Today’s Corona-19 and the Lessons of Y2K: Better Safe Than Sorry

At the precise close of the 20th century, the nation experienced its first big scare of the new millenium: the Y2K phenomenon.  Many people believed that all computers would shut down at midnight on December 31, 1999. 

The public was told that banks, power plants, tech companies, and other critical businesses, would be affected worldwide. Millions of dollars were spent in an attempt to avoid the risks associated with computers not recognizing the year 2000.   In response to this perceived threat, the general public began stocking up on food and other supplies in readiness. Naysayers said Y2K was a hoax.

When my mother passed away in 2013, we found boxes stored in her house marked Y2K. Each was filled with canned goods, sugar, salt, paper products (sorry, there is no toilet paper left), and other daily necessities. 

She was prepared.  She could have provided for herself, her family, and distant relatives.  That was the plan.  

Fortunately, nothing happened.  Why? Because of public readiness.

According to Paul Saffo, a professor at Stanford University, “The Y2K crisis didn’t happen precisely because people started preparing for it over a decade in advance.”  

The fact that nothing happened gave way to skepticism of an actual threat.  The inherent nature of early warnings is that they often appear unnecessary when precautions are followed.  

We teased my mother many times about her over-zealousness in being prepared for Y2K.  Our opinions did not faze her, in the least. Instead, she was thankful that nothing catastrophic happened and secure in the knowledge she was ready if it had.  

Unfortunately, COVID-19 did not allow us the luxury of advance preparation. In the midst of these unprecedented times, most are simply trying to get a sense of direction.  We are anxious, uncertain, and yes, afraid. So, what do we do now?  

  1. We pray instead of worry.  Worry leads to panic; Prayer leads to Peace.
  2. Understand the role we play. Our choices will have an impact on the safety and well-being of others and our economy.    Simply following the guidelines of our state and national leaders, we will avoid putting others at risk.  This will slow the spread of this highly contagious virus and reduce the number of people infected. What a fantastic contribution.
  3. Find courage.  Mark Twain wrote that, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear-not absence of fear.”   Even though we’re afraid in the midst of this deadly global pandemic, we must move forward with hope and love.
  4. Make practical preparations.  The basics.  Food, medicine, and cleaning supplies.  Resist the urge to stockpile or hoard. The CDC states that people should have sufficient quantities of household items and groceries for a “period of time.”  Homeland Security recommends two weeks’ worth of supplies. In other words, we should not find boxes labeled “COVID-19” in the back of your closet in 2034. 

An Invitation to Personal Preparedness

I invite you to join me in another type of preparedness in choosing to remain at home with family. While sheltering, make a special effort to show kindness to others. Take care of your health. Rely on your faith. Use your phone and the internet to spread hope.  

When this pandemic has passed, and our loved ones are safe, we will know our efforts have not been a waste of time. 



Mud Pies: A Recipe for Home

As the days lengthen, we are reminded of the importance of simple things: the fine art of creative play and the enduring nature of family.  Twilight arrives too soon in this sweet, skip-time recollection of a south Georgia childhood. 

Memories like these sustain us as we collectively shelter with our loved ones to reduce the spread of Coronavirus-19.  For children, the boredom can be as difficult as the threat.

Gratefully, early morning  or late afternoon walks along our beautiful white sandy roads lined with wildflowers – with plenty of space for children to roam – remains open to us all. 

Mud Pies,

Frog Houses,

Lighting Bugs,

Barbie Dolls.


Imaginations play all day

Sadness at twilight

“Time to come in for supper.”

Mark our place. Finish tomorrow.


Tomatoes and Rice.

Biscuits in the oven

Table set-smells so good

Whose turn to say the blessing?


I am Home

  I belong

I am secure

  I’m happy.


Poem “Mudpies: A Recipe for Home” is © 2019 by M. Kay Carter. All Rights Reserved.

May you feel secure, healthy and happy in these days spent at home.