Unwelcome Epiphany

Ms. Shirley, twice widowed, is almost blind
and lives in a Catholic retirement home
just about a mile from our house
Mom lives with us
they were on a spiritual retreat
at their women’s Catholic college
when whispers began to ignite
embers of excitement and worry
some hurried to the radios in their dorm rooms
commuter students like Mom huddled together
in cars with radios

The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.

I was in a sophomore geometry class
at my all girls Catholic high school
when the scratchy intercom came on
in my memory the principal said nothing first
I just remember trying to make out what was being said
on the radio held up to the intercom
slow to understand the muffled words
I was still puzzled
when screams and cries began to ignite
through the building

President Kennedy had been shot.

Alone at home
buried deep in a data analysis project
I was focused only on my desktop computer
when the ringing phone startled me
my daughter living in Toronto was almost hysterical
telling me I had to leave NOW
and come back to Canada
I was confused and impatient
my irritation ignited
as I tried to calm her down

The Twin Towers were falling.

Wednesday afternoon
i-pad open on my lap
I was listening to a news conference
Virginia’s governor talking
about COVID-19 cases and vaccination plans
my step-daughter sat nearby
working on her laptop
when news breaks ignited
across my screen

Our Capitol had been breached.

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