Ellen Steen

Ellen Steen

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The Cape Meares Community Association (CMCA) board announced the closure of the Barbara Bennett Community Center until the State of Oregon once again gives permission for social gatherings. This means not only end-of-the-month potlucks, but various clubs/groups who usually meet at BBCC (the garden club, the sewing and crafts group, etc.). Check the social media site Nextdoor for breaking neighborhood news.

As of March 26, Bayocean Road has a sign up near Highway 131 saying “Local Traffic Only.” Memaloose boat launch is blocked off with big barrels and a “No Public Access Allowed” sign. A tour in Tillamook shows 5th Street boat launch with “Closed Area Keep Out” and “Boat Ramp and Dock Closed” signs. Tillamook is serious about this: Stay home!

What are some neighbors doing to stay busy at home? I know BJ Byron is reading, as she borrowed my collection of Julia Spencer-Fleming mysteries. The Smiths are cutting and stacking wood for next year. Spike Klobas is baking chocolate-prune accordion bread, repotting plants and still doing volunteer work. Mike Smith and Randy Klobas continue to get in their regular beach runs. The Pelsons are shingling their home (when it’s not too rainy or windy). The Burkes continue to build their get-away cabin up the hill. The Ollikainens are out walking their dog, Silver. The Thompsons have a load of bark chips they are spreading in their yard and their dog, Red, walks them regularly. Others are staining decks, doing yardwork, watching movies, video-chatting with friends, making greeting cards, organizing fishing gear, and generally “catching up” on chores in and around their houses. Let me know what you are up to, neighbors; it might give someone in our community an idea to keep from going stir-crazy!

We are fortunate that outdoor activities are available here and even encouraged. We can walk on the beach or around our quiet town, garden (it is spring!), or hike in the forest—all with the proper six-foot distancing. It’s been interesting to watch rock beds covered and then uncovered as sand shifts in the littoral cell between the south jetty and the cape.

This column is being submitted the week of March 22. Who knows what will have changed in the COVID-19 fight by the time it appears in print April 1? Here in the Steen household, we will likely still be ordering groceries from the pick-up service at Fred Meyer, ordering non-perishable supplies online from Amazon or Costco, and buying gift cards to support local businesses. It’s a different world we live in—and no doubt some things will be permanently changed. There is always innovation and improvement that come out of hard times; just hang in there.

Now the lighter side of sheltering in place. Here are two gems: “We are only three weeks away from seeing everyone’s true hair color” and “We may have to start hunting for our food, but I don’t even know where Doritos live!”

Have patience, friends and neighbors. Please stay home and stay healthy!

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