Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gulf Water Under the Bridge

A couple of years ago I blogged briefly about where I was when 9/11 happened.  It was a post that I named after one of my favorite songs, September Song.  I first heard September Song as a child.  My sister and I would spend hours dressing up in mom’s clothes and listening to mom and dad’s record albums.  The album which contained September Song was entitled Music for Lovers and had a photograph of a suave adult couple having an intimate dinner at a crystal-laden table by candle light on it.  The woman was half-facing the camera (cause she was leaning forward and looking deep into the eyes of her black-suited companion) and was wearing a Dior-like 40s dress.   She had glossy, Veronica Lake hair, and I wanted to be her.  The melody of September Song made me sad for no reason, so I equated the entire Music for Lovers album as melancholy, and I exhibited the appropriate amount of melancholy while acting out the album cover art in one of my mom’s fancy dresses…

Sorry, I digress. Back to my story.

9/11 happened while I was living in the Capital Hill neighborhood of Denver.  My sister and brother-in-law (then, boyfriend) were visiting.  After the planes and fire and rubble and dust of the morning, September Song kept coming to mind the rest of the afternoon, thus the title of that blog in 2009.  But the song Concrete and Clay by Unit 4+2 also came to mind (a 1965 Brittish hit; see the Rushmore film soundtrack).  It is a catchy, upbeat tune about love.  Nothing sad about that.  But the chorus, taken out of context and plunked into the midst of 9/11, lends a different feeling (the video is also a little eerie in the fact that the band sings and plays the tune from what appears to be a building construction site...a site that is reminiscent of what Ground Zero would look like after much of the rubble of the Twin Towers was cleared away):

"The sidewalks in the street, the concrete and the clay
Beneath my feet begins to crumble, but love will never die
Because we'll see the mountains tumble, before we say goodbye"

Really?  I don’t know what to say.  So, I’ll leave it at that.

There have been a number of 9/11 anniversaries that have come and gone, punctuated for me by a reflection on those whose lives were lost (many), and those whose lives were changed forever (all of us). But this anniversary of 9/11 was more significant to me.  Not only was it the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, but also my family had planned a vacation at the coast without realizing that the anniversary would fall during our time with each other.  There were two things about this vacation that made the significant-ness more…well, significant:  1) my sister had secured a condo for all of us in Ft. Walton Beach, FL, which is where we used to spend our summers together at the Greenwood Inn as a family (owned at the time by a couple from Gadsden); and 2)  Vicki, Tony and I were all together again on 9/11, which was something that had not happened since THE 9/11. 

Now, a lot of water (both literal and figurative) has flowed under the proverbial bridge in the twenty-four-odd years since we vacationed as a family in Florida.  Just to mention the most obvious:  1) We have a new addition to our family, my nephew Alex.  He is a delightful imp.  2) My sister, mom and dad have all three faced some serious, life-threatening illnesses (multiple times) since our last visit to the area.  I thank the good Lord every day that they have persevered.  3) And the Greenwood Inn was destroyed many years ago during one of the famous hurricanes (maybe Ivan), and the land upon which it stood (along with the adjacent land that the hotel my friend’s parents owned) has been thankfully preserved from commercialism by virtue of being turned into a state beach park. It was a blessing to be able to spend a couple of days eating and frolicking with people I love so much, at a beach that holds so many childhood memories.  And to be able to share this with my partner Eric…well, it just meant more to me than I can ever describe.  It was a time of reflection and communion.

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