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Remembering the Day
An Essay by Bailey White

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It was one of those late summer mornings when you can feel the first hint of fall in the air, the kind of day you want to be outside early. I was weeding a bed of Thomas Jefferson onions when the telephone rang. I answered it carefully with my gritty hands, smelling of onions. 'Have you heard the news?' my friend asked. I left the onions and went in and listened to the radio all day, those familiar voices sounding so sad, the telling stumbles and the terrifying pauses; while outside the window that lost day went on and on in every shade of green.

Late in the afternoon I wanted to see it with my own eyes, and I drove into town and sat in the dark watching it over and over on my sister's television. They had done a good job on the radio. The only thing I was not prepared for was the brilliance of that morning, just like in my garden, the pink and gleam.

When I got back home, I wandered around for a while outside, thinking about the comforts, reasonable and unreasonable, that I longed for -- my best dog's old sad face, my mother with her britches' legs rolled up too high, Red Barber, President Clinton and the cheery lights of airplanes in the night sky twinkling with the stars. Then in the dark it came across what seemed like such a distance from that pink and shining morning now so long gone, the smell of onions.

Bailey White lives in south Georgia, and comes to NPR through member station WFSU, Tallahassee, Fla.