morning, I was wrestled from a deep sleep by the ring of my phone, and
the upset voice of a friend. Her alarm had failed to wake her and she
had missed her flight to Boise. After consoling her, I suggested that
she try to catch a later flight and call me, so I would know when to
pick her up. However, rather than my waiting for her when she deplaned,
I would park, read a book, and begin driving by the terminal until I
spotted her after she picked up her luggage at the carousel. Placing the
phone it its cradle, I drifted off to neverland…until the phone rang
again. My brother-in-law called from California and asked if I was
watching TV, I answered with a "No." "Turn on your
TV," he calmly replied. I did, and my world was altered forever.
plane had struck one of the World Trade Center towers and chaos reigned.
Ignoring the beautiful fall weather, I was glued to the tube, barely
comprehending what was transpiring before my eyes. After viewing so many
Hollywood special effects on the Silver Screen, what appeared live
seemed less than real, except for the fact I know it was. The horrific
idea of so many innocent human beings experiencing such a tragedy was
almost more than my mind, and heart, could comprehend or bear. When the
second plane hit, shock turned to fear and anger, when I realized that
this was more than an accident, it was a planned terrorist act.
break from the unceasing visions of carnage and destruction, I took my
dog for a walk out by Trail Creek, seeking solace in the bright and
beautiful Sun Valley autumn day. I met a woman walking her dog. Though I
didn’t know her, we talked a while, and inevitably, the conversation
turned to the past day’s events. With the sun dancing its reflections
off the rippled surface of Trail Creek, and the aspen leaves quaking
against the pure blue sky, I learned that the pilot of the American
Airlines plane, which had been flown into a tower, was a good friend of
her husband, recently retired as a pilot from American. For decades I,
as many other residents of this valley had, cherished the idea inside
myself, that I was somehow removed from the vents outside our special
Shangri La. Tragic events of nature and man elsewhere rarely intervened
in our placid lifestyle. Now that appeared to have been wishful
thinking. We are truly connected.
Chris had the luxury of sharing his consternation about the events with
his mother, who just happened to be visiting him in Boulder, Colorado.
My brother, sisters, parents and extended family were all over 800 miles
away in California, and too far to hug and share the tragedies with.
Through surrounded by many friends, it was the first time I felt true
loneliness away from family, as I’m sure many others in the area did.
anniversary of September 11, 2001, is observed world-wide, I’ll be
visiting with my parents in Utah, returning them for one last look at
the Topaz internment camp near Delta, where we had spent three long
years behind barbed wire, as a result of The Day of Infamy on December
7, 1941, when the other great tragedy occurred. My solace will be in
sharing our last big family trip, though grieving for the relatives that
will never share one with their loved ones.