The U.S. Open
Sean and Eric
(and others some years)
Traci Smith, author of Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home has provided a gift of the November 2018 Gratitude Every Day calendar. I am using it as an opportuity to revisit photos and post them as they speak to gratitude.
2 September 2017
USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
New York, New York
The Until We Meet Again Tour played the US Open from Friday evening through Monday night, an exhausting and invigorating schedule. A number of friends and family members sat in during the appearance. The heart of the group was Sean and Eric. Great tennis was viewed. Good times were shared. The renovations at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center were impressive. The new Grandstand became a favorite. It was good to see some matches in Louis Armstrong Stadium. Much food was consumed. The hamburgers came highly recommended and lived up to their billing.
We were in Richmond for Eric’s graduation from Union Presbyterian Theological Seminary. It seemed a moment to view the statue to Arthur Ashe – athlete, author, educator, witness, activist, justice-seeker, and hero of mine for how he played and how he lived and how he faced death.
“The best way to judge a life is to ask yourself, “Did I make the best use of the time I had?”
– Arthur Ashe
4 June 2016
4 June 2016
In Richmond for Eric’s graduation from Union Presbyterian Seminary, we went to see the Arthur Ashe statue on Monument Avenue. Purple flowers grew around the base.
I know this day well; I never forget it; it invariably sneaks up on me and grabs me unaware; and when I pause for a moment to reflect, I remember why things feel so raw. After all these years. And then I smile.
People have been posting on Facebook about remembering this day because of the Challenger disaster. I remember that.
But I remember this day for an event that took place twelve years before the Challenger. An event that also claimed the lives of educators.
Forty years ago this day, on January 28, 1974, William Koenig climbed into a small plane with another educator from Grove City. They planned a trip to Harrisburg, the state capitol, where they were to advocate for funds for the Grove City Public School system. At the time of his death, Bill worked as the assistant superintendent for the Grove City Public School system. But he was a musician. He played string bass in the pit orchestra for the high school musicals. He directed the town band. He was a tennis player. He was a photographer. He was also a private pilot. Though they had tickets on a commercial airline, the two colleagues decided Bill would fly. The plane went down near Emlenton, Pennsylvania, the crash site only located the next day. When I arrived at JFK a day later, after a college choir trip to Europe, family members met me and broke the news and shattered my heart.
Because grief lasts, I raise a glass to remember loses and acknowledge pains. And because love never ends, I raise a glass to give thanks and to celebrate love shared past, present, and future. On this anniversary, I raise a glass to William Koenig, to his life, to the time, the far too short time, we shared. To all I learned. To laughter and tears. To music made well and badly. To a multitude of remembered smiles.
Goodnight and joy be with you, Dad.
Goodnight and joy be with us all.
See you along the Trail.
6 September 2015
U.S. Tennis Center
Flushing, New York
Filed under Photo, Sports