Thursday, January 21, 2016

Richard B. Ross Way

I have gotten good at identifying various walking routes from my office to the medical complex where I go for physical therapy.  For someone very efficient at using a map, I do not have a great sense of direction. Give me a road map I can get from nearly anyplace to anyplace else. But tell me to walk to a place in this city of winding roads, I often take a circuitous stroll--excellent for my cardio vascular system and the healing of my hip, but a little tough on the extremities when it is below zero in New England.

I think I know the fastest route now.  I took it this morning for my 8 am appointment for getting beat up in the name of good health.  Just kidding. The people whom I have met at physical therapy have been dedicated professionals, each with a different set of strengthening exercises which I have embraced and, consequently, the various contortions have accelerated my recovery.

When I walked this morning to physical therapy I noticed a shortcut on a street I'd never seen before called, Richard B. Ross Way.  It would have been a shortcut, except that seeing the sign made me stop and consider it.   I knew, very peripherally, a Richard B. Ross and I was pretty sure why the road had been named in his honor.

About twenty five years ago a colleague suggested I meet with a Richard Ross to explore consulting opportunities.  My colleague had worked with the man, found him to be kind and professional, and thought--given my skill set he and I would connect.  I remember meeting him in the Prudential Center where he had an office at the time. He was, as advertised, a kind and professional man.  As it turned out I did not do any consulting work for him but, as I recall, this had less to do with him and more to do with my not getting back to him with some material he suggested I send along. Regardless, it was his soft smile and pleasantness that I remembered more than anything else.

So, I reacted with stunned horror when I read fifteen years ago that Richard B. Ross had been on American flight 11 that September day that nobody will ever forget.  Nearly everyone around here knows someone who was on one of those flights.  I hardly knew Richard B. Ross, but did know fairly well another victim, Nick Humber, who was on the same flight. Nick and I were regular squash partners. I see that Nick was in seat 22A. Next to the window. Left hand side of the plane. Good guy. You can tell a lot about someone on the squash court.  Nick was a mensch. Ross was sitting first class--2J first row on the other side against the window.

As I wrote above, you can't know many people who lived in Boston at the time and did not know at least one of the victims.

When I saw Richard B. Ross Way on my now efficient walk to physical therapy I was taken aback.  I had been feeling so good on my walk.  Feeling good ambling without a limp, early in the morning, whole day ahead of me--and then I saw the sign and there was a reminder of how irresponsible, insensitive, unethical, inhuman, the delusional hijackers were in thinking this asinine act was an act for God. What God? What God takes the life away from people in the name of God.  To hell with them. And they are there: burning in Hades for the duration, leaving a legacy that no person with a soul can respect.

I'm glad the city of Boston named a street after Richard B. Ross.  And I am glad I saw it this morning and will see it every morning I go to physical therapy-- a reminder of how wonderful is this precious life and how indefensible is any act that deprives another of the opportunity to enjoy it.

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