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We shared last week about the group of Nolan Elementary School third-graders who sent handwritten thank-you notes to our health care workers helping patients overcome the coronavirus.

As great as the notes were, the responses from the health care professionals were every bit as heartwarming.

Among the dozens of photos of doctors and nurses holding the notes with ear-to-ear grins so big they are apparent behind N-95 masks were a couple of thank-yous for the thank you.

From Joani Lea Jack's Facebook page came this: "Thank you Nolan Elementary 3rd graders! Your letters lifted this pediatrician's spirit. Never, ever doubt the difference you can make in the world young friends. You are the reason we do what we do."

 

Corona's current calendar

It's increasingly difficult to think that school will reconvene before August. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the most televised doctor since Hawkeye Pierce or Doogie Howser, is cautiously predicting that the 2020-21 school year could happen on schedule.

But he wisely added the caveat that our new normal might not look the same, whether we are talking about school, sports or business.

"My optimistic side tells me that we'll be able to renew," he told reporters earlier this week at a White House news conference, "to a certain extent — but it's going to be different, remember now, because this is not going to disappear."

The critical word in that sentence is "different." The critical question moving forward, though, is more how than when.

How could school be different? The options are limitless. To their credit, state school leaders offered a survey to elicit feedback from folks with a stake in public school systems.

The survey is open until Monday. The current version has three questions and a space for comments. That's great. I hope every parent who is alerted to the survey fills it out. Let the state folks know where you stand.

 

Speaking of Dr. Fauci ...

While we're here, has there been a bigger breakout star in a time of crisis than the man we all look to with respect and reverence like he's a cross between Marcus Welby and George Washington?

But his sense of humor has also been sneaky great. Asked earlier this week who should play him whenever his role is recreated on an upcoming "Saturday Night Live," his answer was spot-on.

"Brad Pitt, of course," Dr. Fauci deadpanned.

 

Familiar restaurants in danger

We all know the restaurant industry has been hit as hard as any financially during the pandemic.

According to YahooFinance!, some very familiar names and chains are in even deeper trouble because of pre-existing circumstances.

O'Charley's (12 closures in 2019), Ruby Tuesday (26 closures in '19 and 51 in '18) and TGI Fridays (34 closures in '19) were among some of the chains that entered 2020 hoping for reversals before our new painful normal arrived on their menus.

 

Obit observations

There were two obituaries that especially stood out to me this week.

The first one was for Mary Watson, who died Tuesday. She was, as the post noted, 93 1/2.

Amid the touching parts of the tribute, Watson checked one of my boxes for a sure-fire life well lived.

Watson had multiple nicknames — Mamaw and Butch — which means she was clearly a lot of things to a lot of people.

The other obit was for Eugene "Corky" Parrott, who lived full lives — one on the ground and the other in the sky — before dying this week at the age of 91.

His military exploits were amazing. His circle of family unquestionably impressive. He was cleared to operate more planes than half of Delta.

And then this sentence jumped off the page: "He had been everywhere in the world — twice!!" Wow. Just wow.

Stay safe, friends, and Happy Easter.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com and follow him on Twitter at @jgreesontfp.

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Jay Greeson
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