From: William Gibbons Jr
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 12:34 AM
To: 'william's email list 2018'
Subject: Happy St. Patrick's Day

Greetings to each of you,

For the first time since starting my picture of the week almost a decade ago, I had to change the text the day after I uploaded the files last Thursday. It will be replaced the day after tomorrow with a new image and text, but as of today this is still what is there:



The St. Patrick's Day Parade and its festival events started out as a neighborhood block party awhile back now. A number of years ago it became a city event, and has grown nicely. The parade and other activities were supposed to be this Saturday. But on Friday I found out, like so many other events locally and nationally, the 17th annual St. Patrick's Day Celebration has been cancelled because of the coronavirus (covid19) pandemic.


“This Saturday” would now refer to last Saturday, March 14th, and Bridge Street was empty. Today on the news we heard that the Governor of Michigan closed restaurants and bars as of 3:00 p.m. to all indoor seating. Only pick-up and drive thru options are now available. Apparently St. Patrick’s Day is to bars and pubs, as Christmas is to retailers in general. One owner lamented the potential consequences in a news segment. So, why would I be wishing you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day? What is there to be happy about? Well, for one thing, we can be happy we live in the 21st century, and not in the days of the man we refer to as St. Patrick. Last year my email contained a great deal of information about St. Patrick. If you would like to know when he was around, and more about him, here is the direct link:

In Patrick’s day, a virus like this might be wiping out whole communities, since people had no clue what a “virus” was, or how it spread. 


“In Antiquity, in his account of the plague of Athens, the Greek historian Thucydides (c. 460 – c. 400 BC) was the first person to write that diseases could spread from an infected person to others . . . . Basic forms of germ theory were proposed in the late Middle Ages by physicians . . . . The more formal experiments on the relationship between germ and disease were conducted by Louis Pasteur between the year 1860 and 1864 . . . . Viruses were discovered in the 1890s.” 

Even though the idea that a disease could be passed from one person to another had been bantered around for thousands of years, it has only been a hundred and fifty years since germs were being recognized as causers of disease. And, less than one hundred and fifty years since we knew anything about viruses. Even as a person who focuses on natural alternatives, I am happy to have a medical science available this St. Patrick’s Day with the knowledge of what is going on, and to have people around with the God given gifts to understand, and the abilities to come up with ways to combat such a disease. A little research on the Internet revealed this is not the first virus in this category (coronavirus) we have had to deal with.   


Isaiah 41:10 New International Version (NIV)

10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


I can also be happy for the faithful men and women throughout history, some of whom we now refer to as saints, who lived their daily lives facing all sorts of dangers and challenges with the strength of their beliefs. When so much seems to be failing, it is good to be reminded that God is sovereign over all things created, both seen and unseen, including viruses. 


A neighbor child (with her mother along behind her) came to our door earlier this evening with a hand drawn, and cut out, shamrock she handed me. She was asking neighbors to display them in their windows for St. Patrick’s Day. I am not entirely sure, but apparently this involves some sort of St. Patrick’s Day activity for the neighborhood children. I was happy to participate. There are already many uplifting stories of how people find ways to come together in this unusual challenge of needing to stay apart. Many more will follow in the days ahead. NBC played a one minute video montage narrated by Harry Smith at the end of the Saturday evening news. I liked it. It took a while to find it, but here is a [copy & paste] direct link if you missed it. 

Coming Together by Harry Smith


And finally, on this St. Patrick’s Day, I would like to include a prayer shared by Pastor Chuck at Immanuel Lutheran Church here in Grand Ledge. He said he ran across it on Facebook. I am not on Facebook, so he graciously offered to email it to me. 



Happy St. Patrick’s Day


God's peace,


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