As last words go, all I got is a prayer

It’s easy to believe we’re the last word on things.

And then nature wraps knuckle and reminds you of the fact it has never been that way and it’s not going to start being that way now just because we live inside of an age where Da Vinci has gone solid with flight and skyscrapers and 4G speed.

My mother grew up on the Rockaway Peninsula in a little town called Roxbury back in the ’40s and ’50s. Tucked inside the shadows of the Marine Parkway Bridge which connected the narrow strip to Brooklyn, her family would take shelter at the Ft. Tilden army base when storm waters besieged the town.

She lived right down the road from Breezy Point, a small nest of homes and bungalows settled by Irish immigrants. Cops and firefighters feasted on the prime fishing spot, making time with fluke and flounder, and inside the change of seasons with bluefish.

Over the next few decades, the town grew up.  The patriarchal attachments of poker games, beer and clamming gave way to the domesticity of their lovely matriarchs and bigger ideas. Big neighborhoods rose up along that strip of road that led to Flatbush strong.

Hurricane Sandy turned a house fire into devastation, 111 homes worth of it. Its wrath a humbling reminder that nothing beats the weather to a punch it wants to land.

Deep inside the smoldering tip of land book ended by Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean was that picture of the Virgin Mary. Maybe it’s coincidence, maybe it’s explained simply by the fact the statue wasn’t tinder. Both of those things are probably closer to the truth than anything else.

It’s hard to believe in signs, but I’m gonna try.





11 thoughts on “As last words go, all I got is a prayer

    • Susie- These people will roll up their sleeves and get back at it, and that kind of courage, in the face of such devastation, is all about hope. As for the Virgin Mary, I struggle with my faith at times and I keep it very close to the chest, but I never quite let go of it. If I haven’t let go to this point, I figure maybe I have a chance to take it with me, just in case it really does matter.

  1. Super post, my friend. So much has been said on news networks, but personal stories are the most powerful. Hope all is well with you and family…

  2. Handsome, you know the fight of your town as well as I. Hell, you know it better than me, since I’ve been lost in translation for a quarter century’s worth of this country living. New Yorkers never take a punch they can’t give back.

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