These 17 COVID-Related Song Titles Help Me Feel Thankful in 2020

Trainers at the Seeing Eye school encourage us to talk to our dogs as they guide us. “Remind them you’re there,” they say. “It keeps them focused.” Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzger’s Stay at Home Advisory starts here in Chicago today, but we are still allowed to go outside with our dogs. Since the pandemic hit, I’ve been taking one, and sometimes two, hour long walks with Luna every day, and when I run out of things to talk to her about? I sing to her instead. With Thanksgiving coming soon, I’ve narrowed my sing-along list to titles that express things I am grateful for in this difficult year. Most are songs I listened to as a child and in my young adulthood, and my focus here is on the title of the song, not the lyrics. Here goes:

  1. Every Breath You Take (The Police) Before 2020, I took breathing for granted. Not anymore.
  2. Fever (written by Otis Blackwell and Eddie Cooley, performed by everyone from Peggy Lee to Beyoncé) High fevers are a common symptom of COVID, and when my husband Mike took sick on March 17, his fever spiked at 103 ° and stayed there. No breathing issues, however, and for that I am grateful.
  3. I Can’t Get Next to you (The Temptations) Doctors told us to stay home and assume Mike had COVID, he and I separated into what he referred to as our “two kingdoms” at home for a week before he collapsed from fever and was taken to the ER. Grateful they still had rooms at the hospital, and that we have health insurance.
  4. Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones) Sheltering in place became the norm, and I feel fortunate to have a roof over my head.
  5. We’re All Alone (Boz Scaggs) Mike tested positive for COVID in the hospital, and new Seeing Eye dog Luna and I were at home alone for ten days.
  6. Puppy Love (Donny Osmond) See above.
  7. And I Miss You (Everything but the Girl) I missed Mike, but was comforted and grateful to dedicated medical workers taking care of him.
  8. Telephone Line (Electric Light Orchestra) I worked on my skills with VoiceOver (the speech synthesizer that comes with every iPhone) to text and answer the phone when Mike called, or when caring doctors, social workers, friends and family contacted me to see how Mike was doing. Three cheers for assistive technology!
  9. Don’t Stand So Close to me (The Police) Determining just how far away six feet is without being able to see is not easy. I give it my best guess when out alone with Luna., and others we come across seem to understand my predicament.
  10. Signed, Sealed Delivered (Stevie Wonder) With Mike still in the hospital, friends and family members signed me up for gift cards at small local establishments, restaurants sealed hot meals into to-go bags, nearby friends picked them up and delivered them to the lobby of our apartment building.
  11. With a Little Help From My Friends (The Beatles)See above.
  12. Makes Me Wanna Holler (Marvin Gaye) columnist Heidi Stevens quoted Mike in a column she wrote for the Chicago Tribune when he was still hospitalized and I was waiting to be approved for a COVID test. Early on in the pandemic, COVID tests were hard to come by (even for someone like me, with a significant disability, Type 1 diabetes, and exposure to someone diagnosed positive). Very frustrating, and I admired journalists and reporters covering stories like ours to help readers better understand a disease none of us had encountered before.
  13. Here We Are (James Taylor) I finally get tested, Mike gets released from hospital, he spends three nights at a COVID Hotel, and finally comes home COVID-free.
  14. Dizzy (Tommy Roe) COVID-free doesn’t necessarily mean symptom-free. A “long hauler” now, Mike still gets dizzy while taking walks, but we both are thankful he’s home and improving.
  15. We’re Gonna Zoom, Zoom Zoom The theme song from a 1970s PBS children’s show becomes my theme song for the memoir-writing classes I lead. Not the same as being face-to-face, but glad for this safe way of keeping up with my writers “of a certain age” every week now. Also grateful to Easterseals for encouraging me to work from home.
  16. Long Ago and Far Away (Joni Mitchell) Running into old friends out and about, giving them hugs, traveling to visit out-of-town family and friends, having people in for dinner, visiting elementary schools to give presentations…Seems like decades ago now.
  17. Happy Together (The Turtles). Over the summer, neighbors started bringing chairs down to our local park, and on especially hot days little kids brought sprinklers, too. While wearing masks and social distancing we were able to catch up with each other. Now, if everyone follows the stay-at-home advisory long enough for numbers to start going down, maybe next year we’ll be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends inside again.

 

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