Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11 - Memories of a Former Foreigner

(This is the annual "reprinting" of my inaugural post on Sept. 11, 2011 - lest I one day forget why I wrote it.)


Aloha,


The thing I remember most about 9/11 is how selfish I felt - at the very beginning.

September 11th was supposed to be the day I paid my debts and made some serious money. I clearly remember the last thing I said as my balding head hit the soft pillow on the 10th: "Tomorrow is going to be a great day, man, tomorrow is going to be a great day."

Source: Anthony Grimley
Five months prior to 9/11 and new to California, I had met several fellow Irishmen at a pub or six, which networked into an interview with a starched suit who looked me up and down to see if I could sell gold coins.

"I can sell a Yankees hat in Boston, or a Cowboys jersey in New York, surely I can sell a little coin over the phone?" I said, full of the optimism of the uninformed American sports fan.

My new boss didn't really care. I'd earn a bare stipend for a couple of months, and then work on one hundred percent commission, so no skin off his nose.

They call the big investors "whales," and it took five months of living off credit cards to reel two in. One lived in New York; the other was in Jersey. I arranged great deals with both retired men; deals that culminated on Monday the 10th, and happy as a pig in a blanket, I later went for a few drinks with the boys, having promised my whales that they'd receive the official paperwork via fax before noon EST Tuesday.


That's the only reason I was up at 5:50 a.m. PST, but as soon as I saw the plane hit the second tower just after 6 a.m. my time, I knew the deals were done - and so was I. (I had no clue how bad it would be - did anyone?)

I wallowed in pity for about thirty-five minutes until I heard another plane had crashed into the Pentagon. Driving to work in my new, unpaid-for Mustang, I jumped up as far as my seatbelt would allow, and let out a scream of hurt and anger I hope my ears will never again endure.

As an immigrant with naturalization papers in process, I had no doubt that the attack was on my country (I swore in July 3, 2003,) and my people.

In October 2001, I tried joining the USAF, but the recruiter told me a 19-year-old's pay "ain't going to take care of the credit problems belonging to a 31-year-old."


On 9/11, as always, I'll wear my Liz Claiborne WTC shirt that I bought 'cos the Statue of Liberty looks cool in the forefront (it was 2002 before I "saw" the Twin Towers for the first time.) I will also reflect on how I awoke thinking only about me, but ended the day thinking only about "U.S." and the thousands whose lives had been destroyed by hate and fear.


May the good God bless the souls of all those lost on 9/11, and Lord, please continue to protect those who, with a servant's heart, always run into harms way while we scream to get the hell out of there.



Thomas J. Foley, 32, Rescue 3, FDNY, died in the collapse of Tower 2, WTC, New York, 9.59 am, 9/11/01. RIP



Monday, September 8, 2014

A Coconut Bra, a Straw & a Sunflower for Tina :)

Aloha,

 
Tina Downey and I were part of a small writer's group that could.

One day, after Tina shared that she was ill, she asked if I could update the (in)famous picture I took wearing a coconut bra and grass skirt for St. Patrick's Day, 2014.

Tina wondered if I could add a real coconut with a straw sticking out of it?

Being a typical male, I kept saying I'd, "Get to it next week" or that, "I couldn't find a fresh coconut," (which is hard, here on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu...)

... Then came the devastating news on August 23rd, and I felt so guilty for not finding the time to take one silly picture...


Tina


Today, in honor of Tina, the A to Z Team hosts a sunflower tribute (a flower Tina loved) and people all over the blogosphere will have sunflowers front and center to remember a friend and fellow writer whose blog was called "Life Is Good."

(To assist in the continuing education of Tina's two sons, the family has set up the Downey Education Fund. To donate via secure link to PayPal, please click here.)
 
I'm grateful I got to know a little more about Tina... and for the chance today to fulfill her simple request.

So, I'm sure she wouldn't mind that a few in our family got involved to honor a friend who always believed Life Is Good.

Here then are three generations, two grownups and one sunflower for Tina:


Sunflowers and a Coconut Drink (avec straw:)



Wow, it actually tastes good!!



#1 Son Chilling Like Papa :)



#1 Grandmother relaxing :)


Thanks for the laughs - and now for all the wonderful memories, Tina :)

Rest In Peace...




Tuesday, September 2, 2014

IWSG - Life

Aloha,



It’s Insecure Writers' Support Group time, and as always, a huge thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, who founded IWSG (and is owed an adult beverage for his troubles.)
Oh, and the co-hosts for this month are Laura at My Baffling Brain; Shah Wharton; Sheena-kay Graham and some bald dude who scares people when he walks outside with his coconut bra and grass skirt.

Last month, I had nothing to report because all was good.

Since then, so many things have changed, and the loss of Tina Downey has made me reflect on my own mortality.

So, I guess I'm "only" insecure about life this month.

Moving forward, I aim to focus more on my writing goals - and achieve them - instead of making excuses.

What a shame - how insecure of us - to waste even one of our precious days.



Monday, September 1, 2014

A New Day, A New Dawn...




It's A New Day; A New Dawn


Though loved ones are gone
 

We'll Never Walk Alone


Memories strong, they'll always belong


Love is true, friendships strong


It's a new day; a new dawn



You'll Never Walk Alone



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sunflower Tribute for Tina: Sept. 8, 2014

Aloha,




In memory of Tina Downey, the A to Z Team is hosting a sunflower tribute on Sept. 8, 2014.

Prior to that date, please consider purchasing or planting a sunflower in her honor.

(Should you need to resort to plastic, that's fine, remember Life Is Good.)

On Monday, September 8, take a photo of said sunflower and post it in Tina's memory on your blog or other social media outlet.



Tina loved her sunflowers, and we want to splash the blogging world with sunflowers that day and honor a truly amazing woman who was friend and family to so many.

You can sign up now or add your link when you post your sunflower.

Please help us spread the word! (If you're on Twitter, use #lifeisgood)

Let’s brighten the Internet with sunflowers the way Tina brightened the lives of so many.




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