Heavens, it has been a year so far. But that’s not what we’re about at this moment.

We’re here to enjoy Border Days, and we’re glad you’re here.

There’s some empty chairs this time around, and more than a few of these are due to concerns for COVID-19 and taking precautions, whether for themselves or for others. Sorry not to see them here, but for those absent friends, we’ll be remembering for next year to save them a space at the rodeo and a place in line for a Lions burger.

For the rest of us here, it’s keeping safety in mind as we socialize and enjoy the July 4th holiday.

We’ve been in this for a while now, long enough to know the drill on social distancing, handwashing and masks to protect ourselves, the vulnerable population we come into contact with, and the capacity of our health care system.

We’re still in the midst of this coronavirus concern, with new cases popping up in the state and an as-yet uncertain future of where we’re at in the curve. Let’s not let the duration of this, nor our frustrations due to the situation, cause us to become complacent in preventative measures to avoid its spread.

Some events have canceled this year, due to COVID concerns, and others, such as White Bird Rodeo and Border Days, have moved forward with festivities -- modified to meet public safety demands. All of these have had the individual freedom to make these decisions based on their unique situations and the sentiments of their own communities. That’s a good thing. In these has been a measure of event planners setting up precautionary measures, and also of personal responsibility for the public to decide whether or not to patronize these activities in light of the present situation.

Ours is not to downplay the risk – as that’s a concern, no question – but that life needs to go on, that celebrations and holidays are important to recognize in community, and that we can return to at least near normalcy with some changes in routine to mitigate that risk.

We invite neighbors and visitors alike to de-stress in this little prairie town: take your ease on a Main Street bench, elbow bump an old classmate, wave to a rodeo queen, and just celebrate the blessings of our freedoms and our opportunities.

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