Remembering 9/11


Does a tomato graced by a volunteer petunia taste better?

If you are a regular reader, you know that I’m into Food Porn. Can’t get enough of it. My heart races: the pictures, the  techniques, and the text all suck me into the world of food. I don’t have to look for food porn: favored websites come to my in-box on a daily basis where they crook their index fingers and tempt me to come closer.

My all-time favorite website is NYT Cooking. There’s the food, of course, but the attraction for me is Sam Sifton who introduces himself and chats about the featured foods. This morning, Sam (forgive me, but his accessibility invites me to use his first name) began today’s post with a nod to 9/11.

It is a somber day in NYC, in Washington, D.C.,  and Shanksville, Penn., all across the nation, everywhere touched by the attacks of 18 years ago. I can’t help but recall, each time, how blue the sky was that day and how tightly I held my week-old child in horror at what I’d done, bringing life into this world gone mad.

I cooked later that day and served what I’d made to my family. That act sustained me and sustains me still – this vain hope that if only we make food for one another and share it with open hearts we can push forward together in understanding and together maybe make the world a better place. I don’t know if that works. I believe it does. So I’ll continue to do it, seeking grace in the meals, in the work of making them.”

community-dinner-overhead-large-jpg-9525-220x300I don’t know that food – serving as salve – works, but ‘hope springs eternal.’ This year’s Valley Strong Community Dinner is this coming Thursday, September 19. Two, parallel lines of banquet tables run down Main Street, Westcliffe. Starting at Second Street, the tables terminate at The Bluff overlooking The Valley.

Every table has a host who provides decorations and place settings. Guests pot-luck the food. Some tables are exclusively friends-of-friends. Other tables are open to meeting new friends. This year we’re eating with Trails for All, hosted by Paul and Nicole Parsons. I know very few of these people, but I look forward to meeting them.

The anniversary of 9/11 takes me back. I was flying home from London when the pilot shared the bad news. (Not to repeat myself, you can easily find that story. If you look to the right of this text, you will see a search box. Type in 9/11, and the September 10, 2016 blog will pop up.)

Looking to refresh my memory of the Shanksville, PA story, I went on-line where I was reminded that a crew of seven, aided by exceptionally brave passengers, thwarted four, al-Qaeda hijackers who planned to target the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Rather than fly the plane to the hijackers destination, the crew and passengers sacrificed their lives by crashing into a field.

sept 11 Shanksville PANot to diminish the number of deaths and unheralded acts of bravery at The World Trade Center and at the Pentagon, but the self-sacrifice of those on United Airlines Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco, hits very close to home. I was on a plane that day. What would I have done had four terrorists been on my flight?

Would I have been brave enough to attack or distract one of the hijackers? I think about this often. Certainly I’ve looked for terrorists on every flight I’ve taken the last 17 years. I steel myself with a mantra of sorts. “I will be brave… I will be brave… I will be brave.” How brave remains to be seen.


Looking at the Flight 93 Memorial, I see pictures of a 93-ft. ‘Tower of Voices.’ 40 chimes hang from the tower. Driven only by the weather and the wind, the chimes ring out in memory of the 40 deceased passengers and crew.

Reading this, my heart lightens. And then scrolling through possible sources relating to 9/11 and Shanksville, I came across the conspiracy theories. Page after page of crockpot theories – many fueled by The Rebekah Roth Conspiracy. (Read for yourself. I’m not going into it today.” I only had to read the first post, to feel my heart sink. That first post read: “The Federal Government sure knows how to waste money… maybe some ‘Guilt’ for downing the plane themselves? Gotta Wonder!”

Other articles and blogs were worse. If I were to invite these folks to dinner what would serve? Something sweet and sour? Sauerbraten?  Key Lime Pie? Arsenic? I think I’d choke singing, “We Gather Together to Ask the Lord’s Blessing.” Color me dark.

There’s a part of me that wants to understand the “others.” Who are they, and why are they the way they are? And there is another part of me that wants to turn my back and garden. Enough! I going to garden NOW!
















About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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6 Responses to Remembering 9/11

  1. Caroline Vornberg says:

    Thank you, Doris, for another beautifully written and thoughtful essay –this most tragic remembrance…is tough to put into words. Weaving the food into it…brilliant.

  2. Carmel Huestis says:

    I love the way you write and the different strands you connect … no foodie or gardening routes for me but thought-provoking nonetheless. Bob’s first cousin and his wife, on their way to Hawaii to scatter her dad’s ashes, perished on the Pentagon plane. In his Christmas card for 2000 he said he had just retired and was planning to come visit us, so this is always an especially sad remembrance day for Bob. I’m currently copyediting a volume on British fascism 1933-1973, replete with references to conspiracy theories, nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism. It’s hard to believe I can’t say, “Thank goodness it’s not like that today.”

    • timeout2 says:

      Dear Carmel, Thank you for sharing your very personal connection to 9/11. I don’t know if you read the blog I posted on the 15th anniversary of my experience flying home from London, but our pilot’s sensitivity to the passengers’ anxiety, the love and support of the citizens of St. John’s Newfoundland was so all-encompassing that I came home feeling blessed. For the most part, I was removed from the horror. I was away… at summer camp basking in Canadian arms. As for your copy editing job – how scary to read about fascism and flash forward. If you didn’t catch the interview with Margaret Atwood on NPR yesterday – look for it. THE HANDMAIDEN’S TALE is alive and well – more fact than fiction. Thank you for reading. Bob is in my thoughts today. xoxo

  3. timeout2 says:

    I love hearing from you, Caroline. I never would have though of food and Valley Strong having anything to do with 9/11… the trigger came from the New York Time’s food editor. Part of me wants to believe that we can bring people together with food; another part of me is skeptical. The struggle within myself is bigger than the question. xo

  4. Bar Scott says:

    The last photo is especially perfect and the blog is thoughtful and good. Love it. Thank you

    I have s new tooth. Already miss Alex. Nice man and so talented.

    See you at 5:00 B


  5. timeout2 says:

    Thank you, Bar. Got lucky with that last photo. Hated the photo of the community dinner that I borrowed from the Valley Strong website. I have better photos on my old computer, but I didn’t want to go to the trouble of downloading from the old onto the new. Short cuts never ever work to anyone’s satisfaction. Have I told you how I love having you back in the neighborhood? xo

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