September 17: Overheard at the coffee shop: “I’m going bowling tonight.” “Are you good?” “Yeah; I went to college on a bowling scholarship.” “Trophies?” “So many. I got rid of them all. I only kept one. It was special to me because—“ Then I spilled my coffee and missed the rest.
September 18: A few weeks ago, my neighbor Jennifer gave me a small tour of the teaspoons, medals and coins populating her curio table. “Oh, the stories here,” she said. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when today she handed me four tiny books inscribed in faded ink and printed in font almost too small for perfect vision. They were hymnals, a Book of Common Prayer, and Scripture. Two of the books were smaller than a dollar bill folded in half. The other two were the size of a Kit Kat bar. “Finger Prayer Books,” Jennifer explained. Each was over 130 years old, and each belonged to the brother of the fellow whose portrait looked down at us from over the fireplace. I think he was pleased by my awe.
September 19: For our weekly walk, my friend Kathy and I bounced ideas back and forth. Hills on the streets of her neighborhood? A boulder scramble along a woodland path to the Potomac River? Something even more exotic? To be honest, Kathy finally wrote, I’d love a walk in your neighborhood and a beer. To be honest, I replied, me too.
September 20: Last week, along a shaded path next to the U.S. Department of Transportation, I admired the agency’s “sculpture garden,” ornamented with historic propellers, turbines and gasoline pumps with long-gone brand names and prices (42 cents a gallon, anyone?). A museum under the trees. Today, I found myself refreshed by a hardworking floor fan. When I examined the fan, I looked past the flakes of rust to see an elegant drum shape and sassy diamond pattern, capped by the metal label of the manufacturer: National Gas Equipment Co, Terrell, Texas. I marveled: how did this vintage museum piece from 1947 find its way to my feet? I suspect it would not have envied the “museum” gas pump: the Modern Aire fan still had a job to do.
September 21: Radio chatter from “that day” crackled over my right shoulder as I surveyed the exhibit. As the Tuesday docent, I’d already studied all the photos and display cases. Still, I was transfixed by the images of firefighters standing in front of the rubble of a Pentagon wall, or flames tormenting Pentagon windows, or the tents and trucks silhouetted against char and smoke. Most compelling, though, were the stories people told about their own experience of September 11, 2001. The exhibit, Still Standing, Still Free, is a month-long commemoration of the attack on the Pentagon just across the highway from where I sat. The exhibit is interactive, tissue boxes included.
September 22: On the porch of our local coffee shop, Jeremiah and I sipped our lattes and debated the scientific method. We paused to marvel at the barista’s leafy artwork, which had drifted — improbably intact — to the bottom of my cup. We paused a second time as the gentle rain suddenly transformed, a la Pokémon, from bland Magikarp to frenzied Gyarados, whipping trees and launching javelins of rain. From our nook, we first felt a light mist; then Nature unleashed her blast. We didn’t need to go to Sea World. As Jeremiah observed, we were in the Splash Zone right here.
September 23: I discovered a new walk today, just beyond my usual turnaround point. Hugging the creek, I found myself at the Bon Air Rose Garden. Despite the season, some roses bloomed salmon, cranberry and butterscotch and shyly turned their heads in the breeze. The garden, dedicated to those who served in World War, held plaques from benefactors. I was surprised to see the one pictured below. There’s definitely a story here. I’ll get back to you….
Happy Birthday, Jeremiah! You rocked this jean jacket a long time ago and you still fill my heart with joy.
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