My wife and I live in a rural, one-stop light , two-bars/restaurants, one-convenience store/gas station community of 356 people in Northwest Ohio. We live on Main St, also known as Route 15, the connecting road between nearby Bryan and Defiance.
Ney has a post office, but no door-to-door delivery. Every resident has a PO box for their mail and packages. Every day or so Polly or I go “uptown” and retrieve our mail — mostly magazines, medical bills, and junk mail. Our medications come via mail, as do the Lionel O-gauge train purchases I make on eBay. Sometimes, a package will come through the post office from Amazon or one of the hat companies I do business with: Hats in the Belfry, Village Hat Shop, and American Hats. The post office is very much a part of the rhythm and flow of our lives.
The Ney Post Office is manned by a middle-aged postmistress, a friendly, talkative woman. Polly talks to her every time she goes into the lobby. Polly considers her a casual friend with whom she shares many things in common. Several days ago, she recounted to Polly the following:
A sign on the front door and on the service counter — which is covered with plexiglass — tells patrons that masks are required for entrance. Everyone who enters the small, suffocating building knows this. The “lobby” is 100 square feet or so, the PO box space, separated by a door, is even smaller. Three people in the lobby at the same time is a big crowd.
A male patron walks in the door. Unless he is blind, and he’s not, the man knows he must wear a mask while in the building. He deliberately chooses not to.
Postmistress: Sir, you are required to wear a mask when you enter
Man: I don’t read signs.
Postmistress: But, that’s what’s on the door.
In an act of toddler-like defiance, the man flips the sign off the counter onto the floor.
Man: I don’t read what doesn’t pertain to me.
And with that, the man turns on his heels and walks out of the building.
Polly has seen the same beautician for years, a winsome, talkative woman in her fifties. She always wears a mask when cutting hair, as does Polly. We try to wear masks when coming in close contact with others (though we no longer do so when our children and grandchildren are visiting). As the woman started cutting Polly’s hair, she asked Polly what vitamins she was taking for COVID. WHAT VITAMINS ARE WE TAKING FOR COVID? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? The woman went on to tell Polly that she was taking Zinc and Vitamin D. That’s right, the woman is not vaccinated. She works up close and personal with the public, and she’s not fucking vaccinated. Polly informed her that both of us were vaccinated and had also received booster shots. This woman will not be cutting Polly’s hair again.
Two of my closest friends — a friendship of 55 years — are presently in the hospital for COVID. Unvaccinated, both have respiratory problems. When admitted, their oxygen levels were in the 70s. The man also has pneumonia. The woman has numerous comorbidities, including diabetes. Her glucose level was almost 800 when she was admitted.
My friends went to ER earlier last week, only to be sent home with oxygen tanks. Why? The Bryan Hospital (Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers) is overrun with COVID patients — literally. There are no beds available, and hospitals in Toledo and Fort Wayne — having their own problems with COVID — are refusing transfers from the hospital. Some COVID patients are stacked up in the ER, waiting hours and hours for rooms to become available. (WTOL-11 news report on Williams County COVID outbreak.)
Last Sunday, Bryan Hospital nurses and their supporters gathered at the Williams County Courthouse to protest the hospital’s vaccination mandate. A hundred or so people showed up for the protest, waving signs sporting messages about FREEDOM and bodily autonomy. Several nurses were interviewed by WTOL News.
To force us to have something that we do not want is not the answer. You’re going to be short-staffed even more in these hospitals. Your communities are going to hurt because they don’t have the appropriate staff to take care of the community.”
When asked how nurses can keep themselves and their patients safe if they aren’t vaccinated, Pettit replied:
I think with diligent hand washing and masking and doing everything that we can to protect our patients, will help our patients and our community get better.
Yes, we will do everything we can EXCEPT be vaccinated. I am of the opinion unvaccinated hospital employees should be fired. However, this would cause a worker shortage for the hospital, so it is unlikely this will happen. Those who need the services of the Bryan Hospital will be left to wonder if the nurses and technicians caring for us are vaccinated, whether we will survive our surgeries only to be killed by a COVID infection we got from employees who only care about their personal freedoms. (Cue Mel Gibson and Braveheart.)
