Good Folks in eTown this week. . .
By Helen ~ January 23, 2013
Can you believe it? I’m sick again. All these viruses flying around seem to be loving me this season. They say this is one of THE toughest flu seasons (and strains) on record. I believe it.
Somehow all the news stories about this season have made me think of the influenza epidemic at the end of World War I. Many of my friends actually learned about that event from watching ‘Downton Abbey’ – it’s one of the most significant disasters in American history, but it happened so long ago and it’s not taught about in current curriculum in our schools except for an obscure college course here and there, so most of us don’t know of or think about it anymore (I do, simply because my maternal grandparents both died in that epidemic, and I know firsthand how deeply that loss affected my mother, my aunts and uncles and the rest of my family). Yet the influenza epidemic of 1918 killed more people than the war. That’s true; check out this from a site called Regional History From the National Archives:
World War I claimed an estimated 16 million lives; the influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918 killed an estimated 50 million people. One fifth of the world’s population was attacked by this deadly virus. Within months, it had killed more people than any other illness in recorded history. The plague emerged in two phases. In late spring of 1918, the first phase, known as the “three-day fever,” appeared without warning. Few deaths were reported. Victims recovered after a few days. When the disease surfaced again that fall, it was far more severe. Scientists, doctors, and health officials could not identify this disease which was striking so fast and so viciously, eluding treatment and defying control. Some victims died within hours of their first symptoms. Others succumbed after a few days. The plague . . . was rampant in urban and rural areas, from the densely populated East coast to the remotest parts of Alaska . . . In one year, the average life expectancy in the United States dropped by 12 years. It is an oddity of history that the influenza epidemic of 1918 has been overlooked in the teaching of American history. Documentation of the disease is ample, as shown in the records selected from the holdings of the National Archives regional archives.
A bit of history we need to remember, both for its impact on the nation at the time and as a reminder that extreme flu strains can occur again. This season’s flu is nothing like the one described above; however, let’s not forget that this can happen. Some scientists actually feel its not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Scary thought I know. Just makes me want to stay in the moment and not take anything for granted. Life is too short to waste it on worrying, mind you, but because its so short and it flies by, relatively speaking, just don’t forget to seek joy and fulfillment in your work, your relationships and in your life.
Native sons The Wood Brothers make another stop in eTown, bringing their soulful fusion of folk, blues, jazz and classic R&B music. Although Chris and Oliver have an undeniable musical chemistry together, it took them many years to recognize and acknowledge it; both had their own separate musical careers with very different flavors (Chris is the ‘Wood’ of the popular jazz trio Medeski, Martin & Wood; Oliver has enjoyed a successful ‘swampy blues’ slanted solo career, peppered with stints in awesome bands as well).
But about eight years ago, these two decided to give brotherly collaboration a try as The Wood Brothers; and the result has been just great, with an ever growing fan base and increasing touring time together, as well as three full-length albums under their belts. When you hear them, it’s clear that these two incredibly talented brothers create a one-of-a-kind sound together that only siblings can manifest.
Also with us is the remarkably gifted singer/songwriter Gretchen Peters, an artist known for her brilliant original songs which explore the deepest corners of life with empathy and integrity. Odds are you’ve heard her songs covered by such musical notables as Neil Diamond, Trisha Yearwood, George Strait, Bryan Adams, Bonnie Raitt, Martina McBride, Pam Tillis, Patty Loveless, Etta James and countless others.A former Boulderite who these days calls Nashville home, Gretchen joins us for her first visit in eTown. She shares songs from her recent release Hello Cruel World. She’s a great singer, soulful writer, talented player and also just one of the nicest, most gracious people I’ve had the pleasure to spend time with.
We’ve got an inspiring
E-Chievement Award story this week, too, about a woman who’s making sure that traumatized soldiers returning home from combat receive much needed psychological care and support (and she also extends that help to their family members too). Be sure to tune in or podcast!