Before & After

It’s been a while since we talked about … this.

How are you doing?

Really!  We’d like to know so, after you finish reading this post, please feel free to leave a comment.  This moment didn’t come with anything resembling a clear, readable, road map and we’d love to hear/read any navigation tips you have that may have helped make this journey a little easier for you.

As for us, while we try to go for an occasional walk around our neighborhood (with masks) we’re still, for the most part, staying “safer at home.”  Of course, we’re aware that some areas and businesses are easing restrictions and rush hour traffic is starting to become a thing again.  Not surprisingly, there are no shortage of opinions on how good or how bad an idea all of that is or how fast or how slow it should happen … if at all, at this point.

Loud though they may be from all corners, the only thing all of the opinions have made clear to us is that, for this country, at this time, this is not a “one size fits all” moment.

Obviously, we’re not doctors and we’re certainly not experts on this (Who is?!?!) and we’re just doing what we feel is right for us, right now.

For what it’s worth, we thought we’d share just a few random thoughts on things we miss from before and questions about what happens afterthis.  Your mileage may vary but, from our vantage point, here are some memorable objects still visible in our rear view mirror and some hazy, unclear, images on the horizon.

From Before, we miss …


Shaking hands!

Going for a walk without masks.

While walking, being able to stop and talk up close with neighbors.

Our dear neighbors of over 25 years who, sadly, died from the virus.

Getting caught up in the “in-person” adrenaline between artist and audience that creates a magical live performance at City Winery, in Chicago or Space, in Evanston, two of our favorite music venues in the Chicago area.

Experiencing the anticipation of an opening week movie as we critique all the trailers leading up to it in a darkened theater with Steve’s brother, Lee.

Getting a serious case of G.A.S. (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome) and actually touching some of those magical things made of wood & steel while hanging out with Terry Straker and his talented staff at Guitar Works, in Evanston, Il.

Steve in his happy place with Steve Siculan & Terry Straker at Guitar Works

Regardless of how the game is going, marveling at the chemistry between Jason Benetti and Steve Stone as they broadcast Chicago White Sox games.

Enjoying the conversation and camaraderie while sitting at the bar of our favorite Outback restaurant.  It’s the closest thing to a “Cheers” bar we’ve ever seen.  Or, the instant warmth and hugs we get from Rosa and Luciano, owners of our favorite Italian restaurant, Da Luciano’s, in River Grove.

Having our, long-time, friends Gary & Sue over for an evening of … whatever.

Grocery shopping without “suiting up” with gloves, wipes and a list to make it a quick in and out of the store.

Sitting on our porch at our home in Panama City Beach.

Her & Him porchin’ in PCB

& After …

Will our new “normal” mean the loss of many of our favorite “mom & pop” small business?

Will our new “normal” include more of us permanently working from home?

Will we still be hesitant to get together?

Will we still be hesitant to get close?

Will we still be hesitant to hug?

Will we still … be hesitant?

Will we still BE together? (The collective “we,” not the two of us.  Trust us, we’re the one thing we’re sure of!)

So …

Well, there you have it, just a few of the things from our before and after lists.  We’d love to see what’s on yours.

Like you, we have many more questions and, depending on how long this continues, we may add to these random thoughts in future posts.

But, like you, we hope the after gets here sooner rather than later and that we’re all around and healthy as those hazy images clear up and give us some answers.

For now, feel some virtual, safe-distanced, elbow bumps from us.

Stay safe … and don’t forget to wash your hands!


About steveandjohnnie

Award winning Chicago Broadcasters, inducted into WGN radio's Walk Of Fame. Authors of the Les Paul memoir, "A Little More Les." You'll find even more about us at
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10 Responses to Before & After

  1. Jo Krieger says:

    The uncertainty, is it safe to go there, etc. who prepared my food at a restaurant, just a feeling of lost freedom to come and go as I’m used too. I wear a mask, Doctors suggestion and I really don’t mind it. Miss you in the early morning.