Another nurse, Brooke Gordon, the founder of Northwest Ohio Medical Freedom — which is only on Telegram — ignorantly said:
The word ‘safe’ around it I believe has been used as a shield to further push it, even though the evidence is not showing that it is providing safer environments or lesser transmission.
According to a West Bend News article, the “concerns” of the Northwest Ohio Medical Freedom group are as follows:
• The ads for the COVID-19 vaccine claim it is “safe and effective” but many are seeing the reality in their friends and neighbors that it is neither. VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System) numbers have climbed since the release of the vaccine.
• Local Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor RoseAnna Hollo of Deep Roots Wellness in Defiance, says, “I have seen an increase of adults presenting with severe symptoms following Covid-19 injections. I am concerned about the short and long term effects of this jab. I have been educating those affected on reporting to VAERS. I am of the opinion that this vaccine is not worth the risk in most circumstances and mandates are endangering the health of many.”
• Many healthcare providers, military, airline, and nearly every other industry are standing up to these mandates in the forms of walk outs, resignations, and lawsuits.
• Mandated vaccines are un-American.
• Many have natural immunity, which has been shown to be robust and complete in the medical literature.
To receive updates from the NWO Medical Freedom group, you will need to have the Telegram app on your mobile device. The link is https://t.me/medfreedomnwo
NWOMFG consists of medical choice-loving people of all political leanings, gathering monthly to share how they can combat COVID-19 mandates locally and statewide, exemptions available, alternative treatments, and other helpful resources.
Let this group’s stated “concerns” be a reminder that just because someone is a nurse doesn’t mean that they have a comprehensive understanding of science, medicine, reason, or common sense. And don’t even get me started on “Local Board Certified” Naturopathic Doctor RoseAnna Hollo:
Rose Hollo, a Certified Master Herbalist and Naturopathic Doctor-in-training holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts/Holistic Health from Union Institute & University, an M.BA. in Digital and Social Media, and a Yoga Teacher Level 1 Certification from Aura Wellness Institute and is an Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master. Her previous background is in the animal healthcare and rescue field, and was a certified PetMassage practitioner and Veterinary Technician. She saw how well natural treatments worked for animals and decided to research alternative therapies for herself after experiencing some severe health issues.
I know her personally — a nice, friendly woman — but she peddles all sorts of pseudoscientific nonsense. And now she’s an anti-vaxxer, who just so happens to be a registered Democrat. Board-certified means she took online classes and got a certificate. Hollo is not a doctor, nor is she a nurse. Hollo is a promoter of woo, appealing to the fears of (primarily) local women. And her “advice” is helping fuel the spread of COVID.
Currently, Northwest Ohio has the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the state of Ohio. Williams County, where the Bryan Hospital is located, has the highest county infection rates in the state, and nearby Defiance, Henry, and Fulton counties are not far behind. COVID is everywhere. People are getting sick and dying. Yet, local residents, businesses, and schools pretend the pandemic is a myth or nothing to be worried about. No matter how many people get sick and die, all that matters to an overwhelmingly Trumpist, libertarian, Evangelical populace is personal FREEDOM (people like Rose Hollo are the black swans in the midst of a flock of white swans). Most of these freedom-lovers profess to be Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, yet they show no regard for their neighbors. You know, the people Jesus told them to love.
