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The Virus

Dressed up as Mrs. Santa Claus, Linda Pohren hugs her brother, Jim, who died from "The Virus."

I don't want to hear again, “Do you know anyone who 'actually' died of COVID 19?” — like the pandemic is some sort of conspiracy invented for political reasons.

Don't ask Linda Pohren if she knows anyone who died of COVID 19 or you might get (a.) a weeping woman on your hands, or (b.) an out of control woman in your face. You see, Linda Pohren's brother, Jim Deao, died of the Coronavirus, all alone, in the Washington, Iowa hospital. “The Virus” as she calls it, is all to real.

Her brother was a resident of the McCreedy Home in Washington where he contracted “The Virus.” He died on Monday, March 30, 2020.

Linda called him everyday to see how he was doing. On the Friday before he died, Jim didn't answer the phone. On Saturday, Linda called the nursing station and was told her brother was out of the room. Linda thought that was strange because Jim was in quarantine. Meals were taken into him. She was told Jim would call her later. Linda sensed that something was wrong. Her niece called her Saturday evening and told Linda that her brother, Jim, was in the hospital with “The Virus.”

She could not be with him. She could not say good bye to him. There was no closure.

Because of her own heart condition and recent recovery from cancer, she couldn't attend the little funeral for her brother. The risk of her becoming exposed to “The Virus” was too great.

Linda and her family grew up on a farm outside of Lockridge. Her brother, Jim, was the oldest. Linda was nine years younger than Jim. They worked hard on the farm. Their father didn't believe in hired hands. He had kids. At three or four years old, Linda drove the tractor while the boys picked up bales. She couldn't reach the brake when they hollered, “Ho!” so she just reached down and shut the tractor off. Jim's strong arms tossed the bales high on the wagon. Those strong arms will no longer hug Linda.

Before “The Virus,” Linda visited Jim in the nursing home. She would take him candy, which he loved. He would quickly toss the candy in his dresser drawer so the nurse wouldn't see it and take it away from him. At Christmas, Linda dressed up like Mrs. Santa Claus to surprise Jim.

In the not too distant past, Linda's husband passed away, as did another brother. “We just have to take it,” she says. “But it's hard. I never thought once life would be like this. We take too much for granted. We need to appreciate every minute and love'm while we can.”

Don't ask Linda if she knows anyone who died of COVID 19.     

On another note: Luis Rosell of Mt. Pleasant will be running a “Virtual Boston Marathon” on Labor Day, Sept. 7. There's a one-mile loop on the Old Threshers ground that he'll run 26 times. Care to join him for support? Luis will start early in the morning before it gets hot. At the “Midwest Old Threshers” website, there's a Facebook link to Luis Rosell's fundraiser. People can give there or send money to the Old Threshers Foundation.

Have a happy and safe Labor Day.

Contact Curt Swarm at

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