CHICAGO - MAY 12: A view from the 360 Chicago observation deck shows police cars blocking a walkway under Lake Shore Drive that leads to the lakefront on May 12, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago lakefront was ordered closed to visitors by the Mayor to curtail the coronavirus pandemic. 360 Chicago, located on the 94th floor of 875 North Michigan Avenue (formerly the John Hancock Center), has also been closed due to the pandemic. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775512149 This view taken May 12 from the 360 Chicago observation deck shows police cars blocking a walkway under Lake Shore Drive that leads to the lakefront. The Chicago lakefront was ordered closed to visitors by the mayor to curtail the coronavirus pandemic. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Let’s not forget the little gifts during this nightmare, like all the family time and the daylong chirping of birds.

An unexpected gift . . .

Pay attention!

As the city moves cautiously to re-open its isolation doors next week in the wake of a COVID-19 fatalities decline, expect an eraser to appear.

Expect change.

It’s not a stretch to consider new hustle and bustle to eradicate the following:

  • A very quiet morning.
  • The sound of birds ALL day.
  • The actual noise of wheeled grocery store carts; the language of muffled “mask” speech.
  • Wildflowers given a chance to sow before the Spring mow on public property.
  • The actual sound of our Windy City’s wind.
  • Silence beyond six feet.
  • Big-time family time.
  • People actually walking their OWN dogs.
  • The friendly street “nod” from muffled masked strangers.
  • The time during the workweek when we actually heard our doorbell ring; answered our own door; and had an extended, uninterrupted conversation with a close friend.
  • The mea culpa moment, as a Catholic, of attending Sunday mass via TV at home, with a cup of coffee and a great sermon from the top hat, Cardinal Blase Cupich.
  • The seismic shift from horizontal to vertical, when elevators in our city’s concrete canyon come alive.
  • And the gift during our isolation of a tiny window into life in rural America or small town, USA, where restaurants are rare, elevators are non-existent and no one hires dog walkers.

Here’s what will soon be back barring the scientific possibility coronavirus clubs us this Fall.

  • Jobs.
  • Traffic.
  • Noise.
  • Cars everywhere.
  • The parking pandemic.
  • And yikes! Remembering that every piece of unpackaged food in a grocery store has probably been touched by someone’s hand.
  • Cautiously reopening Chicago is a good thing; so are eyes not having to weep for virus victims.

But let’s not forget the little gifts during this nightmare.

Just saying. Never forget to be grateful for the little things.

. . . before Memorial Day

Chicago attorney Bill Coulson, a World War II expert who has written extensively about the Pacific War campaign, chimed in with his take on health care workers during the coronavirus epidemic.

“The soldier may suffer instant lethal consequence, but health care people are selfless and courageous by sacrificing themselves for a cause bigger than themselves,” he said. “Their courage is amazing. Their focus on the job is absolute … which soldiers have to have. Like soldiers, they have fierce determination to succeed. Defeat is not an option.

“All in all, they are an analogy for a brave soldier.”

Coulson, who is isolating with wife, Beth — a former Illinois state representative for the North Shore (1997-2011) — in the wilds of Wisconsin, became smitten with the beauty of isolated island World War II sites in the Pacific Ocean.

“It was so stunning to see these beautiful settings where brave men on both sides of the war were killed and maimed; amazing how such horrible things happened in this paradise,” added Coulson, who, along with his wife, has been visiting these hard-to-get places for the past 10 years.

“To be able to dig in that dirt and find war history you can’t find anyplace else because of how hard these islands are to access.”

Coulson made headlines himself a few years back returning a long lost dog tag to the grandson of a soldier who fought in Guadalcanal’s infamous Alligator Creek Battle.

 Provided photo.
Long lost dog tag to the grandson of a soldier who fought in Guadalcanal’s infamous Alligator Creek Battle.

“A young fisherman came up to me on the beach where the charge took place and sold me a rusty piece of metal for $11. It was not fake. Still had the serial number and name, Everett Hancock,” he said. “No specific address.”

“We were eventually able to deliver it to his grandson, Milton, in Wilmington, North Carolina.”

And so it goes in the world of heroes.

And that includes men like Coulson, a man who cared enough to bring a dead soldier’s life full circle.

Sneedlings . . .

Movie tone: In addition to the 10 best movies since WWII selected by columnist Richard Roeper, here are Sneed’s three favorite World War II movies from the 1940s- early 1950s: “Battleground” starring Van Johnson; “They were Expendable,” starring Robert Montgomery and John Wayne; and “Stalag 17,” starring William Holden. . . . Saturday’s birthdays: Drew Carey, 62; Jewel, 46; Joan Collins, 87. . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Patti LaBelle, 76; Tommy Chong, 82; and Tracy McGrady, 41.

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