Friday, September 10, 2021

Twenty Years

Here's the poem I posted fifteen years ago: 

It’s five years since the turbofan clatter, 
the sudden silence, the loud report, the screams,
the gashed tower, the smoke, then the flame, 
and the realization… 

I like to imagine a time when you, George and I 
take the heavenly PATH to celestial Hoboken, 
where, at the bar of the cosmic Brass Rail, 
we’ll sip ambrosial Berliner weisse.
This time, Brando will join us.

By way of explanation, George was a friend and Yale Law classmate of Charlie's, and a friend of mine. He died of heart failure a few years before 9/11. One afternoon Charlie, George, and I were having beers at the Lion's Head, and Charlie, a great film buff, said he wanted to go to Hoboken and look for the scenes where On The Waterfront was shot. We took the Port Authority Trans-Hudson ("PATH") subway that connects Manhattan to New Jersey. When we got there, we were able to find some places Charlie recognized as having been in the movie. We then found a great old fashioned bar on Washington Street, Hoboken's main drag. The bar was called the Brass Rail and had lots of brass fixtures and wood paneling. As we took our seats we noticed a man sitting near us sipping what looked like iced tea, and asked the bartender what it was. He said it was Berliner weisse mit schuss, Berlin white  (wheat) beer, flavored with a dollop of raspberry syrup, and garnished with a lemon slice. We each had one, and loved it.

I'm adding an addendum to my post to mention two others who weren't close friends but who also perished on 9/11. I enjoyed some conversation with Kristin Gould White at the Lion's Head. She was on Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania. The story at the close of her linked tribute of how her daughter learned of her death is heart-rending. I met Joe Lostrangio at a reinsurance related event less than a week before 9/11, and we had a tentative lunch date for the week after. Having read his linked tribute, I wish I'd had the chance to get to know him better. For those of you who didn't know Charlie McCrann, here's his obituary.

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