From the Publisher’s Desk: Pandemic spreads like wildfire


By Bruce Schlabaugh

It was an unusually hot day – June 23, 2012. My wife and I were taking a stroll through Manitou Springs. It was my birthday, and Manitou offered us all variety of shops and cafes.

As we walked down the street I noticed a thin gray sliver of smoke rising to the west near Waldo Canyon. I thought to myself, “This cannot be a good thing.” And, boy, was I right!

We remember later that day seeing firetrucks head up Ute Pass. Those firemen had to hike the trail in full gear and it was red hot that day. In addition the grass in the forest was bone dry, perfect tinder for the flames to do their worst.

We live on the west side near Mountain Shadows, close to national forest land. For days, we were glued to the TV searching for details. We were ordered to evacuate once then were told it was safe to move back.

Wrong! The next evacuation order forced us to flee again – with even less time to gather our belongings. Driving out at a snail’s pace, we were scared even more by the grey smoky air and white ash falling from the sky. We moved into a friend’s home far to the southeast, near the airport.

The fire came within 1,000 feet of our home but destroyed beautiful homes along Flying W Ranch Road. Thankfully we were safe and despite it all, our home was left standing. Every day while following local news, we heard the fire was 10 percent contained, then 20 percent and finally in July it was 100 percent contained.

Now we find ourselves wearing masks and staying close to home out of respect for (and fear of) the COVID-19 virus. Similar to the Waldo Canyon fire, it seems to be moving right along and out of control. No one really knows how much or what percent of this outbreak is contained. Fifty governors have 50 different plans to slow its spread or to allow re-openings. Experts are at a complete loss to find a way to control this pandemic.

We have no idea how long it will take to put this “fire” out. We have seen some friends lose their lives to the virus. We know the senior health care properties are at risk and doing everything they can to protect their patients.

Tragically, there are leaders or decision makers at all levels who have not done their part to help the senior population. Whether bending to political expediency or trying to revive our economy or maybe out of pure ignorance, many have turned their back on protecting us from a deadly disease.

I am certain that all of us are in a hurry to get back to normal. The virus has a different plan. The more we congregate, share air space with those carrying the disease, or refuse to wear masks, the faster it will spread. Infections are on the rise. Rest assured that the staff of Life After 50 is wearing their masks in public and staying home as much as they can. Won’t you join us?


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