It's September 11th,
fourteen years since the worst American tragedy
Eloise has ever lived through.
It's a day we will never forget.
The flag hung at half-staff tonight's high school football game.
I watched the news and scrolled social media today.
Many reported or posted about the events fourteen years ago,
or how life has changed since.
My favorite post of the day was from a high school classmate and friend, Bill.
The following are his words, copied from his facebook post:
Today, I am choosing to remember 9/11 as America's finest hour. Because for a short time...nothing mattered. Or perhaps more accurately, everything mattered. Because when push came to tragic shove, strangers fought the deeply embedded human instinct to run and chose instead to help one another. No one stopped to ask "do you vote like I do?", "do you look like I do?", "do you believe what I believe?". No, they lifted their brothers and sisters from the rubble, dusted them off, and said to no one in particular: "This is my friend. Try to hurt him again. See what happens." God Bless America, but more importantly God Bless AmericaNS.
Bill, if I was filling out a scoring rubric for you, because Lord knows we can't just assign anyone a grade anymore, I'd score you a 5 in all 19 categories and deem you an advanced writer and thinker.
I'd probably give you a scratch and sniff sticker, too, because we are children from the 80's,
and we rose to the level of desired achievement for one of those things-- even the skunk!
Eloise's favorite photo of the day is this capture.
As reported by the NBC nightly news by Lester Holt,
this photo was captured in New York City,
rainbow ending where the twin towers once stood.
Brian Williams reported there was a pot of gold at the end,
but forgot the location.
I thought about this portion of classmate Bill's post:
"...they lifted their brothers and sisters from the rubble,
dusted them off,
and said to no one in particular:
"This is my friend."
You got it right, Bill.
It's all about People.
That's how we've recovered.
That's how we've continued.
That is how we make things work.
Human connection amidst the human condition.
That reminded me so much how all of you
have helped my family deal with the shock of raising two special needs individuals.
You lifted us up,
dusted us off,
and called us "friend."
It's Go Time for Eloise's People.
My Team and I are tackling the Barber Beast on the Bay.
This 10 mile obstacle course race on Erie's Presque Isle,
benefits the Barber National Institute,
a special place special children and adults.
My special needs daughter Natalie raised money for the school that started off her education.
She was a student at the Elizabeth Lee Black School for Autism
Natalie was able to move on to Autistic Support classrooms
within the public school system.
This is where she learned how to draw people,
now commonly known around the Lamp Post as
We screen printed her original artwork on t-shirts
and sold them to friends and family as a fund raiser.
We credit her Seneca High School teacher, Mr. Rocky,
and her Autistic Support teacher, Mr. Boyd,
for the skill work needed to complete her happy masterpieces.
To the Lamp Post dwellers,
these people represent all people with disabilities.
This little guy is missing an ear.
He must be deaf.
Look closely again--
some are missing limbs,
and others have many extra.
The big guy in the middle doesn't have double circle eyes--
he must be blind.
But what do ALL of Natalie's People have in common?
Great big ones.
Because of your generosity,
Natalie was able to raise over $1,400 for the Barber National Institute.
She was the second highest personal fund raiser in the 1,100 participant event.
When things develop so perfectly and naturally,
as this People t-shirt phenomenon has,
you know the Lord was behind it.
I love the number 33 because, to me,
it represents the 33 years that Jesus lived among us.
As I opened my race packet tonight,
in preparation for tomorrow's event,
I found that I was assigned this number.
When I checked my inbox for Natalie's people photos,
sent through my email,
I had 33 waiting to be downloaded.
As I saved each photo, alternating between email photos and facebook posts,
I numbered the photos:
and so on.
I played a mental game with myself to keep focus,
I wonder which photo will pop up as the 33rd in the series.
This one did:
Yes, Eloise does believe there is good in the world.
He gave that spirit to harness in all of us.
Thank you, People for the good that you have done--
in your support of t-shirt purchases, of course,
but also in the kind words written and spoken,
and hugs and encouragement you've given.
Natalie and Her People,
really do appreciate it.
As for old Eloise,
I'll be heading to the beach at the rainy crack of dawn,
with a van load full of people whom I convinced this was a good idea.
In the past I've made my weapons of choice a dagger
and an ax.
This year, Eloise is taking along a sling shot to take down the Beast.
The best part:
I found a pair of pants with a sling shot pocket!
I will report back to you on Sunday with a bonus blog post,
to show you the spoils of my hunt.
Meanwhile, watch this photo story made by Cousin Bonnie,
my kindred spirit,
temporarily misplaced in Chicago.
She's coming back to me soon.
I can feel it in my bones.
She surprised Kenyan and I with a video she made from photos
she swiped from my facebook.
I could not have thought of a better song
or arrangement myself.
As I said prior--
To all those who sent photos,
prior to this time of posting--
Every single one of you has a genuine smile,
just as big and broad and truthful
as Natalie's People do.
Scroll down and check them out.
If your phone or small device combusts--
there were a lot of them.
It's go time, People.