lydia chaney

Lydia Chaney

Our great Tehachapi Valley has been through quite a bit this year. And yes, it’s not over.

High School and college graduations canceled, student promotions canceled, businesses closing, people losing their jobs, young loves having to postpone their weddings, futures put on hold. It’s tough, to say the least.

Our personal and financial health are at risk in these times. I find this is the time when we need each other most.

Since moving to the Tehachapi area, I’ve grown to love everything about this community. The beauty of the landscape, the four seasons, and of course, the people.

Sure we don’t always agree on the color of the sky, but when our neighbors need us, we’re there. It doesn’t matter if the sky is orange or green, we come together.

I’m missing that right now. There’s a strangeness hovering over that is fear to some, frustration to others. We have our own stories, our own struggles, and our own concerns. We all walk in different shoes.

Kind smiles have turned to scoldings over someone standing too close or not wearing a mask.

Those fortunate enough to stay home are telling others who have to work, what to do and how to do it. It doesn’t work that way. Some have no choice but to work. That doesn’t mean they aren’t concerned for their health or yours; it is something they have to do to survive. Businesses have closed, not knowing if they will come out of this time intact. Maybe they will never reopen. Restaurants are having to spend money to make money in order to keep their staff and clients safe.

It’s sad when a restaurant has a sign asking patrons not to be rude to the servers, they are doing the best they can with limited outdoor seating.

We’ve had protests on our streets. Everyone has the right to protest and free speech. Remember though, Tehachapi is not a big city, we have all walks of life from different generations living here.

Maybe some were surprised to see the subjects of the protest. It’s not a common sight, and if they have lived here long, definitely not.

Some read articles and think they are the authority on subjects. For every article that person reads, there is someone else who reads the opposite and thinks they are the authority.

We need to do our own research and decide in what we believe. What is good for some, may not be good for others. We need to stop policing each other. We have masks police, distance police, the outdoor food police, the list could go on. Complaints about the fireworks were sad. Family and friends were gathered before we were notified, the fireworks didn’t cause case increase. I personally needed that boost of the 4th of July going on as usual, not for the sparkly colors, but to know that LIFE wasn’t being canceled. We need a little normalcy. Facebook friends are becoming ugly to each other over who is right and who is wrong, fingers pointing in all directions; it’s maddening.

We need to change that now before we lose our sense of community.

Let’s think before we speak, bite our tongues every now and then instead of being quick to judge others.

Folks are either scared, frustrated or both and I’m sure we’re all very tired of this, but we need to make that move forward.

I personally do not like wearing masks. When making deliveries for my company, I’m required to wear one. I have no issue with that. When I go shopping, if the store requires a mask, I’ll put it on. To wear a mask for 5 to 10 minutes is doable. If wearing a mask makes my neighbor feel more comfortable, then I’ll wear it. I don’t wear it thinking my rights are being infringed upon; I’m wearing it for my neighbor and proudly display the American flag on my mask.

Everyone is trying their best, but we can do better. Here’s something to try: Stop watching the news for a few days, take a break from social media. We don’t all need to be keyboard warriors! I did it and loved it! You’ll be amazed at how good you’ll feel.

Remember who we were before COVID. When it’s passed, we’ll still be living together on the mountain.

Lydia Chaney is president of the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council.