Melodi was 2 years old and I was taking her to mother’s day out. At the time, I was coordinating aerobics schedules and teaching about half a dozen classes weekly in addition to choreographing majorette half time shows. Needless to say, I was crazy busy and had my time accounted for that morning, as soon as I dropped her off I was to hit the ground running.
At a quarter to 9am we were flying to get to the interstate and Rick and Bubba were doing their ususal. Until they got real serious. That never happens! This is a joke, who in the world is playing this kind of joke? I’ve got a million things to do and ” going to war” is not one of them. What are they talking about?
But they continued on… I kept driving. Then I started screaming. Melodi says, “what mommy?” Then I remember I have got to get a grip on myself b/c for a moment I forgot everything, including that I was a mom who needed to display some kind of courage. Do I take her to school? What will I encounter up the road? Is this for real? What to do?
Mike was a consultant at the time working from home. I called him from the car and all I could say was, “Something really bad is happening. Rick and Bubba just announced that we are under attack. Please get to a TV and tell me what to do.” He said, “Keep driving, keep on with your day, I will get back with you.” There was the couarge I was looking for. Life was just happening, stop lights, traffic, people just keep moving right along. So I did the same.
Once she was dropped off I went to church to work my office hours in the Recreation Center. By that time it was the real deal. It was several minutes after 9am CST and the world was very different than when I had left at 8:45am. I saw it on TV for the first time. I got there and went directly to the chapel and with several others we prayed. After talking with Mike and agreeing that Melodi could stay at school we met our longtime friends Joey and Michelle for lunch (we were celebrating his birthday) and in a crowded restaurant we could hear a pin drop as the president came on television to tell us what was happening. There we were, the four of us moving through the day but we all looked at each other a little differently, not knowing what to expect next. We had double-dated in highschool, been in each others weddings, celebrated the birth of Melodi and numerous other things in our lifetime with them. And here we are watching the world fall apart with them. At least that is what is what it felt like at the time.
I went to the highschool at my appointed time and to my surprise found that the band director intended to have a late rehearsal b/c we were sharing the practice field with the football team. “What have you been doing all day? Do you KNOW what has happened? These kids need to be with their families at church tonight, not practicing for band competiton!” I said to him. (needless to say, I only worked a few more hours after that, I finally realized how insane he really was). He told me to be there for rehearsal and it wasn’t until the parents started calling to say “My child WILL BE HOME by 8pm to hear the president” that he relented. So, there we are, on the field and the football coach is wrapping things up with his boys and he gets the bullhorn and tells everyone, including the band to be still and listen. “I don’t know what is going to happen. Some of you might be fighting a war that you didn’t ask for. But you have got to be brave and look out for each other. Because what is happening is changing your lives forever. This is real. I don’t like it any more than you do but the stuff you’ve been learning out here on this field is what we have to demonstrate to the world. You have got to come together as a team on this field and off this field. For real this time.”
Anyway, to be standing there with a bunch of 16 and 17 year olds hearing an impromptu speech like that was just about more than I could take. Somehow, that stupid practice the band director called was not so important anymore. He let us go pretty quick.
And I came home wondering how in the world I brought a child into the world where stuff like this could happen. Eventually, we have all come to grips with 9/11 but I will never forget the course of events that day. The horror of watching it all on TV and wondering how, why, what next. It’s been seven years and while I could write on the politics of it all I think I just wanted to remember.