Have you ever eaten a Paw Paw? I remember we used to have a Paw Paw bush between our house and Glenda Sue’s house. We did eat them sometimes if we thought they were ripe. I remember all the big seeds in the fruit and we could tell an animal had eaten one by all the seeds in the excrement left behind. I guess the animal ate the fruit at the site and then had to go to the bathroom before it left! This leads me to the Paw Paw that Elisa brought home the other day. In fact, she brought two home from Guy Ames who gave them to her and told me I could eat one but she wanted the seeds so she could plant them and have more Paw Paw’s grow. I tried one this morning and found it to be really good. There were seven seeds in it. The second one is larger. Any time I say “bush” she says, “The Bushes live in Texas and we have shrubs.” 

As I read about events across the United States which deal with the cases of Coronavirus, I was especially interested in the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. There were 400,000 people who were there for up to 10 days. From the looks on the TV, I could tell very few people were wearing masks! The Republican Gov. Kristi Noem supported holding the event without significant public health protocol put in place. The IZA Institute of Labor Economics, watched Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota in August for repercussions. They used anonymized cellphone data from the rally and found they allowed the “worst-case scenario” for super spreading. There was an estimated $12.2 billion in health-care cost due to the rally. The event has been linked to more than 250,000 coronavirus cases. I am surprised they wouldn’t wear a mask since it could cut down on bugs on their smiles! It could even have saved a lot of sickness and expenses in the health-care cost.

Some of the schools have already closed some classes due to students and staff contracting Covid-19. The U of A has been finding a number of students who are testing positive. Some colleges have made the decision to keep the students at the college so they will not take the virus home. It is really hard to make decisions about what to do.

My granddaughter, Mary Margaret Harris, is in her senior year at Fayetteville High. She has been running each day since school was let out in March. She is again involved in cross-country track this semester. I have been excited to see she is doing well in the races. They had a cross country race this past week end and she came in second in a huge number of runners. UCA is interested in her running this year like they were last year. She took a drive to Conway with her mother, Amanda, right before school started in August so she could see what UCA looked like. She was impressed with the campus. Other schools have shown an interest in her, too. It is harder to watch those races than the second semester track meets where you get to sit in the stands and cheer them on. My other granddaughter is involved in biking. She is on a team that will compete this weekend. Samantha is in the sixth grade in Rogers. I am not sure how people watch those kinds of meets since this is a first for us. She came home telling me she had passed a fifteen year old rider in the race. We are waiting for her time to be reported. My grandson, Colorado, made the decision to not go to college this semester. He is working and saving up money for next semester so he can continue his schooling. I got a phone call before eight o’clock from my sister, Jane. She had stepped on something and twisted her ankle and fell. She went to the ER and they found it was fractured. She had surgery to repair it. There is a lot of pain with it, yet!

The Arkansas Democrat/Gazette today had a report on voting in Washington and Benton counties. In Arkansas the process to vote by mail is beginning. You will request an absentee ballot application from your county clerks’ office. You can choose to vote by mail due to the coronavirus or other reasons which you will report on the application. The clerk’s offices will begin mailing the ballots out on Sept, 18. One reason some people have had rejected ballots is because they are not registered to vote yet. Your clerk can help you get registered. I was surprised that 14,000 applications have been processed in Benton and Washington counties. My feeling is that Newton and Boone counties are doing the same. Benton County has 164,448 registered voters as of Friday. Washington County has 136,886 registered voters as of Friday, Sept. 11. Call your county clerk’s office for the application or voters may download the application from the county or Secretary of State websites. October 27, is the deadline an absentee ballot can be requested. You may want to vote in person rather than getting an absentee ballot so you can wait until Election Day, Nov. 3, or vote during the two week early voting period. Due to the great number of ballots being mailed in, Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed an executive order allowing election officials to begin preparing absentee ballots for counting up to 15 days before the general election.

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