Love. Perhaps not the first word that comes to mind on this day, a Memorial to America’s most devastating tragedy. When I think back to seven years ago, I remember waking up to a morning that was glorious in Washington, DC – there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun was illuminating. I lived in an apartment with my sister in Pentagon City, in northern Virginia. At the time, I worked for a quaint wine shop in Dupont Circle. I got up, got ready for work and just after 9:30 a.m., or so, I was on the metro headed for L’Enfant Plaza, where I switched trains from the yellow line to the red line, leading to the Dupont Circle station. Only, just as we left the Pentagon station, just as we emerged from below ground to cross a bridge over the Potomac, in a sudden flash a bust of fire plummeted into a side of the Pentagon, thrusting a black plume of smoke into the unblemished sky. My first thought was that we were getting bombed. It was utter pandemonium on the metro, and in a flash, we were back underground, nearing the L’Enfant Plaza station.
To make a long, horrific day short, I was stranded in DC overnight. It was and remains to be a day of horror. I was stranded and feared we hadn’t seen the worst. A sleepless night kept me frightened about what might happen next – biochemical warfare? Bombs? More kamikaze airplanes falling from the sky? If it was a perfect sky that day, it was a perfect patchwork of glittering stars that night. And it was quiet, except for the occasional helicopter pounding through the night. We listened carefully to the silence, wondering if the sound of airplanes would cut through with sonic booms and possible explosion.
But, back to love. My parents celebrated their 42nd Anniversary today. How inconvenient to have a birthday, an anniversary, or any other happy occassion on such a dark, sad day. That was true for them in 2001. And perhaps in 2002, as well. But, since 9-11 became synonymous with a cowardly terrorist act on the Twin Towers and in our nation’s Capitol, my mom and dad have quietly celebrated their marriage without diminishing their respect for the nation. But, then again, they really celebrate their love and commitment to one another every day.
It amazes me how they have managed to treat each other with such honor and respect for nearly a half century. A reminder to me and my siblings about what it means to have a good marriage. It’s kind of bittersweet for me, because their marriage has been the benchmark for what I expect out of a potential marriage for myself. I want no less – to find a partner who loves, honors and respects me, who holds his tongue before lashing out before it’s too late to take unkind words back, who feeds my dreams and my soul, who stands strong by my side with an open hand reaching out to mine. This is the example they have given me. And it has proven to be a challenge to find and keep the right partner to share my life with – but I’m still grateful that theirs has been that shining example that continues to give me hope. I’d be so lucky to have a marriage like that.
Okay. Here’s a photo of my parents on their honeymoon. They married in Pennsylvania, in my mom’s hometown in the Lehigh Valley, and then headed across country. Here, they visited my dad’s family in Eugene, Oregon. My Uncle Ken and Aunt Kathie were married exactly one week before them, on September 4th, 1966.
Pictured on my grandparent’s front steps, Eugene, OR, clockwise from left: (back) my dad, Kurt, my mom, Marie, dad’s brother Uncle Ken (front) dad’s sister Aunt Irene and Ken’s wife, Aunt Kathie
This photo is of my mom and dad on the Oregon Coast, still on their honeymoon, with my Great Uncle Johnny. They were clam digging.
And, finally, this photo totally deserves another run. This is dedicated to my mom and pop – married on September 11, 1966. Here – they’ve been married five years, still two kids in love. God bless them!
As for my day. Well, it was a good one. Lot of self lovin’ going on, lot of positive energy. And a lot of big winning. I went to my friend Lota’s house to play poker. We started off with a nice spread of bountiful seasonal goodness - a Caprese salad, a garden vegetable salad and I made my Pico de Gallo with three different heirloom tomatoes. Then we cleared the table and began playing poker. I hadn’t played in years. It was so much fun.
And, one of the players brought Red Bridge gluten-free beer. I had a bottle and began losing on five card draw, seven card stud, and then my luck turned for the better with a fun game called Aces Duces, which I kept calling AC/DC. I won several pots and took home $10-15 dollars in quarters. We all had so much fun we decided to do this semi-regularly.
Bottle of Red Bridge gluten-free beer with some of my winnings…
And, to end a note on love…well, like poker, it’s a gamble. Okay, that’s pretty bad. But, if it were true, and if it were anything like last night, then that would make me a winner at love. And that’s cool with me.