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Column hit high note in dark times

Posted on April 26, 2021

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The April 29, 2020, installment of Fran Bunn's Peachtree News column was the most-read story on SpringHopeEnterprise.com in 2020, racking up more than 50,000 page views.

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The April 29, 2020, installment of Fran Bunn's Peachtree News column was the most-read story on SpringHopeEnterprise.com in 2020, racking up more than 50,000 page views.

lkay@springhopeenterprise.com | 252-265-8117

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic last year, readers found solace in the words Peachtree News columnist Fran Bunn shared. 

Bunn, 76, penned a column headlined “God can bring blessings out of COVID-19 pandemic,” in which she told readers to lean on Jesus for strength and keep their faith strong. Her words must have struck a chord during those dark days, because the column posted on The Enterprise’s website on April 28, 2020, went viral, receiving five times as many page views as The Enterprise’s top online news story for the entire calendar year. The column appeared in The Enterprise’s April 29 print edition. 

Google Analytics figures showed the column had been viewed 50,178 times as of mid-December. It racked up several hundred more page views before Jan. 1.

Bunn, a member of Peachtree Baptist Church, wrote that in the pandemic, everyone had found themselves in pain of some form or other.

“During this very difficult time, we are all going to suffer in one way or another,” Bunn wrote. “I pray that it is in a minor way.”

The pain wasn’t figurative for Bunn. Her 95-year-old father died Feb. 4 from health issues including COVID-19. She wrote about visiting her father during the pandemic in the 2020 column: “Bob and I were able to see and talk to my dad through the window at his nursing home.”

Reflecting recently on those heartbreaking moments, Bunn expressed the difficulty involved in visiting her elderly father. 

“We had to visit through a glass door,” Bunn said. “My dad was half blind and deaf. He didn’t know we were there.”

Bunn said she’s frustrated with people who haven’t obeyed orders to wear a mask. She said people won’t comply because they say it restricts their freedom, yet those objectors have drivers’ licenses and pay taxes.

“There’s a lot of things we have to do, and we are still free,” Bunn said. “I don’t understand why some people won’t wear a mask or get the shot. Why wouldn’t you do everything possible to stop from getting the virus? From giving the virus to someone else? God taught us to help our fellow man. Some people won’t help until it hits home for them.”

Bunn said God has watched over her. 

“I believe in science,” Bunn said. “I also have faith. We can’t be bystanders.”

Practicing social distancing and wearing a mask doesn’t indicate a belief that God’s not in control, she said. 

In her column last year, Bunn wrote that COVID-19 is a bad thing, but there are good gifts that God can bring as a result. 

“As I think about my own life, and maybe this is true for you, through COVID-19, I have been reminded that I do not control my life,” Bunn said. 

She also quoted Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

When the newspaper published Bunn’s high-traffic column, the U.S. was about a month and a half into the pandemic. 

“It just went on and on. Churches, restaurants, schools closed down,” Bunn said. “Everything went to Zoom.”

Bunn said she had a hard time adjusting to virtual meetings even though her son owns a tech company in Washington state.

“He kept saying, ‘Come on, Mom, you should get this,’” Bunn recalled.

Bunn said she wasn’t prepared for how long the virus and shutdowns would last.

“I thought it would be over really fast,” Bunn said. “Now the news is saying the virus is picking back up again.”

Bunn said it’s been hard not being able to talk to anyone in her family face-to-face.

“I didn’t get to see my kids for a year,” Bunn said. 

Her son lives in Tacoma, Washington, and her daughter lives in Boone.

“My grandson lives in Michigan,” Bunn added. “I couldn’t go to his wedding.”

People are starting to complain about the possibility of having to get a booster shot for the coronavirus vaccine, Bunn said.

“We get a flu shot every year,” said Bunn, speaking to the newspaper last week after a long day of peeling potatoes for the Oak Level Ruritan Club’s recent drive-thru barbecue plate dinner. 

Bunn has served as the Peachtree News column’s weekly author for about four years. Prior to that, she filled in several times over the years for the previous author. 

Bunn’s husband was an FBI agent, and they lived in Virgina for 40 years prior to retiring to Nash County in 1999. Bunn has been a schoolteacher and ran a commercial glass company in her lifetime.

“When you said the column received such high numbers, I couldn’t believe it,” Bunn said. “I thought just a few folks in the Peachtree community read it. I feel people were searching and God led them to the column.”

READ THE COLUMN: God can bring blessings out of COVID-19 pandemic

THIS WEEK'S PEACHTREE NEWS: Fatih in Jesus empowers Christians to be brave 

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