In was September 11, 2001.

I’d moved back from Manhattan about a week earlier, my tail between my legs. I hadn’t lasted 6 months in NY. I was ashamed, but also relieved to be back in Iowa.

I was crashing at Chris’ house, but he and his roommates were gone, playing some shows at Jimmy Buffet’s place (weird detail, huh?) in Florida.

So I was alone in the house when I woke up, turned on the TV, and saw that the world had fallen apart.

I’d been at the WTC a few weeks earlier, for a Laura Cantrell show, and somehow that detail drove me nuts. As though somehow, listening to country music, I should have been able to sense what was coming. As though any of us ever know what’s coming…

I called my family.  My friends in NY.  I was able to get some of them on the phone.  I was scared for everything.

That was also the summer I published my very first bit of prose in an actual magazine (No Depression).  That was the summer Chris and I decided to “make it work.”  That was the summer a lot of things happened.  Only none of them seemed to matter much after that day.  In the retelling.

I don’t listen to Laura Cantrell  anymore, but I can’t stop thinking about her today.

Let’s be honest.  There have been lots of horrible events since that day. Millions have died. Natural disasters and terrorist actions. This single event is not bigger than those events.

And yet, in my own memories, it always will be. Bigger.

I felt safe, and then I didn’t.

It wasn’t until later that I found out a classmate of mine had gone down in Pennsylvania, on flight 93.  Liz. We danced in the school plays together.  I was horrified.  That part still feels unreal, impossible. Trying to imagine that plane. “Let’s roll.”

Nobody I knew died in NY. Still, it’s still the towers I see in my mind.


And yet, I can’t help thinking today… how much worse it could have been.  As awful as it was, the world did NOT end that day.  Here we are, drinking our coffee, hugging our kids, avoiding our work in favor of a blog post…

The American dream.

Love to all.

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