Thank You for Following Our Lead During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The good news? There’s no social distancing required with our fur babies right now! For the rest of us: We can all appreciate our nation, state, and city leadership as they have anticipated how to keep individuals alive and thriving—physically and economically–with Centers for Disease Control programs addressing this COVID-19 pandemic. We especially appreciate our health care community, first responders, and hospice caregivers for all they do 24/7, and we pray for their strength and continued good health.

I’m proud that Callaway-Jones Funeral and Cremation Centers was the first funeral home in the Brazos Valley to acknowledge the CDC recommendations and prioritize safety and health of families we serve, and those of our staff.

We were first to restrict our funeral, memorial and celebration of life services; visitations are limited to immediate family (and extended family by invitation only) until further notice. I’m pleased that some other Brazos Valley funeral homes have followed our example for the safety of all our community.

Our full staff is here to serve you; our Certified Life Celebrant can help if your regular clergy is not available, or if you’d like an officiant to design your service for these unique times. Services in our Bluebonnet Community Chapel may be recorded and live-streamed at no additional charge. Express your support for families on our web site if not in person.

Be reassured: our Funeral Center is clean and safe. We’ve always had stringent protocols in daily operations—handwashing hygiene, cleaning product specifications, equipment and common area cleaning procedures. Our staff is here to help you in person, by phone, over the Internet. Your comfort is our priority. Every need can and will be accommodated.

Losing a family member or friend is never easy. We’re aware that unsettling times can amplify feelings of grief and anxiety. We’re here to reassure you that when we set limits on attendees of family-only and extended family by invitation only, it’s for your safety. Thanks to those who understand and have willingly followed these new recommendations.

Especially for these times of concern, I’ve posted some positive things to focus on in my blog. May we all remain positive and appreciative as we continue to press on.

My goal, during this period of uncertainty and acceptance, is to find things to be happy about, appreciate, and smile at. So, here are a few things making me smile.

Target stores are “reserving the first hour of each Wednesday to support vulnerable guests, including the elderly and those with underlying health concerns.” Read the entire message from Target CEO, Brian Cornell here.

Upbeat message from our Texas brother from a little down the road, Sugar Land native, Matthew McConaughey  — “There’s a green light beyond this red light. Practice values that we can enact now: fairness, kindness, accountability, resilience, courage, and respect brings us all together and unifies us like we have not had in a long time. Just keep livin’.” Hear him say it for yourself here:

Opportunities Abound to Help Our Locally Owned Businesses

Mayor Andrew Nelson published the guidelines that the Cities of Bryan and College Station, effective March 18, ordered “The closing of all bars and restaurant dining rooms, and imposed limitations on the size of public gatherings, to further reduce the possibility of exposure to COVID-19.”

The good news is that “Restaurants may still provide take-out, delivery, drive-through and curbside pickup service.” In addition to supporting all our personal favorite restaurants, let’s keep in mind that those smaller, independent restaurants depend on our continued patronage to survive this period of abundant inactivity inside their restaurants.

Blue Baker has reminded those of us who love their homemade treats, salads, sandwiches, and pizzas that “there is no ‘work from home’ in the restaurant business, nor do they have a way to keep all employees working when business drops because the only business they have is drive-thru, pick-up and delivery. They are currently selling “Baker Bonds” that are really gift cards and they ask we hold onto them until normal operations resume.

Village Café and Art979 Gallery in Downtown Bryan owner Kristy Petty has an informative and persuasive video on her web site that reminds us, personally, from another local business owner, how they are doing their best to respond to limitations they never anticipated.

These are just two examples; feel free to post your favorite locally owned business in the comments to remind everyone of who all here could use our business in drive-thru, pick-up, and delivery business at this time.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

One thing we are delighted to hear is how many neighbors are working together to help one another out. Trips to the grocery store can be challenging for anyone who has concerns about whether you can find basic staples in stock once you get there.

Just knowing who has toilet paper in stock could be a great find (especially for our senior friends who worry even more when even the most basic items run low). I’ve heard of someone finding a 12-pack of tissue; they keep 4 for themselves and they share 8 rolls with 2 or 3 neighbors, until someone else locates another 12-pack.

