Ann Bailey: My life is simply good, even in the midst of a pandemic

Ann Bailey

I thought our family led a relatively uncomplicated life, and then the coronavirus pandemic hit. I learned that, with a few tweaks, our lives could become simpler and even more fulfilling.

A few of the changes were made out of necessity, but most were the result of creativity. One of the necessary changes, for example, was that I, like many Grand Forks Herald employees, began working from home in mid-March. That means most days, instead of commuting from my home near Larimore, N.D., to downtown Grand Forks, I have a five-second walk into my upstairs home office.

Another necessary change was that my daughter, Ellen, a high school junior, had to finish out the year at home. While there is a downside to online learning, it had some benefits for Ellen because she learned how to manage her time efficiently and work independently, two skills that will help her when she starts college in the fall of 2021.

At the risk of sounding selfish, I have enjoyed the extra time Ellen and I have spent together, working in rooms close enough to read each other’s work. Besides being a good writer, the perspective of Ellen, age 17, is different than mine so I also like bouncing ideas off of her and getting her take on things I write.

Ellen and I also have created a routine of going on two-mile walks with our dogs during our lunch hour. Moving out of my chair and into the outdoors is good for me emotionally and physically, and I enjoy the bonus minutes I get to have with Ellen.


Going on walks during my noon hour has been a goal I’ve had for the past year since I went back to work at the Herald. Now that I’m doing them, and because they have become such an integral part of my day, odds are that I will keep the habit when I go back to work in the office. I’ll also take another walk with Ellen when I get home so we continue our walking and talking time.

During the pandemic, I’ve also rediscovered the joys of riding a bike. Like walking, biking is good exercise, and a way to see the changes in the landscape, and occasionally, wildlife and birds, along our gravel roads.

If I get tired of riding and walking over the same ground, I need to travel only a few miles to Turtle River State Park to see some different scenery. I’ve probably been to the park more times in the past two months than in the last 40 years.

Hiking and biking the hills there is something I plan to continue to do after the pandemic. It’s a boost to the mind and body to spend time in the park, which – though less than 10 miles away – has much different terrain than that of our farm.

Speaking of different terrain, going to the big city of Grand Forks to pick up takeout food or dine in at a restaurant now is a treat. I feel like I’m back in the days of my youth when a trip to Grand Forks was a big family outing.

The older I get, the more simple I like my life. Of course, I didn’t wish for a pandemic to make that happen. However, that adversity, like the others my family has faced, challenged us to find silver linings in the dark cloud, and reminded us that if we let Him, God will help us find a way to bring good out of a bad situation.

Ann Bailey is a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald.

Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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