I have a suggestion. Something you could do in these troubled times when a huge part of the population is at home, young and old, as most businesses, schools, colleges, churches, restaurants—almost everything is closed. Try writing in a journal.

I began writing in a journal more than 50 years, ago, not every day, but several times each week. It is in my journal that I write down the good and the bad that is going on in my life.

For me it serves several purposes—when something is bothering me, I write it down. When something good happens, I write that down, too. The writing not only establishes a historical record—it is fun to look back at what was happening years ago.

Once I have written about it, especially the bad things, I feel better. It is if I have moved my troubles and concern’s from me to the pages of my journal.

Here is some of what I wrote in my journal this morning:

“On my early morning walk, I was reminded of the song, ‘The Sound of Silence,’ a popular Simon and Garfunkel song. I hear no background traffic sound, no roaring cars and trucks, only a crow announcing the coming of the sunrise, and a spring robin singing its cheerful song. In this troubled and challenging time, I remember my father’s hopeful words, ‘Tomorrow will be a better day, and next year will be a better year.’”

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Never forget the power of hope.

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to 

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