September 14, 2004

i'm in a new york state of mind

No interstitial space on this flight, I knew exactly where I was as I looked out the window. I can’t remember the last time I flew into NYC in the daytime. It was definitely before 9/11/01, and the sight of the lower Manhattan skyline without the twin towers made an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. Yesterday at the ranch we were talking a bit about politics, and a couple of people said they had lost friends there in the towers' fall, which for one was a reason to support Bush as he would be tough on terrorists in a way that a weak-willed Kerry could never be; yet for another it was an excellent reason to get rid of Bush as soon as humanly possible for the terrible damage he and his cronies were doing to America at home and abroad in the name of those lost that day.

My flight had been late getting out of Columbus, so when we landed at Laguardia I only had about 10 minutes to make my connection. Fortunately the gate was close, so I made it with a few seconds to spare. I was sure my bags wouldn’t make it and I was resigned to having to deal with them coming in several hours later, but amazingly, they were being loaded up the baggage conveyor just as I was climbing up the steps to the plane. Maybe it was some lingering good karma from this weekend, I think maybe.

After a long wait on the runway, our twin prop puddle jumper got airborne. As we accelerated steeply out of the city, I was able to see Shea Stadum and the Unisphere, the giant globe from the 1964 World’s Fair, which I had seen many times but never known the name of until now. By those landmarks I knew we were just over Flushing, where my grandparents used to live on the 12th floor of an apartment block at 42-55 Colden Street. We used to ride the IRT line from Main Street past Shea to go from Queens into Manhattan, when I was a kid. Once in the late 80’s I met some of my friends at their place, and we had a huge and festive spaghetti dinner. Another time Vicki and I stayed with them before we were married, one of those funny family experiences we all have now and then. He’s gone almost 16 years now, my grandfather, and she’s living in California near us, with her memories trailing away in the wind. Looking down through the window, I felt an ache of sadness and longing for the memories of their lives down there and of mine, knowing there was no going back to find any of those places and pieces again.

Posted by Gene at September 14, 2004 08:38 PM | TrackBack
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