Paris Goodnight: Memories of April days gone by

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 16, 2023

Some things seem like they just happened yesterday, but others seem so far away. Maybe it’s because we tend to put the bad stuff as far out of mind as we can.

Take that dreaded “C” word: COVID,  for example. When was the last time it showed up in print? And yet it was such a constant drain on us all while the worst of it was going on. It’s good to imagine that it’s far in the rearview mirror now, and let’s hope it doesn’t rear its ugly head again.

No one talks about it much any more, so that’s good, even though it wasn’t so long ago that it should be so easily tossed out of our consciousness.

I looked back over some notes recently just to see what was going on around this time a few years ago, and on April Fool’s Day of 2020 I had penciled in something like, “It’s no joke, the coronavirus has the whole world upside down.”

It was true. Things did really get wacky for a while there. That also wasn’t long after I had returned to the Post after a brief interlude away, so wackiness reigns all around.

Then I looked back at 2021 and the first of April was when we had the funeral service for my father, who had died earlier in the year but partly because of hurdles with the pandemic, we didn’t have a final gathering right away. By waiting a while, the weather was much nicer for the small family get together at the VA’s Salisbury National Cemetery Annex. Even though it was a sad occasion, my brother who went to seminary but never became a full-time pastor provided the words of comfort we were all looking for as if he’d been doing such services all along. He provided as good of remarks as you’d ever want to hear, and I certainly couldn’t have done it for such a close relative but he had no troubles at all keeping his composure or saying what we really needed to hear.

It was only the first of April last year when the Tar Heels were playing for a national basketball title, only to fall short to the dreaded Kansas Jayhawks. Then look at how the wheels fell off this year. It’s hard to imagine how hard they stumbled while playing with most of the same crew back for more and being ranked No. 1 at the beginning of the season.

It was also just last year that I had penciled in this question: “Why do I keep these notes?” No one else is probably keeping up with what goes on in such a way when Facebook reminds you automatically of what you were doing and you can easily go online to see what happened at some point in the past. Maybe it’s the old school in me, but I stick with pen and paper, just like the work we do on those full printed editions of the Salisbury Post.

One hitch in that old fashioned variety is it’s not as easy to search for something you’re looking for unless you know the date it happened. That has often been the hurdle here when people ask about a story from years ago. If it’s something before the era of the internet, without a date or a name to look up, it’s often like that needle in the haystack.

That’s why I try not to lament about other things in the computerized era because searches have become so much easier. It’s very rare that we stumble when trying to find something that has been in an earlier edition of the Post. We hit one such glitch recently when trying to find a letter to the editor that seemed eerily familiar to one that showed up again. We never did find the first version we were looking for, so maybe it was just our imaginations running away with us.

And like the ease of finding things, it also takes less time to get to places that once seemed so far away. Better roads and faster ways of traveling continue to shrink that line between Point A and Point B. It’s nothing to get to the other side of the country nowadays for business or pleasure, but think of the hazards that would have been in play for such a trip a while ago.

So now if you’re humming a song about someone being so far away, just remember  no one stays in one place any more. But we can get there easier now than ever.  Plus, with cell phones at our fingertips and technology like FaceTime, the communication boundaries seem a thing of the past too.

I still try not to get too far ahead of myself, so I can still take a look back occasionally just to see what was going on  during those days gone by and wonder what the next April will bring besides showers and May flowers.

Paris Goodnight is editor of the Post.