George Boardman: The coronavirus pandemic has taken a lot from us, including our memories |

George Boardman: The coronavirus pandemic has taken a lot from us, including our memories

George Boardman

Observations from the center stripe: Reader edition

READER LARRY Kaufman points out that people have no problem with “No shirts, no shoes, no service,” but throw a fit when asked to wear a mask … LARRY ALSO wonders why it’s 60 mph on the divided stretch of Highway 49/20 from McCourtney Road to Nevada City, but it’s 65 mph on the undivided stretch of Highway 20 from Grass Valley to Penn Valley … UNMARKED federal agents just grabbing people off the streets? Looks like a banana republic to me … THE COGNITIVE test Trump “aced” is designed to fail people with dementia … TRUMP’S 180 on masks and the surge of coronavirus suggests he’s starting to believe those “fake” polls … BASEBALL AND basketball games don’t seem that important without the fans in the stands …

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a lot of things from us: Our way of life, economic stability, good health, the death of loved ones, and a fair amount of our goodwill toward others.

The pandemic has also stolen our memories, something that occurs to me as we approach the start of what should be the 2020 Nevada County Fair.

People who know me will find that last sentence a strange one because I’m not a big fan of county fairs. I don’t have anything against them — I just don’t particularly enjoy them. Our attendance over the last 20 years has been sporadic, dependent on vacation plans and how badly my wife wanted to go.

But I was actually looking forward to the fair this year because of my five-year-old granddaughter Lotus, who is experiencing the wonders of western Nevada County this summer with her mother.

Lotus has a strong interest in insects and animals, as well as the creatures under the sea. She would have been overjoyed to visit the livestock exhibits and see the farm animals up close and personal. She would lobby hard to visit every day of the fair, and you know what — I wouldn’t object. Watching her fascination with the animals would be worth the time and price of admission.

(To be honest, it would also give me an excuse to introduce Lotus to the wonders of cotton candy and pink popcorn when her mother wasn’t looking. Hee, hee, hee.)

Given her strong interest in creatures of the deep, we were considering excursions to the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. A lot of these attractions are currently open, but subject to change due to circumstances. Then there’s the issue of where you can eat and sleep safely.

I was also looking forward to Lotus’ patriotic Fourth of July. When you live in Lake of the Pines, that includes the golf cart parade, the boat parade, and a well-done fireworks display that offers prime-time seating in our backyard. A lot of this is good-humored silliness that any five year old can enjoy.

Lotus has a good understanding of the 50 stars but is a little shaky on the concept of the 13 original colonies, but I always figure she’s never too early to learn. She knows her stars and stripes, and doesn’t hesitate to wave them enthusiastically.

She likes trains, so a visit to the museum in Sacramento and a trip to Reno would work. Other adventures wait until life resumes, along with the memories to go with them.

Those are things I remembered when our daughter was growing up. While Rosemary did well in school and was active in many things, the funny and unique experiences that only young children create are the things I really remember.

I was looking forward to sharing similar experiences this summer with my granddaughter, in a sense reliving the past. But they only turn five years old once, and there are no reruns in life.


Goya Foods is being boycotted because the company’s president said some nice things about Donald Trump at a White House ceremony designed to create economic opportunities for minorities.

It probably didn’t help that Trump, showing the class for which he is known, proceeded to pimp the company’s Latin products in the Oval Office, along with presidential daughter Ivanka. (Mary Trump claims Ivanka doesn’t do anything, so that’s at least something.) That prompted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others to urge the boycott.

At about the same time, employees of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art demanded that all acknowledgements of Charles Schwab’s contributions to the museum — we’re talking millions here — be removed from displays because he contributes to Trump’s election campaigns.

As far as I know, we have never used Goya products but we have been clients of Charles Schwab for decades. The company has served us well and I’m not about to end the relationship just because the founder backs a candidate I don’t like.

That got me to wondering how sufficiently woke people have to be in our cancel culture to shun various consumer products and services that don’t toe the correct political line. Some quick research shows it would require significant changes in people’s lives.

An outfit named Done Good is urging people to shun consumer companies that contribute to Trump’s campaign efforts. Those miscreants include Marvel Entertainment, the Las Vegas Sands, Shell Oil, Estee Lauder, MolsonCoors, Hobby Lobby, CVS, Planet Fitness and AT&T. There are many others including Wendy’s and Georgia-Pacific, owned by the notorious Koch brothers.

Other outfits are ready to assign their own scarlet letters. Looking for an energy boost? Better forget Red Bull. Take a pass on Taco Bell and In-N-Out burgers if you want a quick meal. Need a lift? Forget about Lyft. Shun Airbnb if you want to bed down for the night, and forget Home Depot for that home improvement project. Leave the New Balance sneakers at home when you go for a run.

Some of this stuff is really stretching it. Home Depot makes the list because one of the co-founders, long retired, supports Trump. Airbnb is singled out because investor Peter Thiel, a Trump supporter, has a big stake in the company.

I can’t speak for anybody else, but I tend to purchase goods and services because they meet my needs and offer what I consider to be a fair value. I don’t consider their political values or who they contribute to. Given the complexity of our economy and how connected companies tend to be, being 100% woke would probably reduce me to living off the grid and fashioning all of my clothes from hemp.

I’m too lazy to go that far, but I do draw the line at WWE. That outfit is about as phony as our current president.

George Boardman lives at Lake of the Pines. His column is published Tuesdays by The Union. Write to him at

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