Rev. Jim Watkins and Roxie

“Jim, our column has taken on some tough topics, but we’ve managed to introduce humor into our conversations. But this conversation is no laughing matter. The coronavirus threat is real, sad and scary.”

“That it is Roxie. In my opinion, the emergence of this virus is a wake up call. All sorts of organizations have issued lists about how to avoid becoming infected. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your eyes, mouth, or nose. Avoid crowds. Stock up on food in case you have to say inside for a length of time. And on it goes. Those lists are fine, but, in my opinion we are missing the bigger picture.”

“And what is the bigger picture?”

“Remember, during one of our happy hour conversations, I shared about my tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?”

“I remember. If you are going to tell it again, please keep it short and get to the point. You once told me the way to preach a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending and put them as close together as possible. Hopefully, you are not getting ready to preach a sermon, but that rule applies to all our conversations.”

“Point well taken Roxie. The beginning. The CDC is located in the Atlanta area near Emory University. Many of those who worked at the CDC were constituents of the U.S. Representative I worked for. To familiarize ourselves with what they did, the Representative and I took a tour. I will never forget standing on a walkway looking down, through special glass, at people working in the “Hot Room”, They wore “space suits”. Our guide shared that the researchers below were working on finding ways to combat particular viruses. The guide pointed out where they were working with Ebola, Bubonic Plague, Smallpox, etc. I came away convinced that it was important to move beyond reacting to biological threats. We had to be proactive.”

“That is a good beginning. Let me guess. The good ending is that it is important to, in the words of that great human, Barney Fife (he was a canine lover), we’ve got to ‘nip it in the bud.’”

“You’ve got it Roxie. Unfortunately, there are humans who seem to be short sighted. Funding has been cut for the CDC, particularly in the area of fighting global pandemics. International cooperation on a number of fronts has taken a back seat. National boundaries don’ t keep out viruses. This threat is another case study in how all of us on the planet are connected with one another.”

“You did it Jim, a good beginning and a good ending. Now lets have our chocolate stout.”

“Amen Roxie. Oh, before we do that it might help if you took your mask off. (Laughter is still he grace of God.)”

The Rev Dr. Jim Watkins and Roxie