Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
Seed Packet, September 18
Watermelon Whine, September 24
Sorry to have been so uncommunicative. I kept meaning to write, but lots happened; too much to can, to write, not enough time to catch up on things, and then last Tuesday happened.
It was horrible. There's no other way to describe it. As the day wore on I sat there thinking, trying to see beyond the horror and to understand just how bad it was going to be.
A friend of my father's was in the first tower that was hit. He was on the telephone with his wife, felt the impact. She turned on the TV and told him he was right, a plane had hit the building, it was on fire, and he'd better get out.
He was on the 76th floor, told everyone to get out, and started the journey down, pausing to get his briefcase on the 72nd floor and to help some people stuck in an elevator, alerting floor after floor. He made it out, crossed the river on the ferry, and called his wife. Dad heard about it and sent me email.
So I knew although the toll would be high, it wasn't as high as I had initially feared.
I was also amazed that the towers held as long as they did. They were constructed to bear the impact of a plane, but back in those days planes were what, half the size of today's? Serious engineering.
Serious heroism, too. So many people rushed to help some losing their lives. What noble people there are in this world.
My concern now, beyond anguish and compassion for the victims and their families, is for the future, and what will challenge us next. The way I see it, our first big challenge will be to honor the dead by making sure no more innocent lives are lost.
On the television and in the streets I've heard people saying that it is worth a few civilian lives to "take out" the people who were behind this abomination. I didn't notice that they were volunteering themselves or their loved ones to be among the "few" casualties.
Who wants more children, more grandmothers, husbands, wives, sisters, friends to be killed? Afghans or Americans, innocent people are innocent people. Heck, the women of Afghanistan aren't even allowed to go out in public without a male escort much less vote. They have no influence over their government, nor does the old goat farmer, the street cleaner, the guy who delivers the bread.
The people behind this should be hunted down and punished, but no one else should be. There has been enough death.
It's going to be a long rough road. Economic downturn is a possibility. There might be more incidents we don't know. Nothing will ever be the same.
So let's do what we can in the name of peace: donate money, time, blood, care, not just to the people directly hurt, but to everyone and anyone we can. Start in your own town help a kid to learn to read, make a warm quilt for someone, find ways to house the homeless, pick up some litter, smile at people, remind people that revenge is a boomerang it always comes back.
Let's spread peace, seed by seed, and make sure it grows, crowding out death and hate.Terry
As I touched on in my previous letter, it was a busy summer. In early August Denny and I flew to Las Vegas to see my sister, my grandnieces (who were spending the summer with their grandparents), and my niece who came just for the week.
Las Vegas has changed a lot since the last time I saw it, and ecologically, I don't think it's for the better, but we did look through a couple of casinos, and watched the beautiful fountains at the Bellagio.
Meg took me on a tour of Red Rock Canyon, which was lovely. It was so good to see desert and mountains again. I didn't see the wild burros the area is known for but Meg pointed out some little dark blobs along the road which she swore was wild burro poop. We chose not to stop and investigate.
It was very hot most of the time we were there, and we had two small children to contend with, so we skipped much of the tourist stuff. Denny found some wonderful books and Meg and I got a chance at some of the fabric stores.
The best part of the day was early evening, when the swimming pool was shaded by the house, and we could jump in the pool. It's not a big pool, and with 4-5 adults, two water sprites and some inflatable rafts, it was crowded, but I haven't had so much silly fun in years.
Meg cooked several great dinners. Denny and I had breakfast at the Sonic Drive-in the second day we were there (I strongly suggest for those of you who are curious, that a chili cheese dog with mustard and onions at 9:30 am might be a wee bit much to ask of any stomach over 50) and contented ourselves with strange microwave breakfast items thereafter.
We stayed in an extended stay hotel, which was like a small one-bedroom apartment with a full kitchen. Meg loaned us linens. Nothing else is provided except for a single roll of toilet paper! It was cheap and comfortable. An interesting cultural experience all around. But it was great to see the girls, Hyacinth and Zoe, and of course Bethe, their mother, and Meg and Alan. The girls behaved very well, and my goodness, they're smart! Bethe is going back to college, which makes me very very happy.
We got back and before we knew it was time for the State Fair, where we admired many things, including the Mark Trail Crow Frightening Society's entry this year, in the form of Luigi the cook, complete with an illuminated flashing sign made from a pizza box and a blackboard with a recipe for cooking crow. The detail was stunning, but the judges apparently weren't into details (like, you know, some of the rules) and Luigi got second place, but true art is rarely appreciated until later.
One big lesson I learned this year will be with us for a long time. Don't put a dark green watermelon on a dark green carpet in a corner of the room where you rarely go. Why? You will be so busy canning tomatoes and making salsa (which is why it wasn't in the kitchen where it belonged there was no room in there) that you will forget the watermelon and eventually wonder what that funny smell is. I thought it might be mice and was quite worried that they had gotten into the stucco and were gnawing through the walls.
No, it was the watermelon, which was gently rotting from the bottom while remaining dark green and innocent on top. Sure, I had vacuumed, but not that area, since we rarely go over there behind the table, and I was darned busy.
The humiliation was great. I am not a good housekeeper, I know that, but this was so bad even I was astounded. I think I got most of it out of the carpet. The wood underneath is slightly stained, but will probably be okay. The watermelon is in the compost heap, entertaining the worms.
Learn from my mistake, my friends, and beware the camouflaged fruit. If only it had been a striped watermelon....
Still in awe of the strength and resilience and generosity of our people, and hoping for peace and no more wasted lives,Terry
Copyright © 2001 by Terry A. Garey.