Spend the gift of extra time wisely


To the Editor:

We wished for more time to take care of that extra house cleaning we had been putting off... now, we can.

We wished for more time to clear out the junk room, storage building, etc. and organize our belongings... now, we can.

We wished for more time to do some much needed yard work we had been putting off for so long... now, we can.

We wished for more time to try out those new recipes we had been holding on to... now, we can.

We wished for more time to sit outside on our porches and just relax... now, we can.

We wished for more time to sleep late and not have to worry about the alarm... now, we can.

We wished for more time to phone friends and relatives we had been missing and just have a good long catch-up... now, we can.

We wished for more time with our kids – playing with them and enjoying them before they grow up and leave home for good... now, we can.

We wished for more time to tell our families how much we love them and how much they mean to us... now, we can.

We wished for more time to read and study our Bibles and pray... now, we can!

Arlene Maney,



We are not helpless against this plague


To the Editor:

It’s here. COVID-19 has come and is circulating in Sylva and Jackson County. It was inevitable. COVID-19 spreads by stealth. Many become infected and then infect family, friends and strangers, while having no symptoms and no reason to think they are contagious. Most will survive but might transmit the disease to some who will not.

We are not helpless. Frequent handwashing and not touching one’s face can protect the individual to some degree. Social distancing of at least 6 feet reduces transmission. Staying home and out of groups is powerful protection. Regrettably we are somewhat late as a nation recognizing the value of universal facial covering when in public.

Google “sneeze photo” to see the plume of infectious droplets broadcast by a sneeze. These droplets can remain in the air for hours, the smallest of them, called aerosols for days, transmitting infection. To a lesser degree, the same droplets are spread by coughing, throat clearing and speaking. A significant portion of this contagion can be controlled by a simple face covering such as a bandana. Coverings of multiple fabric layers should be even more effective.

How many cases will be prevented if we prune the invisible tree of COVID spread by adding universal facial covering when in public? 

To be sure, facial covering or “droplet arrest masking” cannot replace handwashing, social distancing and staying home. But droplet arrest masking can be a powerful added layer of protection. Because many of us will be infected and contagious without knowing it, we can most effectively reduce the spread of COVID if we all act as if we are contagious.

We are an inherently courteous society. COVID-19 suggests new courtesies. Before this illness, it would have seemed rude to detour away from others at the grocery store or other essential locations. Such distancing now says “I respect you and strive to protect you from infection.” The same can be said of facial covering.

Until we have an effective vaccine, widely administered, these measures are our protection for those we love, especially the elderly and infirm.

COVID-19 is late coming to Western North Carolina, but it is here and will take its toll. We have the advantage of lessons learned in other parts of the country and the world. If we unite and adopt these new courtesies, we can reduce the suffering among us and those we love.

We had a pretty good thing going before the COVID-19. We all want that back. We can do things to get it back.

Handwashing, social distancing, staying home as much as possible and facial covering will lessen this catastrophe if we all do our part. Much of the country and the world has been two steps behind this disease. We do not have to repeat those mistakes here and now.

Dr. Randy Provost, 



A time to honor oneself and one’s Earth


To the Editor:

April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and this year more than ever, people all over the world have been at home creating new routines to live with.

The Blue Ridge Holistic Nurses Chapter of the American Holistic Nurses Association encourages you to take this as a wonderful opportunity to try something new: put creative talents to use, embrace that craving to play in the dirt; do some gardening using composted materials; try walking, this only requires a good meal to fuel instead of using transportation; or you can get caught up on much needed rest.

Social media’s availability and usage is at an all-time high, which allows for worldwide connectivity. So why not use it to connect with loved ones, friends and neighbors to spread the words and message “reduce, reuse and recycle?” Go a step farther though, do not just say it, practice it.

How are you honoring the Earth and yourself?

Linda Thomas,