Another find has been on Facebook; more than one person has posted and shared the following message:


“If anyone in the Bryan / College Station area need assistance in order to avoid venturing outside, I can pick up your groceries/prescriptions etc so you can stay indoors. Just text or message me on FB.”

Seeing that kind, considerate post on the pages of community volunteers and businesspersons like Nikki Schuberth, Robin Silva, and others makes me smile. There are already multiple posts on the neighborhood web site and people are offering specific ways to help in similar ways.

There’s even a special section on

One neighbor posted they can help children with history classes; another woman who is bed-bound said she would be happy to talk to anyone who is feeling lonely or isolated. It’s so uplifting to see how many people are reaching out to be there for their neighbors.

The list goes of blessings goes on and on. Our community is blessed with so many who care about, and for, others that it’s hard to be depressed when there are so many reasons to feel fortunate to live here.

Don’t Forget Our Fur Friends!

Be sure and check out your neighborhood pet stores to stock up on treats for all the good dogs and cats in your life. If you’re hunkering down and getting in supplies, don’t forget your best four-legged friends’ needs either. Taking time to play with your animals is one of the best stress-relievers around.

You Can Accomplish A Lot From Your Home Base

These days of working from home can be a challenge but you can still shop for a new home using the virtual vast realtor resources who have posted video or slide show tours of homes they have listed. Walk through online and give your realtors a call or send them an e-mail.

Working from home is not always easy for teachers, especially those who have children of their own at home to entertain. If you have time, for those times when teachers need to video conference with their administrators, offer to watch their children in the back yard (weather permitting) to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air so the conference can proceed uninterrupted.

The old expression “cabin fever” may be familiar to most of you, that feeling of being trapped and confined in a single space for what seems to be forever can definitely overtake you, like we’ve had when the rare ice storm hits, streets are essentially empty and you’re stuck in one place for too long. This time rather than it being an inconvenience, it’s a measure designed to keep us all safe, so just re-framing our thoughts is a good start to overcoming boredom.

In fact, there’s a book “Cabin Fever” by Jennifer Volland that “traces the course of the cabin in North America.” Reading books just like this one is a great way to spend extra time that was usually spent otherwise. It is a good thing to read books you enjoy at any time but these days electronic distractions have overtaken much of the time we used to devote to reading for pleasure.

There are many factors to be concerned with during these days of waiting out the life cycle of the Coronavirus and the removal of it as a health threat across our country. Here in Bryan, we can take time to reconnect with family and friends (at a safe social distance) and find out how others are doing in their lives. Offering a friendly voice by phone to seniors who are literally locked in to their nursing and care facilities is a welcome change of pace for them.

Just hearing from you any way you can manage it (FaceTime, Skype, or phone) will mean so much to them. It’s hard on us, too, when we can’t go visit in person but they’re far better at accepting circumstances and situations like this than we are because they’ve been through trying times before.

Tired of staying at home already? Our Certified Life Celebrant, Dawn Lee Wakefield, shared a poem with me that her InSight Certified Celebrants group had shared as inspiration, written by Kitty O’Meara, perhaps inspired by an Italian poet, Irene Vella (“whose immuno-depressed husband had been ill during this period of coronavirus”). It is very uplifting as we think of healing, recovering and returning to normalcy. We have so many things to be grateful for, and it’s important to remember that.

Attitude is everything in how we approach our stand against COVID-19 and the havoc it wreaks. Motivational speaker, the late Zig Ziglar, said:

“It’s not what happens to you in life that matters. It’s how you respond to what happens to you that makes a difference.”

As always, my staff and I are here to serve your families and if you need us anytime day or night, we are available. Know that we remain committed to serving you without any interruption. Yes, there are some limits to in-person presence at our indoor memorials but with our unique capability to live broadcast on Facebook and YouTube, everyone can watch in the comfort and safety of their own homes.

When things return to what is “normal,” we can look back on these days and say, “Those were the days when we found the courage to try new pathways and to accept things we could not change and make something good happen from the sad times.”

Sending all of you my best wishes for you and your family as we go through these next several weeks together in our new journey. Let’s stay in touch here and please share good news stories with me as you find them during these important days.