A Gentle Lockdown; Patience Required

LOCKDOWN!! It has a fearful ring, however softly spoken; however long you thought forgotten.

Even in the assured comfort, calm and caring of my present place of residence, Berwick Royal Oak, memory brings back the rumble of a sliding cell door, the “clunk” as it slips in to “lock,” then the faint click of an eye-level peep hole which permits a guard to check, 24/7 on your wellbeing.

I had thought the passing of the years – at least 50 of them – had long ago moved from my fringe-fading memory bank the sounds and sight of Lockdown, when the word came bursting back in front page stories from around the world.

First, we read of hospitals and care homes in faraway places being “locked down” to keep at bay a malady that, left unchecked, could kill thousands. Next, came stories that “lockdowns” of those institutions were having difficulty confining the beast. The lockdown boundaries were expanded to included entire cities, then to districts and finally – in the boldest move ever taken to keep a highly contagious virus in check while searching for a more permanent solution to a global threat – the LOCKDOWN of entire countries.

China, Germany, Italy, Spain lead the parade, others teeter on the brink like Canada and the United States of America. Canada is in there with the big boy only because we live, breath and move in-step with our giant US of A neighbour. We seem to have allowed ourselves to become followers of a bellicose bully.

If Canada – and for sure the USA – had been paying less interest in raising trade tariffs and more during China’s first skirmishes with Coronavirus, its expanded lockdowns and steady, if not yet complete, successes in control and confinement, we might be in better place today in the global fight. As China appears to be advancing in the fight, and with our good wishes we hope approaching victory, we are just beginning to tremble.

It may be difficult for the USA to ask China for help and guidance in the current battle, but this is one war where allies are needed and enemies are unaffordable.

As noted in my opening paragraph I am a resident in Berwick Royal Oak, a seniors retirement facility on Elk Drive in the shadow of Pat Bay Highway over which I watch cars and trunks hurtling at inflated speeds. It’s a good place to be and the three years since I checked in have been pleasant, the complaints few and none that could range as major.

In recent days “lockdown” has become the word of choice to describe some precautions that have closed our dining room, coffee shop, bistro and residents-only pub. We are fed in our rooms. Visits are allowed for the palliative or gravely ill. The Provincial Health Office will define classifications.

There are other minor restrictions –- two metre social distancing; no group larger than 10 in activities; cancellation of community events and outings; no private dinners quests and no guest suites.

In other words, a few annoying inconveniences, but NOT, definitely not LOCKDOWN! Not yet. But that will come if and when events leave no choice but real LOCKDOWNS in New York, Chicago, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto or Victoria? And our present misuse of the word will become all too apparent

If I survive the present plague (at 96 and with COPD lung problems I‘m high on the triage list), I’ll tell you the story of my brief sojourn in Fort Saskatchewan Jail where one late evening as shadows fell a cell door slammed, shut, locked; then silence.

That’s, LOCKDOWN – and much more than an inconvenience.


  1. Dear Jim, Do keep us up to date of life in your present prison. I hope the staff bringing you meals are monitoring their health and hygiene carefully. They should also not be working at any other place where people like you are more at risk. Looking forward to hearing about your tale of a Saskatchewan sojourn! Also looking forward to you visiting the UC again when it opens. Best wishes, Shaun Peck

    Keep well!


  2. I sincerely hope that your Retirement Facility manages to maintain quarantine for the sake of you and your co-inhabitants. You sound in good spirits, and I’d love to hear that Fort Saskatchewan Jail story someday 🙂

    I have to admit the situation caused by this virus has proven to be of more benefit than not to our little branch of the Family, at least in the short term. We would have become homeless at the end of the month, as the majority of housing in our little community has been converted to vacation rentals in the past few years. It’s terrifying to now that having the means to rent a proper home can’t help us keep a roof over our children’s heads, but the rent we’ve payed for this place over the winter wouldn’t put a dent in the income expected over the summer, so out we have to go. Only with all of what’s going on now, bookings have been cancelled and we just got a months reprieve…small blessings!
    I’d love to try to get in touch in the next little while, maybe a video chat with the great-grands would be of interest to you? Tim can get in contact with me, if you’re interested.

    Take care Mr. Hume, I hope this proves to be yet another interesting tale for you to relate in the coming years.
    Sincerely, your Grand-Daughter-In-Love 🙂

  3. I was in school at Prince Albert in 1974 and played basketball at the pen a few times. The guy I always guarded was named Jim Hume

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s