The wife and I made a quick trip to St. Louis on Wednesday. At lunch, with a hankering for some big-city-quality sushi, we found a place that looked good, but were bewildered to discover, when we walked to the entrance, they were open only for curbside/carry-out. I had known this would be a possibility, but found myself freshly annoyed. Back home at Lake of the Ozarks, everything’s open. Call me spoiled, I guess.
Rather than sort out the sushi situation, we strolled across the street to Chipotle. Ahead of me in the socially-distanced line, a woman sporting a St. Louis County employee ID was chatting with a man about a friend of hers. A “Covid conspiracy guy” she called him, shaking her head in disgust. The man replied, “Yeah, I mean somebody’s gotta speak up and say, ‘Hey, do we want the whole world to die of this thing?’”
I maintained my composure, suddenly missing the Lake.
Returning home later that day, we stopped at a gas station along Highway 54 in Brazito, where a small convoy of motorcyclists were making what I suspected was their final pit stop, now less than an hour from Lake of the Ozarks.
“You guys headed to the Lake?”
“Great, where you coming from?”
“Awesome! Well I live down at the Lake. Hope you have a great weekend.”
“Oh yeah man. We’ve been looking forward to this weekend for a year.”
Meanwhile, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is (predictably) wringing its hands about whether Lake of the Ozarks will be the next Sturgis. They want mask mandates, draconian limits on gatherings, and, well, one begins to think they just want to make sure everyone is miserable together. That, by the way, is the true meaning of the whole “We’re all in this together” slogan: we all need to be equally miserable.
These collectivists need to take a mental-health day. No we’re not all in this together, because we’re not all the same. A 90-year-old is not the same as a 39-year-old is not the same as a 19-year-old. Each person has their own opportunities, dreams, experiences, vulnerabilities, concerns… and thus each must make his or her own individual risk assessment about much more dangerous things than Covid, and decide what to do about each of them. Those who decide to come to Bikefest at Lake of the Ozarks this weekend have made their own decisions. They’ll come here, most won’t wear masks in most places, they’ll have a great time, and then almost all will return home to communities in which they’ll be required to wear a mask in pretty much any public place. Somehow, though, to hear the urban media tell it, this will still result in the mass spread of Covid. Are Missouri Covid cases up right now, compared to their low-point in May during the state’s severest lockdown? Yep. But with cases up, deaths are way, way down. Another example of big-city media companies with an axe to grind against communities freer than their own, cherry-picking data to make a fundamentally invalid point.
Leaders and media in big, suffering cities have been fretting about large events and gatherings all year long. Memorial Day. Independence Day. The Sturgis rally. They keep being wrong. Meanwhile, their cities are burning, or economically collapsing, or both. By mid-summer, the Covid shutdowns had shuttered 100,000 restaurants nationwide, according to the National Restaurant Association. But at Lake of the Ozarks, restaurants stayed open, visitors poured in, and local businesses benefitted. Those people voted with their feet… and their boats… and their dollars.
So bikers, as you pass through St. Louis on your way to the Lake, give those poor folks a wave and keep on rumbling to the land of the free… just a few more hours to go. Ride safe, take a deep breath. You’re about to have an unforgettable weekend at the best place in Missouri.