Wacky Wednesday

Mandy Mahoney

Where are we? What is going on? Why is there a piece of bacon hitting a baseball?

Today my son’s kindergarten class is hosting a virtual Wacky Wednesday. He decided to wear his Macon Bacon t-shirt because a piece of bacon playing baseball is pretty wacky. The Macon Bacon is part of the Coastal Plain League, an amateur baseball league comprised of college baseball players from schools like Georgia College and Eastern Kentucky. Last August, in the slow heat of the Georgia Piedmont, our family went to a match-up between the Macon Bacon and the Savannah Bananas. There was no breeze blowing through historic Luther Williams Field. The ball field was built in 1929, and has seemingly stood still in time for the last 90 years.

The game was a highlight of our summer. On a Friday afternoon, we drove down to my hometown and met my mom. We dined on Macon’s famous Nu-Way Wieners. At the ball field, my son excitedly sought out Kevin, the team’s half person, half bacon mascot, to take a picture with him. The baseball wasn’t very good, and I don’t remember who won, but that wasn’t the point.

That time seems so far away on this Wacky Wednesday. Now every day feels like we’re living Wacky Wednesday. Last week, Anne and I heard from one of our partners, “If you would have told me a month ago that I would be talking about where to get toilet paper on a work call I would have thought you were crazy.”  We are all pretty shocked that our lives have shifted so dramatically, from supply scarcity, to virtual everything, distance learning, grocery delivery, job losses, and grief.

It all feels pretty wacky.

What I loved so much about the Macon Bacon game was being in community with people I loved and people I didn’t even know, the connection to my hometown, and introducing my son to a part of my history. We all still want those things today. Our brains are struggling to make sense of the rapid changes happening all around us. We struggle through the bewilderment of how to maintain and find that authentic, deep connection to family, friends, and colleagues during the pandemic.

The team at SEEA and I have consciously slowed down our work and our pace of activity. We believe now is a time to reach out to our partners and observe what the real needs are in this new era before we move into action. Yesterday, Cyrus and I were on a video call with another close partner and he started out by saying, “Well I am not sure why we are talking today.” My response was that we care about him and just wanted to see how he was doing. I could instantly see a sense of relief come over him. He appreciated that we simply wanted to know how he and his family are doing. We got around to talking about work later in the call. When we approach opportunities for connection with vulnerability and curiosity, we experience deeper, and more meaningful relationships.

Our conversations with partners and stakeholders over the last 10 days have given us some glimpses of the needs and strategies. We find a consistent concern about the burden of energy bills for the waves of workers laid off from the restaurant, retail, and many other impacted industries. We also hear a theme that we both want to respect the real suffering of this time while also not missing the opportunity to build back better.

We want to connect with you. We want to hear your thoughts, reflections, concerns, and ideas. We are better and stronger together.