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Practice What You Preach

By Ed Parsons - Editor | Feb 9, 2021

Two old sayings that I heard quite often as a youngster still ring true today. One was “He’s blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other.” My grandfather used to say that a lot! I was in a local restaurant in the North end of New Martinsville on Friday. The news was out that Wetzel County was at the extremely high risk level for COVID-19 cases. The story ran in the January 26, edition of the New York Times. Now granted not everyone reads the New York Times each day but, the Times primarily relies on reports from the state of West Virginia who releases the data and information each day.

On the door of the local restaurant in huge bold print is a notice of entry. It states,“you must have a mask or face covering to enter the restaurant.” While sitting in what I believed was a safe distance booth and after wearing a mask to enter, I placed my order. The place was nearly empty and I felt comfortable as the interior looked clean and the staff all had on masks. What happened next is hard to explain. What moments before seemed safe and secure now felt like a war zone. The second old saying “anything can happen and usually does” then occurred.

In walked a man, with a woman and three small kids. Not waiting to be seated and unmasked they paraded right up the far lisle near me and sat in a booth marked with an (x) next to mine. As panic set in I remembered the old TV show impractical jokers, where they played tricks on people and that’s what I thought. I thought this can’t be real! I was kinda waiting for something to happen where they showed up with the camera, but no,sure enough the waiter came over to the table and took their drink order, didn’t mention they couldn’t sit there and never said a word about not wearing a mask.

What was I to do? All kinds of thoughts were running through my head. I thought about the old Roger Miller song, “the Mississippi Squirrel” (look it up on You Tube it’s a good one) but no this was real. Should I get up and leave? Say something? or just calm down and take a chance. I decided to take a chance, I wasn’t alone. I had someone with me that wanted to leave but I said no it will be alright. Then it got worse. I felt a kick in the leg from across the table, I knew someting was wrong. This six foot 300 pound man took off his shirt and gave it to his wife who said she was cold. Shoes on, but no shirt, no mask!

The waiter brought our food. He said I’ll be right back with drink refills and went to the next table. It was apparent he wasn’t concerned with our table neighbors, and we were finding it difficult to breathe let alone eat. January 2021 has been the worst month for cases in Wetzel County and it was recommended that extra precautions be taken. I confronted the manager of the restaurant and told him I wasn’t happy about them allowing the people to come in without masks and not enforcing social distancing.

Of course all of a sudden he couldn’t speak much english, without eating I laid 40 bucks on the table and we left. Wendy’s never tasted better, two singles for five dollars and two senior sweet teas. I think I’ll stick with the downtown buffet for nine dollars, they really care and take extra precautions.

I’m told that fast food drive-thru’s are the safest places to eat right now. We are warned to stay away from small inside places because social distancing is tougher and ventilation makes them more dangerous. Makes me wonder how smaller restaurants with limited space can still operate. Also small kichens where four or five people are employed cooking and washing dishes. On close observation, my gripe is none of the restaurants I visit use bus boys. While that used to be standard practice it seems now it’s to expensive to employ them so the waitresses are tasked with cleaning up dirty dishes and serving customers at the same time. How can that be clean during this pandemic or any other time for that matter?

I spoke up a second time recently at one of my favorite restaurants along the river on the south end of Moundsville. There was very little precaution being taken and no matter where you sat, someone without a mask was walking or setting close by. The thing that bothered me the most was when the owner who had a mask but not wearing it over his mouth or nose, came out of the kitchen carrying a dinner to a table with both thumbs on top of the plate. When I ask him about it he just grinned and kept walking. I then walked too, leaving my drinks on the table and an order in the kitchen. It looks to me like the spread may be from some of these eating establishments. Just my opinion!