By Montana Grant

Posted: December 19, 2020

Everything has a silver lining! The terrible COVID pandemic has made for some positive outcomes. Vaccine technology has made incredible leaps forward. Health care has become more advanced. Citizens have learned more about sanitary needs and habits. These strides should result in advances in the quality of our lives long-term. Although there has been a high cost paid in wellness, sickness, and mortality caused by the pandemic, there has been some good.

Many other benefits have emerged. With home quarantine and remote working, families are finding ways to hang out safely. An example if this is the historic number of visitors to Yellowstone Park this year, as well as other parks and open spaces. RV’s, Boats, and outdoor gear are selling like hotcakes. Just try to buy a new Bike!

Families are more engaged together in their small clusters. Cooking at home and eating meals together is now common practice. Watching movies, solving puzzles, playing games, and interacting as a family is now more appreciated and enjoyed. Having the time for long walks and outside activities has been great exercise for both 2 and 4 legged children. Backyard grilling and family campfires have also been a nice way to connect at home.

We appreciate the smart and creative ways that businesses have been forced to operate. Online shopping has been a blessing, and we all thank goodness for Amazon! Many retailers and restaurants offer curbside delivery, which is a wonderful and safe convenience. Just call or go online, and your order will be waiting for you at a safe and distant pickup site. Heck, they will even put it in your truck! It is important to support local businesses to help keep them afloat during these challenging times.

Parades have had to change. In many places, organizers have had to close venues, cancel the parade, or delay the event. Crowded audiences could become “super spreader” zones so that is not an option right now. Here in Montana, we have done our best to continue some traditions safety. Butte changed up their loved and annual seasonal parades. Now the displays and floats are parked along the roadway while the spectators do a slow drive by, in the safe privacy of their trucks and cars!

In Belgrade, we just had the Christmas Convoy! Since the community Christmas Stroll along Belgrade’s Main Street was destined to be cancelled this year, the organizers modified and adapted. The community, along with many local businesses, decorated their massive tractors, trucks, flatbeds, cement trucks, and rigs, with flashing LED lights and Christmas inflatables. Over 60 participants were decked out in their holiday best as they honked horns, whistles, and paraded safely through the streets, as residents cheered from the sidewalks at a distance.

Hunters and Fishermen have been out in force as they safely social distance. Many of them are accompanied by family, kids, and friends that are usually “too busy” to enjoy such activities. “Bringing home the bacon” has gone back to our Pioneer roots.

Free Christmas trees await family tree cutters in our National Forests. We have all seen more holiday lights decorating homes and buildings this year, as people have more time at home, and feel the need to bring some joy to themselves and their neighbors.

We will all get through this together. When we eventually return to “normal”, my hope is that some of these new traditions will remain. What is most amazing is how we always find way to be creative, adapt, and overcome.

Stay safe!

Montana Grant

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