After yet another night troubled by dreams of COVID-19, I will later today take a crack at forecasting the large changes I foresee as possible outcomes of the virus, but first, I should like to share with you a lovely moment from last evening. It may lift your spirits. A word of background explanation is necessary.
I have a stuffed bear, who sleeps with me and even on one occasion accompanied me to New York for my Columbia class. He is a pretty standard Winnie the Pooh bear, complete with little red coat. His name is Howard. Howard is named after a famous movie star, Jonah’s bear in the almost forty year old romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. The movie is, among other things, a cinematic homage to the great old Cary Grant Deborah Kerr tearjerker An Affair to Remember. It ends, appropriately, on the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building, where Jonah has gone in hopes of finding Meg Ryan. After he leaves, Ryan finds Jonah’s forgotten backpack with his bear in it, and in the romantic conclusion to the movie, she returns it and asks Jonah the bear’s name. “This is Howard,” he says, and the three go off together to what the Director, Nora Ephron, makes clear will be a happily ever after.
Yesterday evening, having watched as much news commentary as I could stomach, I lay in bed surfing the web, looking for anything to distract me. Somewhere in the clutch of movie channels provided by my Spectrum subscription, I stumbled on the last 40 minutes of Sleepless in Seattle. I watched it happily with Howard perched on my chest. Howard was overjoyed, or at least as overjoyed as a stuffed bear can be.