wolsey-Wessington winning a state football title.

Knowing that at least one game was cancelled on their schedule that very well altered the ability for the Warbirds to host playoff games deeper into their playoff run due to COVID was certainly in the back of my mind.

However, I also know many very talented musicians had their annual All-State Chorus and Orchestra concert moved to April. I was blessed to participate in four of those concerts when I was in high school, and it was a great part of the fall calendar, now bumped into the hustle of spring, which for a musician typically includes regional and state music individual, small group, and large group competitions.

That’s not to mention potential focus on college music scholarship auditions, graduation, and other such things for a graduating senior musician.

Now, while athletics are pushed forward, a concert that affects 1,000 musicians in the state is moved to the spring.

The state debate tournament is already considering a virtual competition in March due to a lack of facilities willing to host.

Speech competitions scheduled for January and February are already being told to submit a video of a school’s one-act play or an individual’s oral interp piece. As someone who enjoys acting on the stage, trying to do so without audience feedback would be significantly difficult.

Oddly, the restrictions on athletics for the winter, as they were this fall, have been put on the schools. A school can say it doesn’t have the players or a safe facility to host a game, but the state is not moving state football or volleyball championships the way that All-State Chorus and Orchestra is being moved or removing the audience the way the State One-Act is having mandated from top-down.

There would likely be riots.

Why is that?

Why do we insist on sports right now, but our arts, the thing that could actually assist in the mental health woes that so many of our youth and adults in the community are facing right now, get rescheduled or forced virtual?

Music and visual arts have been shown over and over to increase serotonin levels, which assists in a host of things, but what it’s most known for is assisting in a positive feeling of well-being. It would seem that MORE music and visual arts right now would be called for, rather than prioritizing athletics over the arts.

I was an athlete and a musician in school, into the college level for both. Both should be receiving equal consideration right now at least, but that they’re not shows something.

That piece of pecan pie would taste awfully good next week, but I’d rather ensure I have many more holidays to come with my family.

In a pandemic, priorities certainly come to light - pie or future?