Friday, September 9, 2011

Reflections on a Decade

I don't generally feel the need to commemorate September 11.  But it's inevitable that it brings up memories.  We can all remember where we were and what we were doing on that fateful day.  I was teaching seventh grade that year and a week away from major surgery on my neck.  I remember sitting in the classroom -- we were doing practice testing that day -- as another teacher came in to tell me that a plane had hit one of the Trade Center Towers.  A horrific accident, it must've been.  Until the news came of the second plane, and, later, the Pentagon and the crash in Shanksville, Pa. 

I remember watching my kids taking their tests and thinking how their world was about to change, how they hung in blissful ignorance for just a little longer than the rest of us.  Then the calls started to come to the classroom from the main office, "Can you send Nathan to the office, his mother is here to pick him up?"  "Layla's dad is here to get her." "Please have Carlos get his things and come to the office to go home for the day."  Slowly the students trickled out of class, confused and confusing those left behind. 

Later on, in the hallway, one student's parent, a woman from another country, had arrived to pick up her son.  As they were leaving, he asked what was going on and her reply was, "We have to go home.  They're bombing here like they did in our country."  I don't think it hit me until that moment just how horrible this had become -- and how all too commonplace it was for some.  That was the moment that my heart broke for the country we had been, and in a moment that day, the country we had become. 

In the following days, we saw the reawakening of the American spirit.  Without question, people streamed to the disaster areas wanting -- needing -- to help.  Blood donations were at a record high.  Everyone wanted to do something.  Anything.  We were down, but not out.  The American spirit was -- and is -- still strong.  And that is what I remember when I think of that day -- the strength of our country's spirit.  When it didn't matter your ethnic background, politics, color, religion, or beliefs . . . because we were all American.  We are all American -- and it did not break us.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Recess

I'm back.  Did you miss me?  Did you even notice I was gone? Wait, wait, don't answer that.  I took a brief summer haitus -- I figured if Congress can do it, I can too.  I've been participating in straw polls, kissing babies, giving speeches, invoking the Constitution, and eating corndogs at a variety of state fairs.  Oh wait, that wasn't me . . . that was Michele Bachman.  Sorry.  I often get the two of us confused. 

My summer wasn't quite as exciting as Michele's.  First off, I managed to make it another year without experiencing the joy that is the corndog.  I wasn't asked to give any speeches, and the only time I even came close to invoking the Constitution was one time when WH asked me to pick up my pajamas and I said, "It's a free country. I don't have to."  It didn't really go over so well, so I think I'm going to have to brush up on my knowledge of the Amendments so that I can find the one that allows me to leave my jammies unfolded on the floor and use it to my advantage. 

Otherwise, WH and I didn't do much at all.  We trekked up to the family beach house in Rehoboth, which is always fun.  We have a favorite little place on the boardwalk there, Gus & Gus'.  It's a greasy little Greek food stand with the best french fries you'll ever have (don't fall for the glitz and glamour of the Thrashers across the street, trust me).  I can also vouch for the fried chicken, steak and cheese, and BLT.  I don't know if they have corndogs or not, but the next time I'm down there, I'll be sure to check it out. 

There was the earthquake (another one!), which thwarted a work trip to New York.  Lucky me, I pulled up to Union Station just as everyone was streaming out, like in one of those horror movies from the 50s.  I ended up having to walk home to Adams Morgan from there, and by the time I got to about Thomas Circle my suitcase had gotten one flat tire, so I had to drag it like a maniac the second half of the way.  Needless to say, it was not a good day and I was not happy to have missed my dinner reservation at Les Halles. Harumph.

There was a hurricane (sort of), which provided fantastic entertainment in the form of the local news coverage.  Channel 4, the NBC affiliate here, oughta win an Emmy for their ability to cover the storm for 24-hours straight without taking themselves too seriously.  I should know, I watched the full broadcast.

And that's about all I've been up to while I've been away from the blog.  Pretty tragic, huh?  I know my image purports to be a glamorous life of travel, fast cars, and fast women, but this summer was a bit of a bust.  What kept me away from the blog?  Reruns of Law & Order.  But since my summer recess is over, I'll be back and (hopefully) churning out the stories that put the asses in the seats.  So c'mon back now, ya hear?