Holly Rosser Miller: Brains, courage and heart needed in weeks ahead

For the last few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of enjoying a little slice of normalcy and joy. In a twist that everyone else saw coming, my vocal and dance audition for Muskogee Little Theatre’s production of “The Wizard of Oz” landed me square in the orchestra pit playing my flute. I hope you got a chance to see this fantastic production, which wraps on Sunday — if only for the opportunity to sit in the dark and pretend you’re somewhere else! For me, it’s been healthy to concentrate on something for a few hours that requires 100% of my attention — because life seems too heavy right now.

It had been years since I’d watched “The Wizard of Oz,” but the characters and lessons are timeless. Dorothy, upon meeting Scarecrow, asks, “How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?”

“I don’t know,” he replies. “But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t they?”

Sick burn, Scarecrow! One only need look at a Facebook feed full of amateur epidemiologists/conspiracy-theory enthusiasts to see that universal truth. Then I reflect on how much talking I do and wonder if I even have a brain anymore? I’ve never been so sure and unsure in my life. While I’m sure there’s a way to get past this crisis we’re in, I am unsure we ever will. 

The brains of our scientists and doctors have done incredible work, but too many of our neighbors lack the courage and heart needed to melt this witch once and for all.

Like the Tin Man, I’m rusted. The simmering, constant rage leaves me feeling heartless because much of what is happening right now could have been avoided. But then I remember I must have a heart, because it is breaking. And I know I’ll be mourning someone else in the coming months, but who? None of us are getting out of this unscathed.

The courage shown by our nurses, doctors, paramedics and other health care workers is too much for us to expect and yet we depend on them to hold it all together. Like the Cowardly Lion, they steel their resolve every shift. 

“All right, I’ll go in there for Dorothy. Wicked Witch or no Wicked Witch, guards or no guards, I’ll tear them apart. I may not come out alive, but I’m going in there.”

There are neither the right words nor enough money to compensate our friends on the frontlines. Thank you and I am sorry.

If you’re on the fence about getting vaccinated, I don’t know what to tell you except that almost every person hospitalized or dying from COVID right now is unvaccinated. And if you get what is considered a “mild” case, that still could mean life is never the same again. If you don’t want to wear a mask indoors in public spaces — I get it. Me neither. But our kids under 12 have no protection, and this Delta is crazy contagious. As of writing this column — there are 52 children in the hospital in the state of Oklahoma fighting COVID. School hasn’t even started here yet. Oh, what a world!

Holly Rosser Miller has lived and worked in Muskogee for 20 years.


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