Shawna Curry and her husband, Scott, of One Stop Cenex, made sure local children had a free hot dog for lunch during the first week of the mandatory school closure.

Week one of “social distancing” is in the books. While it might not be as big a challenge for rural Montanans as those living in more populated areas, it is still a challenge. How are you coping? People are adapting in a number of ways and creatively reaching out to ease one another’s burdens. Here are just a few.

Pondera Medical Center has invited written communication and artwork from the community for their Extended Care Facility as per their Facebook post, “It’s the first day of Spring! Although life may look and feel different right now, we still live in one of the most beautiful places in the world! To celebrate spring, we welcome any and all cards, letters, paintings and drawings for our Extended Care Facility! Our residents would love them; as they are not allowed visitors at this time. 

Artwork can be dropped off at the front desk or arrangements can be made for pickup by calling Casey Rasmussen: 406-271-3495! Thank you for helping to brighten Spring!”

Casey Rasmussen, PMC Marketing Specialist, reports, “Some children have already done artwork and it’s wonderful to see the willingness! Thanks to this community we are blessed to call “home.” She continues, “At PMC, we have really been encouraged to support and show our gratitude for those participating. “Protect this house” is a phrase we heard this morning. The sooner we work together, the sooner normal life can resume. I keep telling everyone that we are really lucky to live in Montana, where we are spaced out and have yards and what not.”

Curry’s Market was busy bagging up groceries for a curbside drop off Saturday. When asked about deliveries, Wendy Judisch commented, “We do several deliveries all the time.” Deliveries have increased, but the employees are taking it all in stride, and doing it with a smile!

One Stop Cenex began offering FREE hot dog lunches for kids on Tuesday, March 17, the day after school was closed to comply with “social distancing.” The offer is extended to towns surrounding Valier, Monday thorough Friday.

Melissa Willis, MA in Education, had these suggestions for coping with the sudden changes. 1) “Develop a routine for the start and end of each day.” A routine is “helpful for peace of mind.” 2) Stay active. She suggested accessing YouTube workout videos, online scavenger hunts for indoors and outdoors, and going for a walk when the weather is nice. 3) Reach out to someone else with a message or phone call.


ther positive observations from around the area:

“My hired girl doesn’t have to go to school, so she’s been super helpful during calving, especially when I had to work at the PO,” said local rancher, Trina Jo Bradley.

“I saw so many people out walking today! More than I have the entire time I’ve lived in Conrad,” offered Casey Rasmussen.

Kailee Johnson Cherry suggested, “Check out blueprint. It is a craft website and they have free things you can craft. That’s what I do. We also walk, play games, read, color, watch movies, bake. Have fun!” She continued, “It helps to have a routine. I help my kids do schoolwork, then we take a break to exercise and have lunch. We then finish our afternoon schoolwork, play board games, walk outside, teach the dog tricks or do anything fun as a family. It’s been nice to spend time with my kids.”

Although this “social distancing” mandate came relatively quickly, there are a lot of ways to adapt and make the most of the current circumstances. One can explore, serve, or learn a new skill while waiting for the pandemic to pass. How will you make the most of it?

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