By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Modest proposal for a home activity

Here on the ground, an eerie quiet conceals personal unrest. Behind the empty shops, darkened offices and shuttered institutions, people sheltered in place worry about health, finances and the future.


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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From the 10,000-foot level, however, we can see a generation of children experiencing the pros and cons of distance learning; millions of people thrown into closer touch with their life priorities; most organized human endeavors restructuring for increased efficiency and sustainability; and new entrepreneurial spirits waiting to be released when the COVID-19 outbreak subsides.

Back on the ground, operations continue in health care, food processing and sales, pharmacies, take-out restaurants, banking, pet stores, gas stations and other “essential businesses.” Those include reporting news and publishing newspapers.

“Main Street America” is threatened, and one priority is helping locally owned businesses return to life-after-COVID-19.

Government has launched previously unthinkable programs of financial aid to individuals, businesses and organizations. We need it now; we don’t want to become dependent for long; we wonder how this and future generations will repay that looming invoice.

While we wait at home for return to normalcy, here’s a modest proposal for a family activity. It’s something you’ve talked about, but just “never had the time.” Now you do.

In a word, DECLUTTER. Simplify your home along with your lives.

In one pile, gather all the things that should go into the garage sale you’ll never have. In another pile, put the more valuable items — including those “family treasures” you don’t really care about. Give your kids first choice for take-away keepsakes, and commit to just letting things go.

Then, await instructions! Watch this space.

We think you and others are going to hear an offer you can’t refuse (“The Godfather,” parts I, II and III). But only if you are prepared to gather those piles and give them a better place to be (Harry Chapin, 1972 album “Sniper and Other Love Songs”).

First and foremost, the sponsors of that offer-to-come hope you have a meaningful family experience. They want you to have a bonus level of satisfaction from helping others with needs. And they can provide documentation of the maximum possible tax deduction for your high-value gifts!

For now, we all have to continue our sheltered lives to help beat down the threat of COVID-19. But we don’t have to waste all that time and opportunity to perform good deeds for ourselves and others.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


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