There was a time when local residents — Democrats and Republicans — understood the social contract we have we each other; that matters of public health and safety rise above partisan divides. Those days are over. Trumpism now has a firm, authoritarian grip on rural Northwest Ohio. Almost 7 out of 10 locals voted for Donald Trump in the last election, ditto 2016. Every state and local government is controlled by Republicans. Ohio, a one-time blue state, has been taken over by red-meat Republicans — lovers of Donald Trump, guns, and the Evangelical God. Current attempts to further gerrymander Ohio, if successful, will likely make 12 of Ohio’s 15 districts solidly Republican. JD Vance (a Catholic who talks like an Evangelical) and Josh Mandel (a Jew who talks like an Evangelical) — both of whom are anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers — are the leading Republican candidates to replace Rob Portman in 2022. Need I say more? Both of these men are running on Trump’s coattails, each trying to out-Trump the other. If elected, neither of them will represent the diverse people of Ohio. They are partisan hacks, religious extremists with theocratic tendencies. It’s hard to believe that there was a time when Ohio was a Democratic-leaning union state, a state that gave us august statesmen such as Howard Metzenbaum and John Glenn (and even Republican George Voinovich, for that matter).
Sadly, there’s no hope on the horizon for rural Northwest Ohio. Extremism rules the roost, and now Trumpists are intent on taking over local school boards and election offices. Quite honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that our six children and thirteen grandchildren live here, we would pack up our belongings and move away. Outside of having a few liberal/progressive friends, we have little, if anything, in common with the people around us. Good people, kind people, but people who have bought into all sorts of political extremism and conspiracy theories. Polly and I have to live here and get along with our neighbors, but since less than half of them are vaccinated, it’s hard not to think that they are out to infect us with COVID and kill us. And if they don’t infect or kill us, they hope to deliver us from our atheistic, communistic, socialist beliefs — by the barrel of a gun, if necessary. Theocratic tendencies and militia sentiments waft through the air, leaving us to wonder what will happen to us if these folks ever gain absolute control.
Maybe it is time for me to buy a gun . . .
Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
Connect with me on social media:
You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.
Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.
Not only do I feel that health care professionals should be fired for not following vaccination protocols; I think they should have their credentials revoked by their licensing body, making them ineligible to practise medicine anywhere else.
Best wishes for your friends in the hospital, Bruce – hope they’re both feeling better soon.
Bruce, I am sorry about your friends and the situation you describe.
I think one reason why some nurses won’t get vaccinated is the same as why some police’officers, firefighters and enlisted military members won’t take the jabs: They work in rigid,’top-down hierarchical structures in which they don’t get to make many choices. So they will assert their “freedom “ wherever and whenever they can—even when doing so is misguided and dangerous.
I agree with Astreja—Any health care professional who won’t get vaccinated should be fired and lose their credentials. I’d say the same for cops, firefighters and military personnel Let them lose their pensions and other benefits
I hear you. We might escape this area at some point. If Bob and I were not vaxxed and boosted, I’d feel more frightened. But I’m resigned to the ridiculous culture here in extreme NW Ohio. Oh, and the postmaster isn’t supposed to talk politics AT ALL, not working for the USPS. I was happy to adhere to this dictate when I ran the Latty PO, as then I didn’t have to argue and I could tell everyone I couldn’t talk about it. Did I maybe listen sympathetically to people I agreed with? And did they have a good idea I did? But not in words.
Anyhow, you are right, people here by and large are okay with authoritarianism, as long as it’s their team. I’m just afraid we’re going to get the government we deserve and not what we need.
Polly considers the postmistress a friend, the type of relationship you build when having years of face-to-face interaction.
I slightly edited the post. 😂😂
Bruce, it’s nice they are friends. Postmaster is the official title, although there are people who also run the smaller offices who are OIC, officer-in-charge but not officially a postmaster getting the postmaster union pay. I was a PMR (postmaster relief) and an OIC (officer-in-charge). No union for contract workers.
It was actually a relief not to have to discuss politics with all the people who were sure Obama was the continuing of the devil in 2012. I’d be happy if politics were banned from ever talking about at work, at any time.
BJW, I am so sorry that you, like Bruce and Polly, have to suffer the slings and arrows of dumbed-down Amurka. It breaks my heart to see people dull their minds and feelings in order to cope with life-as-it-is in 2021. But please be careful about asking for rules that ban this and that! What we are about as people who do not share the common belief around us is the common good, the freedom to be as we are and not be outlawed and vilified for not being ‘in the club’. That goes for all of us.
