We rode our bikes to a farm near Parma that raised pigs. When we arrived, we were greeted with glasses of Prosecco and platters of house cured salami and prosciutto. We escaped the heat by exploring the musty caves where giant pieces of pork and sausage hung from the walls.
We all joined together in the dining room to have a three-hour lunch of salads and pastas and wonderful Italian wines. It was the second day of our bike trip in Italy, and we were just getting to know our fellow travelers.
A couple from San Luis Obispo told us of their hobby of flying small airplanes. I told them "I'm scared to fly in anything; when I was young a family I knew died in a small plane crash." They asked me whether I was afraid of mechanical problems or things like hijacking. I told them that I just don't understand how a plane stays in the air; that's the part that scares me. They all told me I should take flying lessons; that would help to overcome my fears.
We meandered onto a new topic, of events in our lifetime that were defining. For most of our biking companions, that event was the assignation of JFK. Doug and I were not even born yet. For us, it was the Loma Prieta earthquake, which paled in comparison.
After a wonderful afternoon of getting to know our new friends, we got back on our bikes and rode back to the Hotel Locanda del Lupo. While we were the youngest members of our tour, we were also the slowest bike riders, so the last to arrive back. One of the other men in our group was waiting for us and came out to meet us as we locked up our bikes. "You need to go up to your room and turn on the TV. Something horrible has happened; there's been a bomb explosion in the World Trade Center."
"No, that happened years ago," I said.
"No, it just happened again, but this one was really big."
The date was September 11, 2001.
I'll never get over the fact that we were talking about the defining moments of our lives at lunch that day, just as the new defining moment of all of our lives was about to take place.
From some other bloggers:
Penelope's account is frightening.
How do you recover from such a nightmare?
I know I am still very sensitive and still to this day C will not talk to me about it. She denies everything.
Thanks for the link.
Posted by: boomie | September 12, 2008 at 07:15 AM
@Boomie: Penelope Trunk also has some follow-up posts (from her post yesterday which I did not link) where she talks about her personal aftermath. Really interesting stuff.
Posted by: Retired Syd | September 12, 2008 at 08:17 AM
great story you have here and experience too :)
Posted by: freelance writer jobs | May 12, 2011 at 08:45 AM