I was in my office yesterday afternoon with the radio on as background noise listening to whoever was on WFAN jabbering away about the Monday Night Football game that the boys from Mara Tech were preparing to play against the Redskins down in D.C. (a game the result of which prompts this question from a Giants fan: is it the same individual who is responsible for the Secret Service detail at the White House and who coaches the Skins' offensive line?) when it occurred to me that today marks an anniversary. Fortunately, it marks one solely for me so I did not have to run out last night at the last minute and buy something for Margaret. No, I reserve all of my last-minute Anniversary purchasing for the 18th of June.
It was one year ago today that - in a move that still causes me to stimulate my scalp courtesy of some robust head-scratching - I flew to Boston to meet with a couple of the boys from the Mother Ship. As an Irishman I should have put more stock in the fact that my flight out of Newark to Beantown was initially delayed for more than an hour and then was changed altogether due to weather issues. You would think that one who has lived his life paying keen attention to the appearance of signs, omens and all such things both ominous and optimistic might have had a better appreciation for such a whopper. Nope. Much like an optimistic yet slow-footed base runner I lowered my head, ignored the third-base coach's stop sign and charged for home.
And just like that slow-footed base runner does more often than not, having ignored the signs that morning, I continued on what quickly turned into a path of self-destruction. I ended up somewhere tantalizingly close to - yet impossibly far away from - home. Eventually, due in large part to the goodwill of others - and an incredibly fortuitous opportunity - I ended up homeward bound. But by the time I opened my eyes to realize that my self-induced nightmare was over, it was late May. I had wasted six months of my life, personally and professionally. And as my creaky knees remind me during every run through the neighborhood, I am not in fact getting any younger.
Proof either that there is no God or that he is a bastard with a far-too-dark sense of humor (I shall let you decide for yourself what camp you belong to), the weekend prior to my return to my professional roots from Hell's Ninth Circle Margaret's mom - Suzy B. - made what proved to be her final trip to Somerset Medical Center. I returned "home" on May 26, 2009. Sue left hers for the final time on May 24th and died on June 2nd. In an odd twist of fate however, her death returned the focus of our family to where it should properly be: on making such that one another are doing as well as we can be doing dealing with her death. Thankfully, after having hogged so much of the familial spotlight with my soliloquy of self-destruction during the first half of Aught-Nine, it shone elsewhere during the second half of the year.
Having learned from my mistakes of a year ago, I spent this past summer playing softball never failing to look at the third base coach as I ran around the bases - waiting for the direction to run or to stand pat. And just to play it safe, I am making but one trip to the airport this week - and it is Thursday morning to pick up Rob as he flies in for Christmas. No security checkpoints for this fellow. Nope. Not today.