Finley

This will no doubt shock you, but I wasn’t completely truthful in my column Sunday about taking a Tour around Baytown. I apologize.

Now before you totally misunderstand, we – Wife Margie and myself personally – DID take the Tour. We took it exactly like I reported.

I did fudge somewhat when talking about the busy, non-stop life we live. In actuality, we may be the most boring couple in Baytown. We barely get out of the house, even during healthy times, which we’re praying will return soon.

So we already “self-quarantine.”

I bring this up because of what the world is going through as leaders, doctors, and scientists work to kick coronavirus squarely in its arrogant butt.

You’ll agree, I’m certain, that life has dramatically changed like never before.

Naturally, there have been a number of excruciating adjustments in the way humanoids conduct themselves. I’ll look at a couple.

One that is extremely sorrowful is what’s happening regarding funeral services if someone passes during the pandemic. We used to take final rites for granted. Not presently.

In death notice after death notice, families are being forced to have “services at a later date,” say the obituaries. Many obits go on to say “private burial rites will be held for family only.”

Some families have chosen a private interment as the ONLY service.

Wife Margie and I experienced the current funeral dilemma the other day after dear friend Bill Bowes passed. Bill was the husband of Barbara, my teammate/coworker in our days with Congressman Jack Fields. We feel an empty void that we can’t honor Bill properly.

SAD!

Who could’ve imagined such a thing?

But that’s today’s reality.

Another thing is, families are being kept away from hospitals, even when a family member is being treated. Hard to believe.

This is happening to good friend Carl Theiss, who underwent major surgery recently.

His sweet wife Mandy was allowed to stay while a long operation was performed, but was sent home at completion. That leaves Carl alone, but it also leaves Mandy and the Theiss’ kiddos, Derek, Tori, and Nick, alone and communicating by phone.

Carl has received overwhelming support from friends and family, albeit at a distance. That’s good.

I particularly liked a text about Carl sent by Baytown Christian Academy Athletic Director Kevin Jones.

In part, Kevin described Carl as “a local icon in the sporting community with countless achievements.” True.

But Kevin could’ve said “with countless achievements, thanks to Jim Finley.” No problem. My feelings aren’t hurt. Much.

So Carl’s been alone a lot, but not in spirit and love.

Many other families are going through the same thing. Bless them.

Even from the Finleys’ standpoint, as boring as we are, life isn’t the same in many ways.

Not that it matters, but most mornings I have to look at the calendar to see what day it is. Sound familiar?

Before all this happened, life was pretty routine. Slow but routine.

Like, I enjoy the fun-filled Gathering Of Old Toots (GOOTs) meetings every Tuesday. GOOTs, of course, is the luncheonette made up of some of Baytown’s most famous and beloved citizens (excluding me). It’s now postponed temporarily.

Too, we attend mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church every Saturday, where I “star” as one of the state’s best ushers. But that’s on hold.

Meanwhile, Wife Margie went out with her church friends, and I attended The Sun Reader Advisory Board meeting. Not now.

Now about all we do – since a large percentage of our family moved to Magnolia, or whatever it’s called – is order take-out, go to the drug store, and grocery shop (quickly).

Borrring!

To get a feel for what’s happening outside, recently about mid-afternoon we drove down the Garth Road International Speedway to see what was going on. Not a lot. The much-reduced traffic on easily the city’s most heavily traveled roadway was almost spooky.  

But soon, hopefully, life will return to normal, and we can enjoy family and friends again.

And I can complain about Garth Road.

Jim Finley is a retired managing editor of The Sun. He can be reached at viewpoints@baytownsun.com, Attention: Jim Finley.

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