Keep calm and carry out

By ERIN O'BRIEN
Posted 3/26/20

One of my favorite movies is the 1943 Best Picture, "e;Mrs. Miniver."e; The story takes place in England during World War II where life goes on with smart new hats and afternoon teas, celebratory dances and garden flower contests, despite air raids and bomb

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Keep calm and carry out

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One of my favorite movies is the 1943 Best Picture, “Mrs. Miniver.”

The story takes place in England during World War II where life goes on with smart new hats and afternoon teas, celebratory dances and garden flower contests, despite air raids and bomb shelters. Greer Garson exudes grace and dignity as she and her family navigate loss both personally and in the community. Her on-screen husband, Walter Pidgeon, takes off at night in his small boat, returning in the morning, he and his boat both worse for wear, after taking part in the Dunkirk operation. Their son (played by Garson’s real-life future husband) joins the RAF as a pilot. A wealthy, stingy woman offers a well-deserved compliment to a working man due to Mrs. Miniver’s quiet urging.

What small things could I do to allow the threat of Coronavirus bring out the best in me, rather than the worst, in my daily encounters?

My niece was born in China and lives in a diverse suburb in California. I read with despair the heartbreaking stories of misplaced blame upon Asian Americans for the Coronavirus. Chinese restaurants were among the first businesses to suffer.

Our refrigerator had been looking emptier. “Let’s order Chinese tonight,” I decided.

When I noticed an unfamiliar car park in front of our house I hurried to the porch. A man laden with two heavy looking bags walked up the steps and placed them on the bench. We greeted each other, while my husband took cash out of his wallet, adding a generous tip. “Shey-shey,” I waved from the doorway. The delivery man looked up and smiled, recognizing my attempt to thank him in Chinese.

“Xie xie,” he replied. Then he turned to my husband, bowing low. Humbled, my tall husband almost folded in half to return the bow. The man bowed even lower.

My heart was full as I watched the man walk to his car and drive away.

Perhaps the global experience of this pandemic will light a fire in each of us to try to be the best versions of ourselves. We may slow down to offer each other more personal space, and only take our fair portion. Some of our neighbors suggested we place Christmas candles in our windows as a sign of hope.

There will be even more positive, lasting effects of these anxious times, and we may be made better by them, when we come out of our seclusion and can embrace from less than 6 feet away.

New Island Restaurant, serving Asian cuisine, is located in Apponaug at 3301 Post Road, Warwick, RI 02886. It is closed on Tuesdays.

The author recommends the Moo Shu Vegetable.

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