Be safe, be respectful, wear your mask and wash your hands all the time. I carry wipes with me in the car and put extra masks in my pockets and bags. Hang in there! You guys there in Nowhere Ohio are unduly challenged by the woo! Remember that we are with you and support you from far and wide!
(Bruce, can we see pics of your trains? I used to have a little electric train that we kids got one Christmas, the bunch of us “to SHARE” among ourselves…. that did not work so well for awhile! i remember that train as a highlight of my childhood, the excitement of owning a REAL locomotive, a working track with a controller (?potentiometer) that put me in the engineer’s seat. Those were the days…)
BJW—FDR supposedly said of Somoza, “He’s an SOB, but he’s our SOB. Trump, if he had any sense of history and self-awareness (which is the exact opposite of narcissism) would have referred toPutin, Erdogan, Bolsinaro, Orban and their ilk as “my SOBs.”
Brian- Your advice is on the mark. We have to do what’s right and sensible, if only for ourselves and our sense of responsibility to others. In other words, we have to be grownups when others won’t.
Hi MJ. I was taught that the FDR quotation was actually referring to the famous Crump political machine in Memphis, Tennessee. That machine was Democrat—–but corrupt to the core. FDR might have used the same wording for several different political entities because I have heard various other versions—-like yours—-over the years.
Vaccinations work via percentages. Percentage drop in susceptibility to infection, percentage reduction in likelihood of transmission, percentage reduction in likelihood of serious illness, percentage reduction in likelihood of dying. No guarantees, no one hundred percents.
Actually, I lied. There is one area in which the figure of 100% holds. For those who are unvaccinated and who become seriously ill, then go on to die, there is a 100% certainty that that person cursed their stupidity in not becoming vaccinated.
What I’m seeing and hearing in rural northern NYS is that unboosted elderly are catching and dying from COVID. Unboosted adults are catching it as well, but they’re doing better. As school kids are now getting vaxed I’m hoping numbers go down some.
What was mentioned about police and firefighters being anti-vax because they work in such authoritarian structures makes sense. Before Covid I knew a nurse who I greatly respected. She’d had a long career in the Army reserve and had risen to the rank of Lt Colonel. She was very unhappy when the hospital started requiring us to get the flu shot or wear a mask all season. So she wore a mask. I didn’t completely understand what stuck in her craw, but I respected her position. Now I feel very differently.
I usually get about 12-24 hours misery after the covid shot, I’ll still take that over actually getting covid. I got my flu shot as well…
Anti-maskers on the other hand enrage me. They make in necessary for me to wear n95s in the big town, I hate masks too, but if everyone just sucked it up and wore them I wouldn’t have to wear n95s. With rights come responsibilities.
Wow. I DO know COVID is a real disease, and no hoax, because in September I caught the Delta version. I was trying to figure out the safest one, when due to stress and a crap immune system I inherited, I got it beforehand, masks and handwashing aside ! I wasn’t taking the supplements that work best for viruses either. I only realized I had COVID when I lost my ability to taste. I hotfooted to the local ER. And got tested- positive. They gave me the four- shot Regeneron treatment, which has better results than Rendensivir. So, no hospital for me. I hope Bruce, that anyone you know who’s in the hospital right now, their doctor is giving them NAC and C,since through the IV, as well as the usual treatment s. I bought NAC at Sprouts,a local chain of health stores. I got my Pfizer vaccines done sooner than recommended, took a great risk. But I was facing a critical deadline, so I bit the bullet. You can’t go to most County buildings anymore, without a vaccination card. Since I like how I look and feel taking the supplements, I don’t mind doing it. And in my case, the risk I took in November DID pay off. Before I had the shots, I took Immodium, and a half- dose of Benadryl,fearing s cytokine storm. As well as lots of pomegranate juice. Sure, it helped. All antivirals help. There’s perhaps six other variants out there. Given how things can go South politically, yeah Bruce, maybe it’s time for guns. Crime,the shooting of children now, is through the roof! Ney is a date many would dearly love to have. With Russia and Ukraine seriously facing off now, and America possibly getting between them, it’s not looking good for big city dwellers. I’m glad I live near mountains that I can walk into, if need be. I’d ask your hairdresser neighbor,why not take the pills and vaccines too ? COVID is doing what bioweapons are SUPPOSED to do !💀🇺🇸
Yulya–Yikes! I’m sorry you got the Delta variant. Reading your last sentence gave me the chills: Yesterday, I was thinking about something I read about a dozen years ago. I can’t remember the name of it or who wrote it, but in essence it said that the US would be at war with China in the 2020s and the opening salvo would be a bioweapon. Now, I’m not one of those people who says the virus was created by Chinese scientists, but I have to wonder whether, if it wasn’t made by someone, it might be harnessed for use as a weapon of war or terror. If that’s the case, the question would be: Who would do it, and who would they be trying to destroy or terrorize?
