The Times West Virginian


June 29, 2014

‘Don’t borrow grief’ always good advice

Shortly before he left, the Times West Virginian’s former sports editor Mike DeFabo send me a panicky text message about the strong possibility of baseball games being cancelled.

It would turn into a logistics nightmare, he explained. If just one game were rained out, staffing would become impossible. Matt Welch, our current sports editor, was on his honeymoon, and Mike was trying to get to his little sister’s college graduation out of state.

The forecast and the radar were the sources of the anxiety. There was a 100 percent chance of rain predicted each day.

“Don’t borrow grief,” I texted back.

I think I got a series of question marks as a response.

“If a game is rained out, we’ll figure it out. Don’t worry about it until that happens. Just plan on covering the games like there’s not a series of big green globs coming our way.”

If Mike learned one thing during his time at the newspaper, it was just that. Don’t borrow grief. Though forecasts said 100 percent chance of rain on each scheduled game day, not a drop fell, and the games were played on the days and times they were scheduled for. Mike covered the games and made it to his sister’s graduation, I didn’t have to call Matt back from his honeymoon or hire some stringer to cover the biggest games of the season.

I’m a planner by nature. But there are certain things completely out of your control — the weather, for one example. There is nothing on Earth you can do to change what falls from the sky, or doesn’t fall, for that matter. You can’t control how warm it is or whether it will freeze. And though forecasting improves on a daily basis, the flap of butterfly’s wings on one side of the world could shift the weather pattern right here in West Virginia. Like it did in May during regional baseball.

And while you can’t control some things, you can plan and prepare for them.

All of this comes to mind because of a slight bit of panic over the possibility that a mosquito-borne virus may have made its way to West Virginia. Bugs, like the weather, are a force of nature that you cannot stop. But like carrying an umbrella, packing an emergency change of clothes and having a pair of galoshes handy, you can minimize your exposure to contracting chikunguny.

I’m big on bug spray anyway. I have a family of five, and we spend quite a bit of time outdoors anyway. A mosquito bite is irritating for most, as your body reacts to the bite. You want to scratch until scratching hurts and your skin is damaged. For most, that is.

Poor Jay has pretty lousy reactions to mosquito bites. She gets bright red lumps wherever bitten, the size of silver dollars. So bug spray is something we stock up on. And because she gets sprayed down during outdoor adventures, I line everyone else up, too, for a coating of bug repellant. And honestly, it works wonders. Mosquito bites are few and far between for us.

So I’ve decided not to borrow grief over chikungunya, or other viruses like West Nile, La Crosse and eastern equine encephalomyelitis, even though it’s a strong possibility that West Virginia is the next of 18 states where the virus has appeared in residents.

We’ll just keep doing what we can to keep the pesky bugs bugs away from us. In the battle of man versus nature, nature almost always wins. Unless you’ve got a mom who plans for everything from bright sunshine, torrential downpours, buggy situations and bug bites, if they happen to happen.

Misty Poe is the managing editor of the Times West Virginian and gas be reached by email at, by phone at 304-367-2523 or on Twitter @MistyPoeTWV.

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