Monday, September 11, 2006


Priceless

I am in the center of a place I have never seen before. The Navy blue p coat I am wearing is just a lone dot of ink on a page of national history. There is not a soul in sight except for a lone runner dreaming of his next marathon. And just slightly over to my left I can see a small raggedy blanket clumped on the lawn that undoubting has a lone soul sleeping underneath its cruel warmth with out the dream I am having. The course fingers of the cool march wind are touching my face as though he is trying to make sure I am paying attention to every detail. The messaging warmth of the morning sun is on my back to make sure I am relaxed. The penetrating heat reminds me to take a deep breath as the site before me is so overwhelming. My eyes are opened like a dream I have never seen. I will not take a step but just stand in a place I may never see again, at least in this life as I know it today. The panoramic view is surrounding me like an IMAX theater experience. The moon is sinking but oh so slowly. It’s not sinking like a ship lost at sea but is setting to rest for another day. The sun is rising but way too quickly for my liking. The narrow field I am standing in is longer than one can imagine from a photo in a history book. They call it the “mall” but there are no stores to be seen. There are buildings lined up like giants on either side. Some seem to be guarded with pillars of justice. Some are so large they look like they could house an army of dinosaurs. One even looks like it could hold a complete air force in it. The tallest of them is at the end and a monument that can be seen for miles. Its head is pointed and way beyond a birds reach. If I turn my head toward the blinding sun I can see a dome that is round and up on the hill. Its view is not as clear as the tower in front of me but its glory is no less.

I have come to this place to see if it is safe for my family to visit. They are still sleeping. I wish they were here with me now. There is just something about being in a place when you can see the moon set in one direction and the sun rise in the other, when a cool breeze is in your face and the suns goodness is touching your back. On days like this all things just seem to make sense Maybe this moment is just for me. But I will not keep it a secret I will share it with them in words.

I am at a locked gate in my life I have never entered. It’s guarded by a uniform that has a hidden smile behind the serious nature of his duty. He allows passing because the correct key with a Nappi attitude has brought us and this time my whole family is with me. Before we enter another wish come true we are allowed to pass threw a secondary gate accompanied by a small house. This time I am directed one way with my son who is different and the rest of the family go threw the normal way. We do however meet on the other side like a quiet but determined river that cannot be split for long. We are met by a welcome whose kindness is spread like flower petals from a tall basket. It is similar to a walk to the alter for a bride and groom on their special day. Her eyes are sparkling like something you would dream for from Tiffany’s. We are escorted to the front door of a house that is white and surely must be the biggest one on the block. We are met by three or four more uniforms but they are all different. One has a dog and looks like he could be your neighbor. Another has a bike and he sure seems to look like a guy I saw peddling by the house the other day. And the last one well lets just say he is all in black. He has the same smiles as the others but he is definitely a guy I would want on my team if there was ever an attack.

We are led away to view the colorful rooms of the house by a guy whose skin is different but his smile has to be one on the whitest I have ever seen. He is a guy anyone would be proud to have as a friend. He taught us so much that day. I wanted to tell him he would make a great tour guide but I didn’t. I think he already knew it .

We met so many people that day, everyone was so kind. At one point as I was directed another way because of my sons difference. We went down a small corridor headed for the elevator and past the kitchen filled with activity and to my great joy the chef, who was a kind mother of four, came to say hello. I hope I can be that kind someday.

As the elevator doors opened we were met by our group again but this time there was an added institution. His height was magnificent and the colors that draped his gesture were of a great decorated war hero. We both shared our motto “Always faithful”. We had an immediate connection. Even though tall he reached down to us as though we were the same height. I guess my favorite part was when he patted both my sons’ heads as though he knew they would be fine gentlemen one day. It was know time for him to take the point and finish our visit. He told us that the moment was about here. He said, “Don’t worry, and just follow his lead”. Before I could ask another question the moment had come. It seemed so unreal; I was shaking hands with the most powerful man in the world. But instead of following his lead, he followed my sons lead. Evan, whom I was holding started to cop a lean toward the kindness and was immediately taken away to be held and a picture taken.

It was over so fast, never to be forgotten. The whole family was just in awe. We waved goodbye as Marine One took off and he waved back. As we walked to the exit we all had smiles that were going to last a life time and I even had a new tie clasp that any president would be proud to have his signature on the back.

The flower basket that had welcomed us was now a beautiful bouquet of spring flowers. Her and our Nappi key led us to the gate. The guards, who opened the gate, now couldn’t hide there smile and the hidden message behind them now said “You are welcome back anytime”.

I am at a place that is like a great wall, but it is not that of china but does seem to have a foreign hint to it. I can touch it but I don’t. There are many others here with me. My boys are playing as they run and skip along it. I am hearing silent voices from the names on the wall. They are whispering, “remember me”. I feel tears building as I continue down the path that seems to tower as I get closer to the center. I can’t look at the names written on the wall. I know if I do I will see a face of a son or daughter. I tell the boys not to play and goof around but quickly here the voices say, “Its ok, that’s why we are here”. Others are touching the wall as they seem to welcome the familiar face. They are leaving notes and flowers. They are crying also. It is so overwhelming I have to walk away. I will come back again some day.

The above words were written after a visit to our nation’s capital. My wife Penni had written a letter to the president of the United States. She had written him about our family and our life with our terminally ill son Evan. To our unbelief they called and invited us to visit the white house and personally meet the president. Make A Wish took care of the details and made a dream a reality. The president well lets just say before I could finish shaking his hand he had taken Evan from my arms and hugged and kissed him.

Postage for a letter………………… 38cents

Gas to travel to Washington DC……. $110

Picture of Evan in the arms of the President of the United States…….Priceless

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