Archive for September, 2011

A PRECIOUS FRIEND

AJ loved this basket!

This afternoon my little buddy passed away peacefully.

AJ was 20 years old and led a charmed life in many ways. As the only cat in a household he received special privileges and lots and lots of love. When money was tight (and when wasn’t it?) he always got fed and pampered.

It wasn’t always like that. I really didn’t want to have a pet when he came into my life. A friend of my son’s was going overseas and had three kitties to find homes for. He was the last one she had and I was coerced to take him in.

A rambunctious little guy, he raced around my apartment, jumping on furniture and breaking knick-knacks with joyful abandon. I tried to give him away three or four times but he kept coming back to me. I guess I was meant to keep him – and I am extremely grateful to have realized how lucky I was to have him in my life.

He made me laugh and he loved me unconditionally and I have joked many times that he was with me longer than I was married! And sad to say, he was more loyal.

This Christmas IF I put up a tree, I will think of how much he loved to sleep under it and how he claimed it as his own personal space. Rest in peace, AJ. You will be missed.

AJ always claimed the Christmas tree as his own.

9/11 – Where were you?

Since the airwaves have been cluttered with heart wrenching stories and pictures all week of that infamous day – can it be – TEN years ago, I felt compelled to comment briefly on September 11, 2001.

My high school reunion in Maryland was held on September 8, 2001, and I am again traveling up there this week for another class get together.  My friend here in Florida and I had decided to drive up there that year and share the cost of a rental car rather than put the wear and tear on our personal vehicles.  Her son was living at that time in Arlington, Virginia, so we parted there and I headed on up to Maryland and had a lovely visit with old friends.

Picking her up in Arlington, we drove past the Pentagon on our way south, noting how close it was and how imposing.  Little did we know what the next day would bring.

We spent a lovely evening with her relatives in North Carolina and left very early the next morning (Tuesday, the 11th) and headed south.  We spent a few pleasant miles down the road, chattering happily and sharing stories of our individual visits.

Her cell phone rang and a friend asked if we had heard the news.  What?!!  We immediately turned on the car radio and were stunned and shocked by the news.  She tried to reach her son in Arlington and I tried to reach my son and daughter in Chicago.  (The radio reports suggested that the Sears Tower might be targeted next).  Since all the cell phone circuits were, of course, jammed, we were unsuccessful in our attempts and worried.

Listening to the radio reports in horror and in total shock, we continued down I-95 as if we were in a daze.  Since we weren’t watching TV, only our imaginations could picture the terrible sights as the news got continually more and more scary:  Both World Trade Center towers crumbled to the ground, the Pentagon in flames and a crashed hijacked jet down in Pennsylvania.  What in the world was going on?  We were two women alone not knowing whether the entire country was being attacked and where our children were.

I thanked God when my phone rang and I heard my son’s voice just about the same time as Linda heard from hers.  Everyone was okay, just sickened by the events of the morning and wondering what would happen next.  For us it was a flat tire!

We pulled onto a grassy area by the roadside and tried to call AAA.  When they asked us for out location, we were stumped – trees to the right of us and trees to the left of us, no road signs or any indication of where we were except somewhere on I-95 heading south!

It started to rain and large tractor-trailers were whizzing past us and, frankly, we were scared!  The brilliant operator with AAA said that one of us “girls” should get out and walk until we saw a sign to tell him where we were!  Guess again, Buster.  We were sitting tight; there might be guns in them thar’ trees.

THREE hours later a state policeman pulled up behind us and told us he had been looking for our car all over the interstate!!  Now that he had found us, he radioed AAA with our location.  Our hero.  Shortly thereafter, we did indeed get our tire changed and headed off on that tiny “donut” tire.  The gentleman who changed our tire said we should trade in the rental car as soon as possible as we were not able to drive on the little tire very far or over 50 miles per hour.

Calling the rental car company, we were told that their next location was at the Savannah, Georgia, airport (we were further down the road than we had realized in our shaken states), but, sorry all airports were closed.  Yike.  Soooo, we drove from mid-somewhere in South Carolina to the middle of Florida on that tiny tire, 50 miles per hour, and hazard lights flashing all the way home, stopping only for a difficult-to-swallow evening meal.  Huge trucks were bearing down on our butts the whole way, but somehow we made it home!

Arriving just after midnight on the 12th, we saw the horrifying pictures on television.  Hearing it on the radio gave us only a small picture of the devastation and we, needlessly to say, were not able to sleep despite our exhaustion.

We will never forget that day, as millions and millions of people throughout the world will also remember where they were.  I am so thankful that my friends and family were safe and pray that something like that never happens again.  Granted our country has changed a lot since then and will never truly be the same, but despite its many flaws it is still the greatest country on earth and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.  I love visiting other countries, but am always glad to return!

God Bless America.

 

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