Sunday, March 27, 2011


I had spent the week covering Operation Odyssey Dawn, only to have to come up with Operation Family Airlift when it became apparent that the launch of our book, "This Burning Land," would fall at exactly the same moment that Amelia was supposed to compete in the Maryland State championships for gymnastics. Somehow I reached Aunt Barb - she flew in from Boston. My 88 year old grandparents, just back from a safari in Kenya, drove up through the snow from Charlottesville and Memommy, Amelia's great grandmother and Barb went to Columbia, Maryland. Throughout the reading Aunt Barb texted us Amelia's scores: 9.55 on the vault, another 9.55 on the floor. The rest of the family joined us at Politics and Prose in DC where we had our first book reading. Greta Van Susteren took time away from preparing for a tribute to Geraldine Ferraro to stop by as did half a dozen dear journalist friends who had served in Israel and the Palestinian territories with us during the "Intifada Years." The kicker for me was when Zoe Matza, Michael and Linda's daughter who was just Annalise's age when we were all racing to suicide bombings and West Bank incursions came up to us at the end of the line to have her book signed. She is now a freshman at GW University in DC. Then the after party at Sarah Williams (friend since 5th grade) and Peter Mali's beautifully renovated home nearby was exquisite with food catered from Lebanese Taverna and a lot of friends who had all lived through some crazy times together. Another text from Aunt Barb: Amelia finished 3rd in the State! It was a housewarming for the Mali home. Greg was eloquent and since this book is really his baby more than anything, I couldn't have been prouder. Of course, it ended in tears when Sarah gave me a gift as we were leaving: a glass vase that my father had given to Sarah and Peter at their first house warming when they first moved in and he was gearing up for a bone marrow transplant. She told me she thought of him every time she saw it and wanted me to have it. My Dad would have loved today. I'm so glad I didn't miss it.