Amid hardships don’t let a mask make you mad

Column by John Akal
Posted 9/1/20

Since this COVID-19 thing started and all of our lives have been turned upside down, it has been a year of changes for all of us and at times quite a struggle to adapt to all of them. Like most of …

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Amid hardships don’t let a mask make you mad


Since this COVID-19 thing started and all of our lives have been turned upside down, it has been a year of changes for all of us and at times quite a struggle to adapt to all of them. Like most of you I find myself learning new ways of living, shopping, finding entertainment and quite frankly, protecting myself and my family in the process. It’s not an easy thing.

As I write this, I just finished tuning in to a virtual memorial service for one of my oldest friends, Mrs. Virginia Lees, who recently passed away. She was one of the last links to my childhood that was still surviving, and my neighbor across the street since I was about 10 years old. Her kids were my friends, her grandchildren and great grand children became a part of my family and she will certainly be missed by all of us.

I have to say that it was really strange to be tuning into a memorial service happening in a familiar place, our own Golden Cemetery, that is such a short distance away, but not being able to attend the service in person due to the current restrictions. Unfortunately, I have had several friends and acquaintances pass away, some from COVID-19, some from other causes, over the last few months and have not been able to say my goodbyes in person to any of them. A few haven’t had any memorial or celebration of life yet as their families are waiting for some of the current restrictions to be lifted. Hopefully they will be able to soon.

When I think about the hardships so many families are going through, whether it be personal, financial or just getting through the day, I am very thankful that my family has been able to cope with these changing times in ways that are more of an inconvenience than a tragedy. I know so many people that are struggling hard to get through this.

Which brings me to something I have to comment on in this column that’s about what is happening here in our city of Golden and something I saw last week on television that was very disturbing to me.

There was a news story on several networks about a man who tried to enter one of our downtown watering holes without wearing a mask and was told by the bartender that he couldn’t be there without one. He got into an argument with the guy, who basically said he’d wear one when he wanted to and that nobody was going to tell him that he had to wear one. It resulted in the guy shoving the bartender to the floor and him subsequently being charged with a couple of crimes.

Folks, this kind of thing is ridiculous. No one is above the law and the city of Golden does have certain restrictions in place. One of them is that you have to wear a mask in any public place or business. None of us like having to wear one, but most of us recognize that it’s mandated by the city and state. Every single business in town has been issued signs to put in their windows, many of them have gone above and beyond to modify their establishments to keep people safe, and none of us want to get sick just because you somehow feel entitled to ignore the rules the rest of us have to follow. This encounter was a very negative thing and didn’t need to happen. The virus statistics show that things are improving, let’s keep it that way.

On a positive note, it’s Labor Day weekend coming up, which traditionally marks the end of Summer for most of us and although most of the big events have been canceled, our downtown Golden is thriving and has plenty of activity going on, and most of it is due to people being conscious of the situation and taking steps to work with it so places can be open. So, this weekend, plan on taking a day to go downtown. Restaurants are open, so are the bars. There is live music on the streets, the stores are welcoming shoppers and all you need to do to enjoy all of this is put on your mask and stroll around town. There’s really a lot of fun just waiting for you to join in and it’s available to everyone who can just remember that people are doing the best they can and only ask you to do the same. Let’s all have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend and do what we can to support each other here in Golden, OK? Cheers!

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production. He can be reached at


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