One minute you are watching a high school football game with friends Cathy Colbert and Judy Williams, laughing, gossiping, cheering.
Halftime arrives and, beginning to feel a tiny bit puny in the heat, one descends those steps, those dang stairs, in seek of cooling comfort.
The next memory is awakening in your car, fortunately not running, the scene in front of you similar to those movie fade-ins, your head buzzing like a subway train and the second half is about underway.
And only two weeks later are you are once again able to rise from a bed, resembling, you hope, a living human being, having learned just about everything there is to know about infections of the lung and the dreaded “p” word.
That was the beginning of my football season; yours?
I am convinced that at least a portion of these past two weeks, somewhat frightening two weeks I will admit, is due to Hurricane Michael.
Losing everything save what you have stowed in a plastic kitchen bag, starting over, not an easy thing, but my wife and I are hardly alone and have been supremely blessed by friends and family.
Nonetheless, such an event will sap a bit of energy out of the step from time to time and as it compounds without release over nearly a year, well, the mind can be the body’s worst enemy.
But the forced shutdown also served a larger purpose, I am convinced, in the opportunity for my mind to reboot a bit and let off the brake for a period of time.
During that period, I must say, and it is a bit embarrassing, the communications on social media and to my wife (yes, she confiscated all methods of outside communication) regarding my health were extremely heartwarming.
I admit, I have armor which is really part of the job description.
But, those kind thoughts and prayers pierced.
I will also tip my hat to those readers who noticed my absence from these pages; anyone will soak up affirmation they might be doing something in life that impacts or engages others.
For somebody who avoids any limelight, that was stunning.
The time on my back also conjured memories from the last time I was on a break of such length (other than a knee replacement almost five years ago) and that was in September 2001.
Hard to believe it has been 18 years since that horrendous day, a crisp sunny fall day in New York, in Washington, D.C., in a Pennsylvania field.
For some who walk among us the mere idea of forgetting is anathema, not even in the dictionary, just as many veterans find days such as Veterans Day difficult.
One such person is someone I consider a great friend, as he puts it, a “brother from another mother.”
A former firefighter in a major city, 9/11 and the brothers and sisters he lost that day is imprinted in his DNA.
For most of us the mere concept is hard to wrap around.
These folks, as musician Bruce Springsteen eloquently put it, went:
“Up the Stairs, into the fire.”
“I need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace higher.
“Up the Stairs, into the fire.”
More than 3,000 lives lost, hundreds of them firefighters, police and first responders.
Men and women who, like so many of the first responders that serve this county, started their day as any other and when it turned into a nightmare, acted, courageously, for others.
I pondered over the past week just how many of us would really remember this week, never forgetting as what has become Patriot’s Day arrived.
How many will be able to find a place in the heart and brain given the wells of nastiness, inanity and soul-sucking actions that pass for government in Washington and Tallahassee these days.
In this divided land (how far we have come from 9/11 and not in a positive way) is it possible to congeal around the concept and ideals represented by the actions of those on 9/11.
Seems doubtful considering Congress needed a prominent comedian’s shaming to pass legislation providing health benefits to 9/11 first responders, who remained at ground zero for weeks and months afterward; almost two decades in arrears.
Me, I am going to thank my illness, my good friend, and send out plenty of thoughts and prayers that maybe for a few moments this week, Wednesday or not, people will truly not forget, they will remember.
Not just the actions, but the ideals those actions bring to life.
And I will take solace that despite all my issues, the issues of my community, the issues of my friends and family there are still those who provide an example of the best of us, the best of humanity in the most trying times.
Again, I will turn to Springsteen.
“May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love.”