It is a bit chillier in Manhattan than it was five years ago to the day. Otherwise, it is a brilliantly sunny day, eerily reminiscent of that fateful morning that altered the city and the country forever. I rode the IRT to work this morning and there was the usual commotion, but there were also some hints of somberness too--a business woman in a black suit, a strapping Jewish kid with a black yarmulke, a gray-haired liberal with a black t-shirt that read, "What Really Happened?" Today is certainly a day to remember those who lost their lives in-and-around 9.11 as well as an opportunity to appreciate the good things we've got in our lives.
I sure have plenty to appreciate, that's for sure. On Saturday, Emily and I took a ride up to Westchester to spend the afternoon with my mom and my step-father. While Em and Tom busied themselves with a project in the back yard, mom and I made a batch of madeleines, the shell-shaped cookies made famous by Proust in "Remberance of Things Past." They are wonderful tea-time cookies, and must be eaten almost immediately. Even an hour or two after they've come out of the oven, they begin to change in nature, going from a light, sponge cake to a heavier, greasier cookie. It's not even that they are my favorites, I just like the idea of them--the immediacy of it all. And you just can't have them without a strong cup of tea for dunking.
Here they are fresh out of the oven. That's my ma, adding some confectionate sugar, the final touch (dig, her beloved Tintin swatch).
And here is the final product, along with a simple plum tart and a strong cup of Earl Grey tea.
Yesterday, was cooler and even more lovely than Saturday. Em and I generally spend Sundays doing the chores, shopping for food and chillin' around the cribsite. One of our favorite activities finds me in the kitchen cooking for the week with Emily sitting close by. We chat and listen to Fats Waller records and just cool out.
We the shopping done early yesterday and after I placed a few phone calls for interviews I need to conduct for an article I'm writing, I got down to cooking. Em took her seat and I took the opportunity to tell her how much I love our Sundays together. Then I said, "You know, when I first met you the overwhelming impression I came away with is never to judge a book by its cover. You were so well-put together, your hair was slicked-back into a pony tail and you were wearing that chic black leather jacket. You were smoking hot and I pegged-you for a material girl all the way. Then after we hung out that day, I was like, 'Wow, she's not like that at all.' In fact, you were one of the most unpretentious, down-to-earth women I had ever met."
I went on to tell her how much of an inspiration she's been for me over the past four-and-a-half years, and I wasn't joking. Em has Crohn's and has had more than her fare share grief because of it, but, though she gets laid low every once in a while, whe is as determined and resilient as anyone I've ever known. You just can't keep her down, bro.
Then I got down on one knee and took out the ring.
She didn't know it was coming. I mean, she knew I was going to pop the question sooner rather than later, but it wasn't until I was down on my knee that she realized that this was the moment. "Angela's Theme," by Bob James (better known as the theme song from the old TV show, "Taxi") was playing softly on the stereo when I asked Emily if she'd marry me. At this point, my heart was racing, as she began to tear-up.
She said, "I'd marry you any day of the week."
Ten minutes later, I had her on the five yard line in the bedroom when the phone rang. "Let it ring," I said as she came in the room with the portable phone. Then thinking that it might be a return call from one of the potential interviews I was going to do I looked at the caller ID. My eyes--according to Emily--almost popped out of my head. "It's Reggie," I said.
And sure enough, it was none other than Mr. October. I picked up the phone and quickly made arrangements for an interview later this week. We weren't on the phone longer than two minutes.
"You're having some kind of fifteen minutes," my fiance says to me.
Man, you ain't kidding. We spent the rest of the day in a joyful haze and later we dropped-in on our good friends down in Inwood. Needless to say, we experienced the range of emotions...
To Terror (and Silliness)...
To Vitamins L-O-V-and E
Hey, it's a beautiful thing.
I'll keep pitching 'em:
And she'll keep hitting 'em:
Oh, and speaking of which, Sal and his pals crushed the O's, 9-4 yesterday. The Yanks' magic number is down to 11 and the win gave them the best record in the AL.