Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
12:19 am EDT
Wed, July 15, 2020

In the Villages: Been there, done that

Villagers are well prepared to fight the coronavirus.

Story: Joe Angione

The Villages, “Florida’s Friendliest Hometown,” has resolutely turned its back on the coronavirus that has taken thousands of lives across the nation. Residents are fiercely complying with the CDC’s guidelines for mitigating the impact of the virus. And the reasons are obvious: it’s a huge community of mostly older people, many of whom are dealing with other serious health issues. Remaining free of coronavirus symptoms can mean the difference between life and death for them.

Villagers have something special going for them. They’re experienced survivors. Having lived through to their “golden years,” they’ve been challenged repeatedly and have won out over a wide range of challenges: keeping a job and earning a living for decades, raising children, going off to war and suffering through a series of political changes that often made their lives tougher and pushed them around, almost to the breaking point.

In contrast, too many young people have fallen victim to their “macho” lifestyle and their unreasonable belief in their immortality—some of the really dumb ones have gleefully and openly embraced dangerous behavior during the virus pandemic.

Villagers are a different breed. They’ve shown themselves to be battle-hardened achievers who are sensible, smart and eager to accept and follow sound advice. Most have spent time in the armed forces; some were career military. They’re used to rules, regulations and the need to obey them.

In “toeing the line” and avoiding activities that spread the coronavirus infection, Villagers have exhibited a flair for getting together for safe socializing. Weekly neighborhood parties in driveways are still the “rage” but are scaled down to accommodate fewer participants who are safely spread out. Walking socials that ramble through neighborhoods and green areas also have been a smart way for Villagers to interact safely, taking care not to violate the distance rule of 6 feet.

A lot of Villagers are do-it-yourselfers who have used the shelter-in-place order to complete home repairs and improvement projects, or painting, flooring, wallpapering, plumbing and electrical work. Residents with a “green thumb” have busied themselves with gardening and landscaping projects.

Still others, like my wife, who is handy with a sewing machine, have made thousands of cloth face masks and distributed them free to friends, neighbors and family. Villagers always make themselves useful in times of great need. They have been the models on which the entire nation’s response to coronavirus must continue to be based. 

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