Many Things Can Be True at Once

By Gwyn Lurie   |   May 7, 2020
Celebrating my mother-in-law’s 87th birthday, as best we can

The coronavirus and the related deaths of seventy thousand Americans and nearly two hundred thousand more people around the world, would seem to be a shared enemy that could bring people together – even people in a country as divided as ours.

Instead, this pandemic has handed us new beliefs over which to divide. Stay at home to save lives vs. reopen to save liberties – the liberty to roam free, to work and to support our families, to not end up homeless, to keep from going crazy, etc.

Both positions are valid and reasonable. And complicated. And important. Both are hard choices that involve sacrifice and risk. And faith.

Who am I to Judge?

I’ve not left my home for two months – with the exception of a few journeys to the market or to stand masked outside the fence of my in-laws’ senior living home to hold up a Happy Birthday sign and balloons so that my mother-in-law, who spent her 87th birthday in quarantine, could glimpse her cherished family from afar. Not exactly how she planned to spend her golden years. So, I’ve been following the rules pretty religiously. Does that make me a saint? I’ve been able to work from home, I’m lucky. I can put out a paper and a newsletter, and even help launch a virtual cash mob, from the comfort of a home in one of the most beautiful places on earth. So, who am I to judge?

This is a difficult, mind-bogglingly complicated and undeniably sad time. And there is not necessarily a “correct” perspective because the fact is, many things can be true at once.

We want our families to be safe, but we also want them to be fed, with a roof over their heads. We are sick of being home, but we’re scared to go out. We enjoy being alone with our loved ones, to an extent. We want businesses to open, but are we ready to go out and shop and dine?

I hope so, but I fear not. As governors around the country, ours included, suggest that businesses will begin reopening as soon as this Friday, my guess is that opening the doors and getting people to go in is a different thing. I suspect people will be tentative. For months and for good reason (in my opinion) we’ve been encouraged to be cautious and to stay home. When I go into a store to buy necessities, I find that there’s little contact of any kind with other humans – not eye contact, not physical contact, not human contact. Sometimes it’s even hard to recognize masked friends. People want to get in and out quickly making sure to touch as little as possible – things or people. I never thought I’d say this, as the mother of two screenagers, but…

Thank God, or Better Yet Thank D.A.R.P.A., for the Internet!

It’s poignant to take a moment and reflect that the internet was initiated by our military way back in 1976 (by D.A.R.P.A., the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) for precisely the sort of situation we find ourselves in today: the need for nimble and flexible communications when our normal communication lines are otherwise failing.

It’s thanks to the foresight of D.A.R.P.A. that we have much of the contact we do have today, from Zooms to internet posts to binge watching, to our entire virtual lives. And, bringing it all back home, without the internet we could never have held our MAY DAY MONTECITO CASH MOB.

And Boy Did This Community Step Up!

Like everywhere else, the quarantine has been devastating to our local shops and no doubt will be for some time. This is why, this past weekend, the Montecito Journal, along with our friends at the Coast Village Association, the 93108Fund, the Montecito Association, and a whole host of individuals and business leaders, held our MAY DAY MONTECITO CASH MOB event, to support our local shops and restaurants. And boy did this community step up! Between May 1 and 3, we raised approximately $233,000! $173,000 of that was the purchase of gift cards (advanced purchase credits) that Montecitans made from local businesses. The other $66,000 (so far) was donated to the 93108Fund and will be disbursed to minimum wage workers in our community.

Needless to say, we exceeded expectations. Thank you to everyone who came out and put their money where their mouth is. So, while many things may be true at once, but it’s hard to argue that Montecito is not a very special place!

Montecito Cash Mob Extended Through Mother’s Day

Because this has been such a success, we have decided to keep the Montecito Cash Mob Open though Mother’s Day in the hopes that you will continue to buy gift cards from businesses at which you intend to shop anyway, and to give those who have not yet checked out the website the opportunity to do so: After all, Mother’s Day is coming up and it’s time to buy Mom that beautiful bracelet she deserves! And believe me, she deserves it! (Are you reading this, Honey?)

If we want the charming, unique character of Montecito to survive this moment, we need to help by stepping up to support the places that make it charming and unique. And surely one of the things that gives Montecito its character is it’s not filled with franchise stores and “big boxes.” I’m not anti-Amazon, though I do question some aspects of their corporate culture. For certain staples I’m as guilty as anyone of 1-clicking for convenience. But the experience of going into a locally owned shop, where salespeople know you, and put things aside for you because they think you’ll like it, and are honest with you when something looks horrible on you, that’s worth something. We may not get the bargain we can get on Amazon, but we’re supporting our local shops and owners who care. And Montecito would not be Montecito without them.

Introducing the Montecito Morning Mojo

On a final note, still on the subject of supporting local business, I’d like to say a word about the importance of local journalism and our appreciation for your ongoing support. Strong local journalism is not only an important means of keeping up on local matters, but without it we have no way to influence our local leadership and policy making. Without a vibrant local press, we have no vehicle with which to hold local leaders’ feet to the fire on important issues. A good example of this can be seen in the attention Mitchell Kriegman’s recent stories have gotten in City Hall regarding some of Santa Barbara’s City leadership, the sorry state of State Street, and the importance of uniting Santa Barbara’s business community over a strong vision.

So I want to give a shout out to The Montecito Journal’s new twice weekly newsletter: THE MORNING MOJO. Please go to to check it out and subscribe (for free). I hope you enjoy it.

Limerick Contest Results

And finally, the results of the Montecito Journal’s Thom Steinbeck Creative Writing Contest: The Limerick Edition. This time around we received so many wonderful submissions that we punted to you to decide. This week over 200 readers weighed in and we have six winners:

FIRST PLACE: $125 gift certificate to Mountain Air Sports
Congratulations to Natalie Klan – 9 years old

There once was a city called Santa Barbara.
They were going through a lot of drama.
When Covid-19 struck,
My playdates were out of luck,
At least I didn’t have to stand six feet from my mama!

SECOND PLACE: $100 gift certificate to Mountain Air Sports
Congratulations to MollyAnn Leiden

‘Got 56 rolls of TP
Facebook the sun and the sea 
A good song to sing
Plus Quibi and Sling
And no sign of having CV

THIRD PLACE: $75 gift certificate to Mountain Air Sports
Congratulations to Linda Prince

There once was the land Montecito
Where everyone lived in high Splendito
A virus most foul
Caused Oprah to howl
And we all hunkered down to Finito

FOURTH PLACE: $50 gift certificate to Pacific Health Foods
Congratulations to Chris Stocking

A surprisingly clamorous din
For the anti malarial chloroquin
But lo and behold
Now the truth has been told
You’re better off sticking with gin

FIFTH PLACE: $50 gift certificate to Pacific Health Foods
Congratulations to Kate Ford

There once was a lady with gray,
The roots her salon took away.
But sheltered in place,
Two-toned she embraced,
And inside her home she did stay.

SIXTH PLACE: $50 gift certificate to Pacific Health Foods
Congratulations to Rebecca Clark

There once was an artist from Santa Barbara.
She fell in love with a handsome candelabra.
Every night they would sit,
Pour a glass and get lit,
And entertain thoughts most macabre.


This time we have decided to do something a little different. We have received many photographs and other artistic reflections on the time of corona. So, this week we ask that you submit a piece of visual art that captures a moment of this moment: a photograph, a drawing, a picture or a painting, or anything else visual image fit to print.

We can’t wait to see what we get.


You might also be interested in...