  2. Mark Orr says:

    S & J,

    You guys are right on!!! Since the pandemic or the virus occurred I decided to retire. I have always said that I would “leave the door open” and maybe do something else that I WANT to do, on MY terms. I have always WANTED to do more philanthropic work. I consider myself to have had a good life, and been very blessed. I work with feeding the hungry through our church and am able to attend Mass almost everyday. While I am not a wealthy person, I am able to “give back” with my time and talent. As human beings sometime our time is more valuable than our money. Seeing so many people I know pass saddens me. It gives new meaning to the phrase “live each day as if it was your last” I have told you before how much your time At WGN meant to me before. Yo made us think, laugh, and cry. There were many happy proud moments.

    These are certainly different times we live in. I have always said the 50’s and 60’s were great times to grow up. We all had time to grow up and live in more or less peaceful times. The times we live in know are different….. not sure I would want to start over. Just my 2 cents


  3. Reenie Prine says:

    First let me say that I am truly grateful to occasionally read something from one or both of you to know that you are doing as well as you can under these circumstances. I am happy to be here in Florida with mostly sunshine and the beach. Trust me when I say, News reports of people overcrowding the beaches is an exaggerated lie. I have been to many beaches and people do keep their distance. For my own mental well being, I have stopped watching the News and I find myself spending less and less time with social media. This has done me a world of good.

    • It’s always good to hear from you, Reenie. We’re glad you’re doing well, too. As you know, Florida is a big state and, sadly, your experience is far different from what we’re hearing and seeing from our friends in the Panhandle.  In fact, as much as we miss it, it’s probably going to be some time before we make the trip from Chicago back down to PCB. Even though local officials and law enforcement are doing their best, the sugar white sands have been very crowded. Just a couple days ago, 12 people had to be rescued before noon along a mile and a half span of the beach. One 10 year old died. This happened on a double red flag day with helicopters flying over the beach and Police & Fire telling people to get out of the water due to the dangerous rip tide. We have friends in both the PCB Fire and Police departments who confirmed the accuracy of media reports from that area.  In fact, they are in regular communication with local news media.  They are frustrated with the overcrowding on the beaches and people refusing to listen to reason whether it is to stay out of the dangerous waters or social distancing. Again, glad to hear from you. Stay safe.

  4. IrishMary says:

    Lucky You, Johnnie, being safe at home with a guitarist extraordinaire to serenade you! My guitarist is serenading in heaven and I miss that, and him, so much. In early February, I was called for jury duty. The holding room for all the jurors sounded like an infirmary, and that was in the early Covid-19 scare days. I worried about it Then- everyone was so sick in the jury room. I thought one of them had the death rattle it was so bad. I went home and isolated directly after. So I’ve been staying “safe at home” ever since. I was lucky, not even a cold from it, but I’m a little stir crazy about now. I’ve been out walking a bit, though my fellow walkers don’t like the mask “suggestions,” so I haven’t even tried to attempt a restaurant. The local restaurants have been very creative with deliveries, so I hope they’re doing ok. I wonder when and what “after” will be. It certainly won’t be as carefree as it was “before.”

  5. Hope says:

    I miss some things, but not handshakes. I hope something else becomes the norm. Even would get a bit anxious at the sign of peace at Mass. Of course, it’s better than kissing a stranger in the mouth which was the ancient way of doing that. Like hugs from people I know, though.

    • IrishMary says:

      I so agree with you! Maybe our new society can adopt the bow, when greeting strangers. We can keep the hugs for those we know and love : -)

  6. Pamela Brown says:

    The thing I miss most then and now, is you on the radio. Your consoling voices always made everything better. I do appreciate Nick for leaving the virus out of his program:)

  7. I, too, am very worried about small business. My drive to work is littered with vacant store fronts which were once home to decades-old operations. Glad you guys are well. Sort of wondering how many guitars Steve has in Florida–seems like moving them back and forth would prove complicated. Stay well guys!

    • It’s been inspiring to see how Terry Straker has gone out of his way to make sure he doesn’t have to cut any of his staff at Guitar Works and that they are taken care of. We have more small business owner friends in Illinois and other states who are struggling with the same kind of situation. Like you, we keep our fingers cross that they’ll be able to survive … this. I used to bring a guitar or 2 back and forth, but now I have a few that live in Panama City Beach full-time. They’re not happy that we haven’t seen them in much too long a time. We’re not either.

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