While I don’t buy into idea that COVID is a bioweapon–at least, not yet–I worry that people can be swayed by even less plausible stories–like the one Ronny Jackson is spreading about Omicron being “the midterm election variant.”
The central part of far Eastern California is a bastion of REAL MURRIKINS, served politically at the national and state level by entrenched Republicans. However, local officials can count, and when the pandemic started, they quickly realized that the county’s only hospital, which has 18 beds, was not going to deal well with COVID. So they took the initial severe State restrictions and enforced them to the letter. As things loosened up, and people pushed the rules, the county was quick to come down on miscreants. Despite tourism being the major revenue source for the county, restaurants and bars that allowed unmasked people to gather in tight quarters were shut down. All government and government-advisory groups moved to online-only meetings. People complained, but the actions of the county and town government bodies kept the pandemic under control. The summer of 2020 was a bust, tourism-wise, and very, very hard on locals. But because of the way the pandemic was managed, things got partly back to normal in the first part of the summer of 2021, except that indoor spaces like eateries couldn’t be packed. But most of the tourism is centered on outdoor activities that naturally separate people, like fishing, hiking, and so on.
But, because no good deed goes unpunished, in the middle of the summer, wildfires shut down most of that activity. We can manage COVID here better than we can manage wildfire.
Military quitting because they refuse the vaccine? I don’t think so. My nephew “quit” the Marines years ago over something he didn’t like. He was court martialed.
Funny how the biggest supporters of the military have no idea how it works.
they don’t support the military, most of these cowards never serve being too afraid to have responsibility. They support their delusions.
I’ve wondered about buying a gun too, quite seriously. But with my temper, I will need to disassemble it into its component parts and bury it deep so I just don’t use it in a fit of pique.
I’m sorry, Bruce.
I have multiple relatives in that area who refuse to get vaccinated despite being high risk themselves and/or living with high risk people.
It’s exhausting and infuriating.
I’m glad you and Polly have received all three vaccinations at least.
“Many have natural immunity, which has been shown to be robust and complete in the medical literature. ” No such thing. Any protection derived from catching the virus dissipates. When? We don’t know. How big a dose did you get of which variant? We don’t know. Could you get long haul symptoms? We don’t know. Better to get a measured dose in a vaccination.
How can health-care professionals make decisions about getting vaccines (or anything else having to do with their, or the public’s, health from FOX news, grandstanding politicians and websites of questionable provenance?
Well, I guess it makes sense when you realize that in the wealthiest and most technologically-advanced nation in the history of the world—one whose universities enroll students from countries whose governments pay handsomely for the privilege—people actually believe that Genesis is a blow-by-blow account of how the universe and everything in it came to be.
Come to think of it, you have to say this for Ken Ham and his ilk: Their insistence that the Earth is 6024 years old—and the belief, propagated by some, that dinosaurs were on Noah’s ark or that fossils are part of a Satanic hoax—at least hasn’t sickened or killed any innocent bystanders. Not yet, anyway.