September 2002

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September 16, 2002: 

On September 11, 2002 at 6:00 AM I arrived at San Jose International Airport where I would catch my flight to Orlando, FL, connecting through Dallas, TX.  As my Justin dropped me off in front of Terminal A which only hosts American and Southwest Airlines we were amazed to see we were the only car there.  After saying our "see you later's", I entered the terminal and went upstairs to the ticket counter.

There were NO lines.  As a matter of fact, I was the only person at the AA
ticket counter.  The agent noticed that I was wearing a FDNY Rescue Squad 1 t-shirt and almost broke into tears.  After a brief conversation she learned
that I was flying today to see 2 of best friends out in Florida, of whom we collectively had lost a close friend on AA #175 this time last year.  Tears welled in her eyes as she reached under the counter and then handed me a small red/blue star spangled ribbon to wear.  With tears in my eyes and some final parting words, I took it and headed off to security.

The terminal was quiet.  There were people there, but not many.  After getting my Starbucks I started making the promised phone calls to friends and family (Paul, Tim, Porky, Becky, etc.) to say hi and let them know all was well. "Yes, I'll call you when I land... I promise" were some of the final words on each call. Finally it was time to board the plane. 

Only 25% of the seats were filled. As we prepared to leave the gate, the captain made a small speech commemorating the events of a year ago. He almost started to cry.  Most of the rest of us did...  I thanked every flight attendant that came by me for being with us that day and shook a lot of hands.  The look in everyone's eyes said it all.  Today was a very special day.

The flight was uneventful and thankfully, there were 2 things which made the flight go by quickly.  One was the guy sitting across the isle from me. He is the global manager of IT for HP.  He and his family moved to the US from France 2 years ago (I forget exactly where but he lives in the Alps).  We
had a great conversation and talked mostly about food and wine :)  The
second was the free movie of the day "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".  It was just what we needed to take our minds off the day for a couple of hours.  If you haven't seen it and need a good laugh, I recommend you do so.  The rest of the flight was uneventful, as was the flight from Dallas to Orlando.

And of course, the best part of the day came when I left the gate in Orlando and caught a glimpse of Becky and Lisa waiting for me outside the security area.  The smiles on their faces, the hugs we exchanged, the tears of happiness in our eyes, the feelings in our hearts... at that moment, all was
right with the world, and that's the best way I could have felt at the end
of this long day of flying.... :)

And of course, the fun would just begin.  On Wednesday night, Becky and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner that Lisa made for us.  It was a delicious salmon with mango salsa dish and it was so yummy!  A late night dip in their pool finished up the night.

On Thursday, both Becky and I worked remote from her office (gotta love working in your boxer shorts :).  That night, we went out to dinner at a nice seafood restaurant down on Cocoa Beach.  Though the wine list sucked, the food was quite tasty, the company excellent and the waiter cute :)  Hehehe, it made for a fun meal.  Afterwards, we visited  Ron Jon's surf shop for a bit and then back to the house for a swim before turning in.

On Friday, we both worked during the day and that night was treated to another delicious meal that Lisa made for us.  Mmmmm, cream of asparagus soup w/fresh lobster and asparagus along with a delicious clam linguini.  Heheh, we certainly were eating well!

On Saturday morning, Becky and Lisa went to pick up Frank, one of Grahams good friends who lives down in Miami.  We all spent the day together hanging out in the pool at the house.  It was really nice having Frank there, as his company only enhanced my visit.  That afternoon, we were joined by Richard (Becky's father) and Mattie, his wife.  We had a fun BBQ and spent the rest of the afternoon drinking martini's, margaritas and enjoying each others company.  It made for a great day.  And once again, the night ended with a nice dip in the pool.

I had a wonderful stay down in FL and of course, Becky and Lisa were the consummate hosts :)  Thanks Girls!!! :) 

On Sunday, we all got up early and I was on board the 8:15 am flight out to Dallas, TX, then onto San Jose, CA.  After landing in San Jose, I called Porky and chatted w/him for a bit as Justin was stuck in traffic.  Porky is doing well and keeping busy with work (maybe too busy!).  He's looking forward to moving back up to NH during the spring of next year.

Justin picked me up aa few minutes later and it was off to Palo Alto for a late lunch at Fortuniao's (a very nice Italian restaurant).  Afterwards, it was back to Dublin to unpack and relax.

Hehehehe, Justin got some film developed.  Here was a picture I took of my cat Simon.  That crazy cat.... alway drinking and listening to Jimmy Buffett!

And that's all for now :)

Morning of Sept. 11, 2002

O say does that star spangled banner yet wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of brave....

In loving memory to all the lives that were lost one year ago today.  May their friends, family and nation find peace.

Today, I board American Airlines flight 2448 from San Jose, CA (SJC) - to Dallas/Ft Worth, TX (DFW)  - and then American Airlines flight 814 (Non-Stop) to Orlando, FL (MCO). 

I'm flying out to spend today and the next few days with Becky and Lisa.  Today we will celebrate the life of Graham Berkeley, of whom we lost one year ago.  We will celebrate his life and toast his spirit in the loving company of each other.

My friend, you are dearly missed.

The Change
Garth Brooks

"One hand 
Reaches out 

And pulls a lost soul from harm 

While a thousand more 

Go unspoken for 

They say what good have you done 

By saving just this one 

It's like whispering a prayer 

In the fury of a storm 

And I hear them saying you'll never change things 
And no matter what you do it's still the same thing 

But it's not the world that I am changing 

I do this so this world will know 

that it will not change me

This heart 
Still believes 

That love and mercy still exist 

While all the hatreds rage and so many say 

That love is all but pointless in madness such as this 

It's like trying to stop a fire 

With the moisture of a kiss 

And I hear them saying you'll never change things 
And no matter what you do it's still the same thing 

But it's not the world that I am changing 

I do this so this world will know 

That it will not change me 

As long as one heart still holds on 
Then hope is never really gone 

I hear them saying you'll never change things 
And no matter what you do it's still the same thing 

But it's not the world that I am changing 

I do this so this world we know 

Never changes me 

What I do is so 
This world will know 

That it will not change me"


All the best to you....

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