Posts Tagged ‘Boston’


It is said that the spaces between the notes make the music.  In the same way, the longing between separated lovers makes the story of their love.

Batumi  is a seaside city and the capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic,  in southwest Georgia.  There, at the edge of the Black Sea, Georgian artist  Tamara Kvesitadze  has created the 26-foot tall, moving sculpture called “The Statue of Love.” Her steel creation is based on the tragic love story of Ali and Nino, a Muslim boy and Georgian Christian girl who were separated by the coming of World War I and the Russian Revolution. Nino fled to Paris with the couple’s child while Ali joined the defense of Azerbajan and was killed when the Red Army invaded in 1918. The novel by Kuban Said, a Dr. Zhivago– style epic, was published in 1937.

At seven p.m. each evening, the computer-controlled statues move slowly toward each other in a spectacular light show, They join briefly in a passionate kiss, and then pass through each other,  leaving the beloved behind.  When I saw this video, I wished I could send it to Unhappy Reader, whose dissatisfaction with Ride Your Heart ‘Til It Breaks, I explained in my last post.   Perhaps viewing the video of “The Statue of Love”  would explain the story of Carrie Moon and Stan Benedict to Unhappy Reader in a way my words apparently failed to do.

At the beginning of Ride, an invisible force seems to draw Stan and Carrie toward each other evening after evening in Jazz By the Bay, just as the statues move toward each other in the twilight by the sea in Batumi.  Carrie thinks she is drawn toward Stan and his artistry as a musician without realizing her obsession stems from her need to recover her own inner artist and musician, the persona she left behind when she became a lawyer. Although Stan fights his attraction to Carrie because he thinks love never lasts for him, her unconditional support shines like a beacon in his emotional darkness and draws him closer and closer, just as the computers driving “The Statue of Love” move the lovers irresistibly toward each other in the twilight.

Stan and Carrie meet in a passionate embrace, like the the lovers in the “Statue of Love.” But they, too, literally pass through each other, as the pressure of their very different lives drives them apart.  Stan’s insecurities lead to muffing his chance  to become a big name musician in Los Angeles.  Carrie finds she cannot sustain the pressure of her legal career and the demands of wife and soon-to-be mother.

Tragedy strikes, moving Stan and Carrie apart, like the moving figures in the “Statue of Love.”  Years pass like the hours that pass before the computer activates the moving figures in Batumi once again.  And then, just as the computer switches on at the appointed time, the Universe moves Carrie and Stan toward each other once again, this time to learn love’s greatest lesson of all.

To view the magnificent spectacle of the “The Statue of Love” at twilight go here:


To purchase a copy of Ride Your Heart ‘Til It Breaks, click the link on the side bar of this website.  And let me know if you agree or disagree with Unhappy Reader.

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My Golden Retrievers, Melody and Rhythm, were also happy to see the last of the painter on Friday. Melody, my eight-year-old female, likes to spend the day sleeping in my bedroom. Rhythm, her seven-year-old brother, likes to sleep downstairs in my office. But the painting repairs disrupted their peaceful canine lives because on the days the downstairs was painted, Rhythm had to stay upstairs. And on the days the upstairs was painted, Melody had to be evacuated downstairs. And worse than that, they had to be child-gated into the kitchen for a few hours on the next to the last day because of all the coming and going. It wasn’t as bad as being whisked off to a strange hotel room for a weekend, but neither liked being denied his or her favorite sleeping spot even for a short time.

My dogs remind me of my children when they were small. They are comfortable within the confines of their routine, but they don’t like disruption. In Melody and Rhythm’s world, the food is supposed to be deposited in the bowl at approximately the same time every morning. Then as soon as Rhythm has finished inhaling his, he expects his daily medication. Immediately after that he is ready to go on his morning walk to see the ducks at the pond. Melody, who is notoriously lazy, has to be bribed to join us. After all the pond smells have been exhausted and after I have told Rhythm repeatedly not to eat pine cones, we come back home where they insist on one last treat before retiring to sleep off their breakfasts. I find the utter predictability of this routine day after day reassuring.

Goldens are amazingly sweet, loving, and patient animals. They make fabulous therapy dogs. During the tragedy at Newtown, I discovered the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs. They are Golden Retrievers trained to provide comfort and support; and they travel to disaster sites as well as to schools, hospitals, and hospices to offer love and comfort. They were the chief reason that some of the children were willing to return to school after the December 14 tragedy. Recently some of the Comfort Dogs headed out to Boston to comfort the Marathon bomb victims. Each Comfort Dog has a Facebook page, and they hand out their business cards to the people they comfort. One of the little Newtown survivors made a special box to keep all the dogs’ cards in and brought it to school to show the dogs her treasures. This morning the dogs and their handlers were given well-deserved special recognition and assistance on Good Morning America.

I adopted my first Golden from rescue after we babysat a friend’s Golden for a few days. Back then, the children and I lived in a house that had a small concrete slab for a back porch. Within an hour of our canine guest’s arrival, I found my then-three old sitting beside her on the slab, his arm around her neck, pouring out his heart to her as if she understood every word. And she sat and listened as if she, did, indeed, understand. Those were in the early black days of the divorce. and we all had heavy hearts and needed comforting. I called Golden Rescue that same afternoon and put us on the list for the first available retriever that needed a home.

A few months later, we adopted six-year-old Sasha, an adorable female Golden who lived to the ripe old age of fifteen. Really old for a retriever. She was so special it too two to fill her shoes: Melody and Rhythm.

