Come September!

Hard to believe August is gone, but we are having a hot, sunny final week of summer and that helps ease the pain. I’d like to spend the afternoons on the porch with a good book (the new Anita Shreves novel) and a glass of lemonade, but this week is full of looming deadlines.

I’ve always loved this month. I loved going back to school, whether it was back to grade school or back to St. Louis – hot and steamy beyond belief there, in this month. I love the beach in September, when the crowds are gone and you can have an entire expanse all to yourself. I love September weather, when it’s still sunny but starting to cool off a bit. I love Earth Wind and Fire’s “September” and the old movie Come September, with Gina Lollabrigida and Rock Hudson. I saw the Beatles live at the Civic Arena in September 1964, and we opened TIC to the first patient in September 1984. Lots of good September associations.

But September will forever be a time of deep sadness and unforgettable grief. I try to honor September 11 every year, in some way. I still have not made it to Somerset – maybe this is the year.

The Eleventh Day of September

by Nancy Kennedy

It was the eleventh day of September.

The sky was azure blue and cloudless,

Flooded with light and warmth,

And all across the land

People greeted the day with gratitude

And turned their faces

To feel the warmth of the morning sun.

It was the eleventh day of September

And a girl named Juliana

Boarded a plane in Boston.

She was four years old

And on her way to Disneyland.

She sat up straight in her window seat

Strapped and safe beside her mother.

It was the eleventh day of September

And in Chicago a woman named Lisa

Arrived at work for an ordinary day

At an ordinary job in a tall building

Downtown, where her desk faced the window

And the endless azure sky.

It was the eleventh day of September

And all across America

The sky was blue and the sun was warm.

It seemed to give a golden blessing

To the beautiful new day. And all across America,

The people rose with that sun

And strode into that new day.

Not knowing.

Not knowing that a fireball would rise

from the depths of hell

And blow its way across America,

Immolating all in its path, searing their skin

And incinerating them,

Blowing bodies out of windows,

Falling, falling so fast but not fast enough

Able to feel the air around them,

Time stopping, slow motion,

Falling impossibly in mid air

And knowing.


Crushing beams of steel, columns of concrete

Flattening soft bodies beneath,

Blood running like a river,

Drowning screams and suffocated cries.

Clothes on fire melted into skin

Bones cracked in half and bellies impaled with metal

Hands reaching out and grasping only air.

Tons of paper burnt to white ash

powdered glass and pulverized concrete

Floating to the distant earth like a first coating

Of fresh snow, powdery soft but warm.

A chorus of voices crying out to God

One billion strong, voices mingled

With the incongruous chirping of a thousand birds

That we later learned were the safety sensors

That all the firemen wore.

I need to believe that they died right away.

I need that one simple mercy, God, please,

For each and every one of them –

That they never knew, as they listened to talk shows

On desktop radios and sipped their hot coffee

And turned on their computers.

I need to believe that they went into death

As they went into the day, oblivious,

Dying in an instant,

not suffering, not waiting, not hoping, not praying,

And not knowing.

Not knowing

Hello world!

Salutations, everybody! This is my first blog post on my new blog, nancynaturally.wordpress at I thought I needed a new place to set down my musings, ideas, and comments about all kinds of things. I am a writer and so a lot of what is here will relate to my writing, both my medical freelancing and  my creative writing. I will fix this up as I get used to working with it but for now, it’s going to be simple.

So here we are at the end of summer already, and my kitchen counters are overflowing with the bounty of my friends and neighbors gardens. Tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini galore. My fridge is full of cantaloupe and peaches. People are so generous with their gardens, so I am returning the favor with a little gift of my own: this a great recipe, easy and luscious, from Martha Stewart. I’ve been making it every summer for several years. It’s a savory version of a fruit crisp. It’s a perfect way to use up all those cherry tomatoes, and an ideal side dish. Happy eating!

Cherry tomato crisp

5 cups cherry tomatoes

2 slices white sandwich bread

¼ cup grated parmesan

2 T fresh parsley if you have it

1 T olive oil

1 chopped garlic clove

Coarse salt and ground pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In food processor, combine all but the tomatoes. Pulse 4-6 X until bread is coarsely chopped. In an 8-inch square pan, arrange whole tomatoes in one layer. (They will burst open as they roast). Sprinkle with crumb mixture. Bake 20-25 minutes until crust is browned and tomatoes are very tender.