Greenock Telegraph 12th March 2021

An old friend of mine passed away during the week. That’s a phrase many of us will have used during the pandemic. But it doesn’t carry any less weight. The loss of a friend makes me look back to the times we had together, simpler times. My days as a kid kicking a ball about the Battery or as a young man playing rugby at the Wanderers. It’s easy to misrepresent these times through a fog of nostalgia but the truth is that pre-Covid times actually were simpler. We have all had a burden placed upon us by a virus. A virus that dictates that we can’t see our loved ones, that our work and our social life is disrupted. A virus that heightens our own feelings of mortality. But good can come of this. We can nurture a better understanding of what really matters. We can appreciate our friends while we have them. And in the meantime, in order to work our way through the pandemic, the requirement to adjust falls upon us all and the more responsible of us have taken that on board.

Unfortunately, some it seems will never learn. For them it is always someone else’s problem. There is a song, there is always a song, called Respect Yourself by The Staple Singers which contains the lyrics ’if you disrespect anybody that you run into, how in the world do you think anybody is supposed to respect you’. It’s not Shakespeare but it speaks to me. Respect yourself and your community and we may just emerge from this pandemic a better, more appreciative, more tolerant society.