A good friend tells you you’re looking good, that you’re doing well, and avoids focusing on your flaws.

A really good friend tells you when you look bad, when you’re doing something stupid, points out your flaws (in a constructive way, of course.) You get mad at a really good friend now and then. There might be some huffing and puffing and cursing. And then you make up.

Hey, sometimes you need a good friend, sometimes you need a really good friend. You get what you ask for.

We asked for someone to watch out over our health and wellbeing. That really good friend, our Bi-County Health leader, needs to call it like she sees it, and she’s shown a lot of resolve in taking what are very often very unpopular stands. Right now she’s telling us that the COVID-19 statistics are so bad for Yuba-Sutter that we need to take drastic action.

Her latest advisory is not going to be popular. There’s going to be cursing. Maybe even yelling. So be it. We need to be told ... even if we don’t agree with everything.

What we’d really like to see at this point is for Dr. Phuong Luu to get some backup. Some support. Alone, she can be passed off by those who don’t want to believe as a lone bureaucrat whose advice to the community is bunkum.

This is where the other real community leaders come into play. Elected and appointed officials, business leaders, religious leaders, educators, club presidents -- they need to speak up.

They don’t have to agree with all that she advises. They can make a statement of support for the county health official while at the same time specifying what they don’t agree with.

“I don’t believe banning both indoor and outdoors dining at local restaurants is necessary, but I support our bi-county health office in advising people to take all available precautions and to assume responsibility for their own and their community’s health. One basic thing that all my constituents could do to improve our condition is to wear a mask ... “ and then the savvy leader could go on to list any other particular items they especially regard as realistic and relevant.

We’d like to see council members, mayors, supervisors, CEOs ... all come out and encourage their constituencies to pitch in.

Local deaths are mounting; our positivity rate (number of positive cases divided by total tests given) is the worst there is in the entire state of California; people are getting sick; and there’s no room left, most of the time, in our local hospital’s ICU.

Please step up, community leaders.

We’d be happy to compliment and publish such statements in print and online. Send them to me at smiller@appealdemocrat.com.

**

Thumbs Up: We love reporting and writing about do-gooders ... especially when the story involves a bunch of people. So we were tickled when neighbors, whether by proximity or through the social media application NextDoor, got together to replace the saucer swing stolen from Alex McGinnis, a local 18-year-old with autism.

“Not only did they (the thieves) steal his swing they stole something precious to him that brought him a ton of joy,” said Denise Rix, one of those who set things right. The swing was replaced, and a Yuba City Police car led a procession of vehicles, some of them decorated for the season and some bearing gifts, to show the family they cared.

Good small town stuff, right there.

**

One of the things we’re going to really miss is the performance of Handel’s “Messiah.” We’ve attended the concert by the Yuba Sutter Oratorio Society just about every year since we moved here. And this is the first Christmas season in 82 years that the annual performance will not have happened.

Music lovers can tune in online.

-- “Messiah for Kids” will be available at www.ysos.org starting today at 11 a.m.

-- The 75th annual performance of “Messiah” will be available starting Sunday at 4 p.m.

**

Ugh. Yes, ugh, yet, our friend Angie Gates tells us how much she loved the selection of one-liners printed last week, courtesy of Capt. Jerry. So here are more of the same:

-- She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

-- I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

-- A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class. The principal declared it was a weapon of math disruption.

-- (An old favorite.) I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

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