Sam Burnham, Curator
There’s a lot of arguing and rudeness going on right now regarding vaccination for COVID-19. People’s emotions and political leanings are leading to some really nasty back-and-forth that just isn’t helpful at all. I think it would be wise to take a step back and add a little bit of Southern decency to the conversation.
My personal feelings on the issue are a bit mixed. I don’t trust Washington about much of anything, regardless of who is living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. So a vaccine developed under Donald Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” and pushed by the Biden Administration isn’t impressing me at first glance.
So here’s what I did. Every time I found someone who had gotten the vaccine I asked them about it. Which one did you get? What side effects did you have? Why did you decide to get it? Where did you get it? How much of a hassle was it? I made a study of my own. I didn’t ask Facebook or Twitter, I asked people face to face. After talking to about two or three dozen people and considering all the information I gathered, I went online and scheduled an appointment for a first dose of Pfizer at a local pharmacy.
I went in about 11am on a Sunday and a few people were already in line. There was a little confusion because there was a substitute pharmacist on duty but one of the techs helped him get his bearings on that location’s system and the rest of the process went smoothly. The needle was not very big and was barely noticeable. I was out the door with my card in a matter of minutes. My only side effect was drowsiness. By about 4:30 that afternoon I felt ready for bed. I toughed it out a few more hours to keep from waking up at 2 A.M. and then slept quite soundly.
I had an automatic appointment for shot #2 and found myself in the neighborhood 3 hours early and thought I would try to get ahead of schedule. I found the same helpful employee from the first jab and, with no one currently in line, she worked me right in. The second shot was a little more uncomfortable. The medication seemed “thicker” if that makes sense. My only side effect was a soreness that felt like I had a golf ball buried in my shoulder muscle. This lasted about 36 hours or so.
I decided to take the shots because I work in a place where I come in contact with A LOT of people. I also have aging family members. I also wanted to stop wearing a stupid mask everywhere I went.
I’m sharing my story here because I see the case numbers rising among the places and people I hold dear - The South and rural America. If my story helps one person feel more comfortable about the vaccine and that saves them from serious illness or death, it will have been worth it to write this article.
I think there’s too much nastiness, too much preaching, too much vulgarity, and too much arrogance being hurled at people who are vaccine hesitant or skeptical. So I just wanted to share my personal story, my experience. I got vaccinated despite my own reservations. I had my doubts but I tried it anyway. Now I don’t worry about this dastardly virus or the jerks that scream and holler about it all day. I’m going on with my life.
I invite you to do what I did. Find vaccinated people you encounter. Ask them the questions I asked. Don’t take dangerous livestock medications. You aren’t a cow. Ask other humans you trust about their experiences and make an educated decision for yourself.
I’m sick and tired of this virus and I try not to use the language it puts in my head, especially not here. So I ask you to get vaccinated and go to ball games, concerts, restaurants. I ask you to go on with your life.
Sam Burnham, Curator
The Marietta Daily Journal has reported that the “Field of Dreams” game between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox had the highest TV viewership of any other regular game since 2005.
The two teams wore their old traditional uniforms and entered the field through the cornfield led in dramatic fashion by Kevin Costner channeling his old Ray Kinsella character.
They built it. They put a baseball stadium in a cornfield in rural Iowa and, just like Terrance Mann said, people did definitely come. People watched it on TV. People have been tweeting, talking, and writing about it for days. This country is giddy with it.
The is certainly fueled by the movie. But people are hungry for this stuff. There is so much rotten going on in the world right now. People want something beautiful, something sentimental, something nostalgic. Play baseball in the corn and they flock to it. This world can be better than we’re making it right now.
This is bigger than the game. It’s bigger than the movie. To borrow another quote from the film, “ There comes a time when all the cosmic tumblers have clicked into place - and the universe opens itself up for a few seconds to show you what's possible.” That’s what this moment was...even if it was just for a moment.
So, having seen this phenomenon...what is possible? What else should be held on a farm or in a small town? What else would inspire people if it were brought out of the smog covered city and displayed alongside organic beauty?
Sam Burnham, Curator
I’ll never forget the time I met Bobby Bowden. He and his son Terry were doing a book signing at a bookstore in Birmingham. Bobby was the head coach at Florida State. Terry was the head coach at Auburn. I dropped all shame and asked him for a job on his support staff. He looked at me and asked me if I was still in college. I told him I was and he “I want you to call me when you graduate.”
But this isn’t the story of things I wish I had done.
I got a lump in my throat last month when the Bowden family announced that the coach had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. I was further saddened this morning to awake to the announcement that Coach Bowden had passed.
All through middle and high school I followed the Seminoles. I was rabid with it. I thought myself a Florida State fan but finally came to realize I was, in fact, a Bobby Bowden fan. And when he left the office for the last time, my loyalty followed him out the door.
I was enthralled by his game planning, the players he recruited, the plays he designed and called. His system built a championship caliber program out of a minor league team. I was impressed by the way he motivated his players without giving himself an aneurysm losing his temper. He maintained control of his emotions, put his plan to work, made adjustments as necessary and became the second winningest coach in Division I history.
Florida State tweeted this morning “Today we lost a legend but you never lose a legacy.” That could not be more true. He has left a multigenerational coaching tree that will shape the sport for years to come. He shaped the lives of players and staff members who will impact lives off the field. His legacy lives on and the world is richer for it.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire