Help is only six feet away

One advantage to growing up in the middle of nowhere was the need to be able to make what we needed out of whatever was on hand.

There was no way to get to town until Saturday, when Mama drove in for groceries and to pay bills. If we went, we’d head for the dime store with our dimes and spend a blissful hour trying to decide what to buy.

But most of the time we’d entertain ourselves with our own home-constructed creations. This has served us all well as adults.

We can make a raincoat out of a shopping bag and a sun visor out of a folded paper plate and a shoestring. We made our own golf course out of soup cans and built our own boat. It leaked, but it floated fine if somebody bailed. We experimented with filling eight Coca-Cola bottles with the levels of water needed to make the notes of an octave when you blew across one. We learned to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Of course, it was a very slow version of the ditty. And then there was the cigar box rubberband banjo.

This background prepared us for solutions to problems that could and did arise.

Today, it occurred to me there might be a way to adapt something in the house for another purpose. After watching another episode of coronavirus updates, it came to me that it might be possible to turn a coffee filter into a face mask. So, I went online and sure enough, there’s a tutorial for just that purpose.

Now this face mask will not protect against exposure to the virus, but it will effectively shield others from your own coughs and sneezes.

If there is a way to include a virus-proof filter to this, it could be incorporated. More research is needed to make this happen.

There are tutorials online demonstrating how to make a face mask out of a furnace filter. I don’t know how effective this would be to protect us all from the virus, but someone probably has that information. It doesn’t look that hard to do.

There are also directions on how to make hand sanitizer from aloe lotion and alcohol. If you can find alcohol.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we’ll take the steps necessary to protect ourselves and others.

According to the grapevine, people are buying up extension cords and light sockets and other material to make livable spaces out of a garage or storage building in case they have to move their parents or grandparents in to be cared for.

Who knows whether that will happen? But these folks believe the old saying, “Fail to prepare and prepare to fail.”

Looking back, if we combine the effects of the Great Depression, World War II and the Spanish American flu of 1918, we could have a fairly accurate idea of what we all have to look forward to.

We have to count on each other to get through this. And we have to keep an eye on friends, relatives and neighbors. Call and check on these people. If help is needed, find out how to safely offer it. American ingenuity and caring will get through this crisis. I believe it’s at work throughout the country. Meanwhile, wash your hands and don’t touch your face.