She’d been to college. She taught music in Boise City, the Cimarron County seat. She believed in the value of art. She believed in the value of education in general and public education in particular. She was looking forward to being among the area’s contingent of teachers and students to fly to New York City in April for the Panhandle Youth Chorale’s performance in Carnegie Hall.
She was glad the Forest Service protected the Rita Blanca grasslands. Most of her family for generations had been cattle ranchers on those lands and others in the region. She voted like they did, like everyone she knew did, and she knew that neither she nor they were the mindless anti-government idiots that so many people in far-off places like New York thought they were.
When New York’s numbers grew, and when the trip was canceled, Carnegie Hall seemed even further away, and so did the virus.
Even once their local numbers went beyond zero, the refrain was, “It’s just one. We’ll be fine.” And so Lorraine thought what everyone around her thought. We’ll ride it out. We’re tough. We always manage.
And yet tortoises win races. And a gopher will move surely down the length of a snake.
Neither Lorraine nor most of the people she knew thought that every state ought to be a “red state.” They knew that wasn’t how things were supposed to work.
For the few of her neighbors who had hoped for that, blood was definitely not the red they’d had in mind.