Bairdford, PA - 9:49 a.m. September 11, 2001
Finally, I was given a suitable day to work outside, sunny, but not
too hot. The ground wasn't excessively wet in spite of the recent rain,
and was drying almost as rapidly as the sun was rising. I had everything
I needed on site to install the lawn at my daughter's newly built home;
my rock-hound, power rake, eight yards of rich dark top-soil and a hundred
pounds of Kentucky bluegrass. She was going to have the nicest lawn in
her sub-division - does, as a matter of fact.
The rock-hound was cranky from lack of use; I had to prime the carburetor
with gasoline to get it started but after a few pulls on the cord and
huge billowing cloud of blue smoke the machine roared to life. I began
walking behind the mechanical dirt eater making north to south passes
along the edge of what would become my daughter's back yard.
I felt like a modern day pioneer, walking behind the contemporary version
of a horse drawn plow. Actually, that's what I was thinking when I looked
to the south and my daydream was ended by the sight of a plane, flying
a little lower than I thought it should be.
"I wonder where he's going?" I thought to myself, watching the
eastbound plane that was heading away from the Pittsburgh International
It wasn't unusual to see planes flying at that altitude as they were on
their approach to Greater Pitt but this one was obviously heading away
from the airport.
The jet was heading east by southeast and soon was gone from sight.
I get chills just thinking about what must have been going on inside that
plane while I was trudging along behind my machine, enjoying the work
and the sunny day.
"Maybe he was taking off," I thought, and then got back to removing
stones from the soil.
The tilling and rock removal was going well, I had built up a substantial
pile of rocks at the end of what would soon be a lawn, when my daughter
Bridget, two weeks away from giving birth to my third grandson walked
out onto the deck in the back of her new house.
"You need to come in here and look at the television."
Now, I'm the kind of person that once I start something, I don't like
to stop until I'm finished, so I really wasn't too interested in shutting
down my machine and going in to watch television, however, the look on
her face told me this was more serious than anything Regis Philbin might
have to say.
"Why?" I asked.
"A plane crashed into the World Trade center
and the Pentagon
saying one crashed in Pennsylvania."
* * * * *
Like most Americans, I had not forgotten, but buried the grief and anger
from that day in my sub-conscience as a form of mental self-defense. I
now think re-living that horrendous day may be necessary from time to
time so that we never forget.