In the dead of the first COVID winter, I would walk home evenings from my midtown office building instead of taking the subway. Vaccines for COVID were not yet available, and I did not think the risk was warranted to ride in a subway car when physical distancing for an airborne virus was called for. My trek home every evening took me by the Ed Sullivan theater where Stephen Colbert currently has his show. I knew that Stephen was taping his show during the week from this building, and so I occasionally waited outside the side entrance wondering if I would ever see him as he left the building.

One evening I hit the jackpot. I stood across the street. Stephen and his wife walked out of the building to enter their vehicle. There was only one other person on that street in the dead of winter, in the middle of a dark evening. That was me. I was so excited, I didn’t know how to react! I gestured a gigantic hand wave, like Little Orphan Annie. Yes, the sun will come out tomorrow. This dramatic, comic gesture caught Stephen’s attention, and he waved back from across the street from behind his vehicle in kind, a big Annie hand wave.

During the second COVID spring and summer, I switched from walking to biking home using the rental bicycles available in New York City. Then one evening, I decided to walk instead, so that I could spend time talking on the phone. I took my usual route past the Ed Sullivan theater and decided that although Stephen had already returned to taping his show again with a live audience, I was there at the right time to catch him again maybe. Surprisingly, I waited only five minutes and out walked Stephen Colbert and his wife from the same side entrance. From my same location across the street I gave another gigantic Annie hand wave. Stephen Colbert saw me again, smiled, and gave me another big Annie hand wave back.