To mask or unmask that is the question! The goodwife and I just spent the bulk of two weeks at a beach in North Carolina. It was a great trip and there was a plethora of activities going on in addition to the gathering of cousins from the Richardson family meeting at the beach.

Throughout the Labor Day holiday, we settled in at Holden Beach. There were lots of people on the island covered with houses numbering in excess of two thousand. Everyone stayed in their own little areas and social distancing was an easy task to accomplish.

North Carolina is a mandatory mask state. Our travels took us into South Carolina and also an exploration of portions of Tennessee. The goodwife and my cousin Lenora took the opportunity to make a stop in Nashville and visit the Ryman Auditorium and other sites in that historic area. As fate would have it, this is another mandatory mask area.

In both locations, it was all good. Life was going on, businesses were operating, there was activity, and everyone got to do most of what they wanted to do. People were complying to the request that had been made, but in these locations that request was going to be enforced and there were consequences. Sometimes I would exit the car and head out without remembering to grab and don the mask, but I would quickly realize what I had done and return to the vehicle to get my mask. Do I like wearing a mask? No, I don’t, but I don’t feel like anyone is infringing on my freedoms. Am I a mindless sheep for wearing the mask? No, I’m not. I am simply being respectful of others wishes and bearing in mind that if this is what needs to be done to be a part of the solution then I will do it.

We are often critical of the upcoming generations behavior without noticing that our behavior may be the very model that they are emulating. I have seen more adults throw a two-year old hissy fit over this mask issue and then take off on a soapbox rant about wearing a mask with total disregard to some really serious issues. Go figure!

Who knew that a pandemic would bring on a season filled with choices? This may be the real issue with 2020, it has become a season of choices. We were just cruising along so nice and easy and all of a sudden, Wham! Everything that occurs this year demands that we make choices. This is just one more choice.

When I was just a boy, my hero and mentor, Grandpa Ed said to me, “Brother Paul, you are pretty pretty. Pretty ugly and pretty much gonna stay that way.” A properly worn mask can cover up some of that ugly. There’s a silver lining for that cloud. You decide which way you want to go but keep in mind there are some positive outcomes embedded in the choice to mask!

-Paul Richardson is the proprietor of In Sane Marketing Solutions. He writes a weekly column, The Horse I Rode In On, for both The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser.