Tuesday I watched it on tv. All those souls dying so horribly. I didn't
know what to do. I asked the affiliate if I could help. "Come
on down," said Carlos. I answered phones at "Action 7 News."
My daughter Hope called her Dad from school, called me, called me
again. I brought her to KOAT-TV where she answered phone calls about
school closings, mall closings, prayer services, blood drives and
rumors of inflated gas prices.
Hope's high school open house was cancelled. My daughter Emma rang
my cell phone a half dozen times. Emma seldom calls. We decided to
I watched TV, the teenagers got on the phone and the web.
Wednesday night I drove with two tv crews to southern New Mexico,
to do live shots with the wife and stepson of a flight attendant who
died on United 175. Trucks hauled west as we traveled east on a wet
road with no center line. Lightning flavored the air with ozone. Late
that night I talked with a dear friend reporting from the WTC. "How
was it?" "It was okay." Usually he answers in long
descriptive paragraphs. "How are you?" "I'm tired."
Thursday it poured all day in Alamogordo, a town so small the Wal-Mart
is listed in the Yellow Pages under "Restaurants." Half-flown
flags were "sobbing wet." Our satellite signal was sometimes
weakened by the torrent. "Rain fade," the truck operator
"Are you a producer?" asked a stranded employee from Lockheed,
in the lobby of the Best Western. "Yes, could you tell because
I'm on the cell phone?" "I could tell because you're pacing."
Rebecca Marchand and her 20 year old stepson Joshua talked about Al
Marchand, the husband and Dad they will never see again. Al was a
rookie flight attendant, his second career after a lifetime of service
as a well-liked cop in Alamogordo. Matt Lauer interviewed Becky and
Josh live from New York in the morning. Tom Brokaw spoke with them
in the afternoon. We tried to set up a shot with Brian Williams. We
couldn't connect by phone to the New Jersey control room. We had to
come "down off the bird" and return on a different satellite
but it was going to take awhile because of the phones. Becky said,
"I want to stay but I have to be somewhere." Somewhere was
the funeral home.
We drove home that night, stopping at the Owl Café for a green
chile cheeseburger "heart attack in a sack." Life is short.
Friday after the headlines I turned off the television. My neighbor
gave me two very cute black kittens that crawled under the hay pallets
in the shed. I went to the football game at Manzano High where Hope
plays in the marching band.
Patriotic banners dissolved in the rain. It slowed to a drizzle in
time for the pre-game parade of decked out shopping cart "floats."
"2B= or not2B/= What is the Question?" proclaimed the freshman
float. The band played the school song, and there were fireworks from
the parking lot above the end zone. A color guard presented the flag
while the band delivered a punched up national anthem. We sang.
While Manzano played West Mesa High one or two planes crossed the
sky. Everyone noticed but no one remarked. When the pep band played
"Jungle Boogie," there was a part written in the piece for
a four-bar scream. My daughter does the scream because hers is the
loudest. Friday I dreaded that long high piercing vibrato from my
child. She screamed, my eyes stung, the band played, the stadium rocked.
ROTC members did push-ups after every home team touchdown, pom poms
twirled, fireworks fired, cheerleaders back-flipped and kids in the
grandstand danced to the school song. At half-time the marching band
marched, the homecoming court was coronated, and the sky cleared.
The home team returned to the field to win the game.
We picked up pizza and went home. Our little dog Little-y was missing.
We didn't even look for her.
Saturday Emma went to her job in the mall.
Sunday I went riding with buddies from the neighborhood. We saw a
coyote, a red-tail hawk and a tiny southwestern reptile called the
horny toad. I felt my shoulders sunburn.
My kids took their Dad to dinner for his birthday.
Monday I made matzo ball soup and a braided bread for the Jewish New
Year. We lit memorial candles for each of the flights.
The dog is still missing.
I know nothing.