That September Day

I, like most people I know, remember everything about September 11, 2001. How I felt, where I was, the emotion of watching the events unfold – all of it as though it just happened yesterday.

I also remember a conversation I had with my older brother Todd. His wedding to his wife Laura was scheduled for days later and I was curious if that would still be taking place.

“Everything is planned and paid for. We have no choice at this point,” he said.

And so it was.

His soon-to-be in-laws rented a car and headed out within hours of the towers falling knowing that their flight would never make it. Plenty of people didn’t make it out for the wedding. It was to be the third time EVER in my life that all seven of my dad’s kids were supposed to be in the same place and the same time and that just wasn’t going to happen.

But, everyone was alright. Our family, Laura’s family, every one was accounted for and safe. That’s really all that mattered.

And what happened that weekend was the strangest mixture of celebration, joy, sadness, and grief. The time between the evening we all convened for the reception dinner to the morning after the wedding when we all departed to head home was a blessing and a welcome distraction.

There’s no way Todd and Laura’s wedding wasn’t going to be a good time. The Brokaw’s and the Cratin’s wouldn’t have it any other way. But the gravity of the world around us made the event epic.

Vows were exchanged in The Garden of the Gods (a magical place no matter the circumstances) and the reception was at the beautiful  Cliff House.

It was an open bar and Todd told the bartender to alert him when the tab had reached $2,000. We reached that and surpassed it in 45 minutes. “Let it ride,” he told the guy. We were ready to let go and party!

What ensued was a complete release of everything going on around us. It was so fun to watch my dad dance with his ex-wife while my mom danced with her husband. And to watch my sister challenge Laura’s crazy uncle to a dance off while balancing drinks on their heads. He won, but only because he was using a heavy tumbler while she was dancing with a long-neck. The whole night was one big letting go and celebration of two of our favorite people and their lives together.

The next morning brought a table full of people not at their best but delighting in each other nonetheless. Stories were told of misguided hook-ups and explanations of what had happened the night before. We goaded my very hungover little brother with bacon while my mom packed her things forgetting her jewelry (the good stuff) and most of her unmentionables.

And as we departed we all knew what was waiting. More stories of death and destruction. More sadness and disbelief. But we were all glad for the reprieve we’d been granted.

So that’s a big part of the events of September 2001 for me and my family. A good memory mixed in with the bad. Is that a metaphor for life or what?

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2 Comments

  1. dobro101@aol.com

     /  September 11, 2012

    This brings tears to my eyes. You, again, have shown your gift for ‘getting it’. Love ya ~ Ma

    Reply

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