Orofino,Idaho-Window on the Clearwater
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Why I Wear a Mask: Part 2

by Jake Foster, PA, Clearwater Hospital and Clinics

I was lucky that my first week in town three years ago just happened to be during Lumberjack Days.

I made my way to the middle of Orofino-taking in the beautiful sights and sensations of fall-with one goal in mind: to sink my teeth into a delicious steak sandwich at the fair. I was told by several folks that I just had to go and pick up one of those sandwiches. The first bite left great gobs of gooey goodness in my beard, and I was in no rush to wipe my lip clean as I savored the local flavor. The sandwich obviously did not disappoint.

I made myself at home in Orofino, and started playing pick-up basketball with a group of great guys and gals every Tuesday night, deep into our Northern Idaho dark winters. It was a great way to keep the blood flowing and remind myself on a weekly basis that I am not as young as I used to be.

I've been able to rub shoulders with some great people at great gatherings, whether it is with Rotary, or fun little events like The Taste of the Clearwater, or when buying firewood from a local lumberjack. I've even been able to sneak away once or twice to see some of my favorite bands play a live concert.

All of these things were activities I did pre-2020. I did all of these things without wearing a mask. We now found ourselves winding down what has been one of the strangest and most difficult years in recent memory. It's hard to believe it's been almost a year since I could even play a game of pick-up basketball. I am sure I am not alone in saying that I want those "good ole days" back! I am here to say that I think there is hope visible out there on the horizon. I think those days will come back, hopefully sooner than later.

I sat down to write an article about "things you can do while wearing a mask." The only thing that I could think about was "things I can't do anymore because COVID!" But then I had a realization. Those things I mentioned above and countless other things that are out of our reach at the moment can actually be done, again, one day, if we choose to wear masks NOW. Let's face it, this new virus is here to stay. Sure, most people recover without any problems. A lot of people hardly have symptoms at all. But the fact of the matter is that when we have spikes in cases (like in the last couple of weeks), we are faced with closures of schools and restrictions of our day to day activities. The only way we can continue on in some semblance of normalcy is to do what we can every day to reduce the transmission of this virus. There are several proven ways that we can do this. Can you guess what one of those proven methods is?

From now on, when I wear a mask, I am going to think of it as an investment in my future time spent in a pick-up game of basketball, or that future beard full of cheese and horseradish after biting into a delicious sandwich.

Photo: Jake Foster, PA

Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Phone: (208) 476-0733
Fax: (208) 476-4140