11 September 2007

11 SEP 2007

11 SEP 2007 Wish you were still around, Peter

We haven’t moved, but there is promise of a flight north to the hospital soon. It has been boring and subdued, stuck here in a military Limbo. I spent most of the night up, wandering, reading, and hydrating. After morning chow, (more eggs and hash browns, yeah!) I visited the barber. The haircuts cost only four dollars and are worth every cent! A little surprise comes at the end when the barber rubs alcohol into your scalp, ala Bugs Bunny working Elmer Fudd to the tune of The Marriage of Figaro. With the heat, it is actually quite pleasant. After the sun came up, it wasn’t much fun to be alive and out of doors so I racked most of the day. At least they keep the barracks cool.

September 11th brings several thoughts. First off, Happy Birthday, A.! I miss you and can’t wait to see you again! I think you and I are the disaster twins since Katrina struck on my birthday. It is just a little reminder that a good day for one might not be a good day for another. Do you remember where you were on September 11th? I was in DC Children’s hospital fixing a two-year-old boy’s hernia. My attending surgeon, Dr. N., checked CNN and saw the towers burning. What a pointless and cruel theft of lives. We will survive it; I have no doubt of that.

I also think of Peter Gelinas. He was my next door neighbor growing up. When I was four and we moved to Connecticut , we encountered each other exploring the woods between our homes. We staked out whose territory was whose, and were friends from that point on. We attended Our Lady of Mercy Country Day School together and both went to Becket in the Berkshires summer camp. Peter was eternally happy and enthusiastic. He was an avid athlete and a natural leader so it was no surprise that he was the star of the Xavier High School football team. He married a beautiful woman and had two boys, whom he took camping when they were still toddlers. He worked for Cantor Fitzgerald and was in the World Trade Center when it was attacked.

I wish Peter was still around. In the years before he was murdered, we didn’t see each other much, but whenever we did, it was like no time had passed. A giant smile would immediately spread across his broad face, and he would laugh heartily. We talked about our boys, and by chance had even chosen the same name for one of them. We talked about the neighborhood and how things were for our parents back home. I remember once when there was a fight behind the bleachers between kids from our Catholic school and the kids from the public school. Peter came along, and all animosity just dissolved from the crowd. You see, he was friends with just about everyone in both school. We ended up on a double date with two of the girls from the public school. I don’t think Peter would have seen the point in this war; it wouldn’t have seemed like much fun to him. He would have rather had a bonfire on the beach. The people who killed him could never understand that.

I hope I can love life the way you did, Peter.

See you on the beach,


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