My California Connection
Aside from being a
principal PalinVersary, August 29 was also 30 years to the day that I
completed a transcontinental train trip to Los Angeles with my uncle
William E. Thomas. We would spend 10 days there, then return to my home
in Flushing, NY. I got to see our beautiful country during that trip on
the Lake Shore Limited
from the forests of upstate New York; to the cornfields of Ohio; the
steel mills of Indiana. Until the mid 1980s, the Lake Shore Limited
departed Grand Central. At Chicago, we boarded the Southwest Chief
("Southwest Limited"); I remember very briefly sleeping in Missouri,
then waking up in Kansas and seeing the Rockies even though they were
four hours away; traveling through the Rockies, then the buttes of New
Mexico and red plains of Arizona. When I woke up the morning of the 29th
from a few hours sleep, California's palm trees were out the train
I still remember that trip to California like it happened yesterday.
And from that time forward, my urge was always to go west, just like our
ancestors did so long ago. My return to New York fell out on September
11, 1980 - 21 years before Al Qaeda's atrocrities. 1980
was the year that the disgraceful Carter administration came to its
close as Ronald Reagan was elected. Even at the ripe old age of 11, if I
could have voted it would have been for Reagan. Twenty eight years
later to the day I walked on the streets of Los Angeles as a
pre-pubescent child, John McCain gave us Gov. Sarah Palin, whose
grandparents lived in North Hollywood, the same town where my uncle and I
stayed with his mother. As she revealed in her October 4, 2008 rally
speech at Carson City, California, Gov. Palin's father, Chuck Heath was
born in Los Angeles. Chuck Heath's father was a sports photographer
covering boxing and wrestling matches of the era and his mother a school
Restoring Honor - and Rebirth
A few people took issue with the Restoring Honor Rally being held on
the same anniversary as Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream" speech. As
it turned out, the connection was Providential and apropos. During the
rally, some 250 miles to the northeast, 16 swamp white oaks were planted at the WTC memorial, a living sign of renewal and rebirth, while One WTC is now at the 36th Fl. level.
The Polish Connection
After getting my own PalinVersary article to press and Missy Stewart's,
I walked to nearby Snug Harbor with my wife to a Polish festival. As
the music and announcements blared, being the chow hound that I am, I
went straight to work on the Kielbasa, Pierogies, and stuffed cabbage,
all washed down with a pint of Zywiec beer. During the festival, I saw Adrienne had posted, so I did my post-publication routine via the iPhone.
While drinking my pint, I heard the name "Rita Cosby" and a book she
was promoting. I paid little mind at first, as the announcement was at a
low volume. But I heard some key words. "Hero." Some more noise.
"McCain." My interest piqued. I walked to the table. Quiet Hero is about Rita Cosby's father who fought the National Socialist Worker's Party of Germany
(most commonly known as "Nazis") and was held as a POW. He kept his
story bottled up inside him. Rita - a journalist - got him to tell his
story. Senator McCain - the man who brought Gov. Palin to the world
stage just two years earlier - had endorsed Rita's book. So did Dr.
Henry Kissinger, who Gov. Palin met with in her 2008 New York City trip.
Rita signed and personalized my copy of Quiet Hero.
Are all these juxtapositions coincidental? Like Gov. Palin, I don't
believe in coincidences. Things happen for a reason. Going West. Ronald
Reagan. Sarah Palin. Heroes. Dreams. Resurrection and rebirth. And on
the celebration of a PalinVersary - more heroes and more - Providential