Joe and I are going to his annual family reunion today. This requires a 3-hour drive each way, and is held in the picnic area of a public park in a small town in Eastern Washington. It is always very hot. With a few exceptions, the attendees are people that I met at our wedding 19 years ago and see at this event - and nowhere else.
As I think a good spouse should, I go every year. I go for Joe's sake. And secretly (well, not so secretly now) I'm usually a little cranky about it. Long drive. Way too hot. Chock full of strangers.
I don't know why, perhaps to torment myself with it, I jumped online this morning to check the weather report for our day's destination (100 and sunny, by the way).
And it was only then that I realized what day it is.
Most of us have particular memories of that day ten years ago, when the unimaginable happened. Mine are mainly of bewilderment and then horror when I realized what was happening.
The most vivid memory I have of the World Trade Center is a small one: the sight of a woman, in a blue skirted suit and white blouse and navy pumps, clutching her purse to her body as she leapt to her death from one of the upper floors of the World Trade Center. Of course I cannot know her mind, but I imagine that she had realized she was going to die and decided what she thought would be the best (whatever that means!), and was clutching her purse to herself so that her body could easily be identified.
To this day I pray regularly for her, whom I will never know - not even her name. And I pray for all of us affected by the events of ten years ago. And I don't know anyone who was unaffected at least to some degree.
We didn't lose any friends or family members that day, though I spent some hours trying to locate a staff member who was on vacation in New York. We are very fortunate in that.
I think I'm more grateful for that park full of "strangers" than I was earlier this morning.