Melody is stubborn, but doesn’t do much to get herself into trouble. She’s a small retriever and happy to do her dainty walk to the pond twice daily once she’s received a suitable bribe. Rhythm on the other hand, likes to live on the edge. He once got away from me and jumped into pond leash and all. And woe is me if he comes across a dead bunny. It is spring now, and bunnies are plentiful. They tend to become road kill or coyote kill. And sometimes bits and pieces get left behind. Rhythm has been known to go native on me and consume a whole bunny carcass while I watched in horror. All I can say is, dead bunny does things to a retriever’s digestive system you don’t want to know about.

My children and I have been blessed in many ways, not the least of which is the presence of our beautiful Goldens. Our personal Comfort Dogs.

Some of the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs in New York on their way to Boston

Some of the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs in New York on their way to Boston

Our Goldens, Melody and Rhythm

Our Goldens, Melody and Rhythm

The Pond - Our Daily Destination

The Pond – Our Daily Destination

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This has been a tough week for all of us. First the heartbreaking images from the Boston Marathon on Monday and then last night and today the death of one perpetrator and the capture of the other. Monday’s blast not only shattered the world around the marathon’s finish line, it shook all of us to our emotional core. How to believe in the essential goodness of humanity in the face of three young lives extinguished in seconds and hundreds maimed and injured? This is the place where we want to shake our fists at God and demand, “Are You There?”

The heroes who step forward in times like these are the ones who bring us redemption. Because they are willing to be selfless in the face of danger and even death, they let us go on believing that the essence of life is goodness and love. Boston and the sight of so many law enforcement officers, as well as civilians, stepping forward as heroes reminds me of a hero whom I never met and who died when I was two years younger than Martin Richard, but whose story has become an important part of my family lore. In the family I grew up in, the word “Boston” is synonymous with “Dick Horan.” Here’s why.

My father was an FBI agent. He was a very good FBI agent. That meant when something happened in the world – like Boston on Monday – our phone would ring in the middle of the night, and he would be whisked away on “indefinite assignment.” We never knew when he would be back. And once in a great while we would also admit the awful corollary: we never knew if he would be back – although it is exceedingly rare for an agent to be killed in the line of duty.

On January 17, 1950, a gang led by Joseph “Big Joe” McGinnis and Joseph “Spec” O’Keefe robbed the Brinks bank on the north end of Prince Street and Commercial Street in Boston. They arrived in Brinks’ guard uniforms and masks, went to the trouble of duplicating the bank’s keys, and made off with $1,218,211.29 in cash, and $1,557,183.83 in checks, money orders, and other securities. They divided an initial cut of the loot and put the rest away to wait for the six-year statute of limitations to run while they squabbled and fell out with each other. The FBI investigated the Great Brinks Robbery for many years and finally made arrests in January 12, 1956, just five days before the statute of limitations expired.

But my father had no inkling of that outcome when he got “the call” late one night in the winter of 1951. I was heading toward my second birthday in the coming August, and my mother was pregnant. In the 1950’s married women had children because everyone expected them to. But a more unmaternal person was never born than my mother. So she was not delighted to be left alone, although she knew it came with the territory of being my father’s wife.

Six months later, my father was still in Boston and had no idea when he would be back. It was hot, hot, southern summer in Tennessee; and my mother was uncomfortably pregnant and stuck with me, the charming child who neither napped nor slept. One particularly miserable day in mid-July, a scruffy man came to the door and asked to borrow the ladder he had seen in our open garage. Now, of course, my law enforcement wife mother should have known not to leave the door open or to say yes; but we were home, and it was hot, and she did. The man used the ladder, put it back, and then returned in the wee hours of the night and broke into garage.

Nearly eight months pregnant, my terrified mother summoned the police, who responded at once and frightened the man away. Later, Mother speculated he had seen the country ham she had brought from her father’s farm and the jars of canned goods my grandmother hand contributed and had returned to steal the food.

Calls to my father in Boston did not produce his return. I’m not sure if she asked him to come home, but I bet she did. However, the Bureau was not going to yank a top agent from a special assignment because of a domestic burglary.

Then, a week later, the doctor informed my mother my sister was going to be a breech birth. Now she really burned up the phone lines to Boston.

FBI agents work in pairs. My father’s partner was an agent named Dick Horan, then of the Boston office. Although my father did not strike up many friendships, he and Dick hit it off. That night after my mother’s call, Dick could tell my father was upset, and he insisted the two go to a movie. Now, my father hated two things in the world: sweets and movies. But he went because Dick insisted and eventually told him about my mother’s call.

In the family legend, it is Dick who went to the Special Agent in Charge and asked for the Bureau to send my father home. I suspect that is true, since I can’t picture my father, hat in hand, asking to leave. But not long after Dick dragged Dad to the movies, the SAC called him into his office and told him he was going home. To this day, I remember (and I was less than two mind you) going to the airport to get him that hot July afternoon in my best dress and hair bow. Then a few weeks after his return, my ever fickle sister turned herself around and was born head first.

On April 18, 1957, Dick Horan was killed by a fugitive on parole whom he and a team of agents were trying to arrest in Suffield, Connecticut. The rest of the agents went to the back door of the house. As Dick went down the basement steps alone, Francis Kolakowski shot him to death. I was just shy of my seventh birthday. After that, my father was ever-bitter about the subject of parole and would tell Dick’s story if the word was spoken in his presence. Understandable.

So, you see, heroes live on. I cannot count the nights my father sat around the dinner table, and in the tradition of true Southern storytellers, told Dick’s story. And today, all these years later, I am telling it to you. In the same way, night after night, someone will tell the stories of the heroes of Boston. And they, like Dick, will live in the lore of uncounted families from generation to generation. I never met Dick Horan, but I always felt as if I had. He meant a lot to my dad, who was close to few people in his life. Dick was a good man and a hero. And this week, the good men and women of Boston became heroes and redeemed us all. They gave us the hope and the courage to believe that evil is the exception and goodness is the rule.

Richard P. Horan, a hero

Richard P. Horan, a hero

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