A Prize From DADDY

"If you are a good girl, when I get home I will get you a prize - a Wizard of Oz prize!"
Daddy whispered this in Kristin's ear around 8 a.m.
On that fateful morning of September 11th.
Kristin, Tyler and I were all lucky that morning,
If any luck could be had...
I happened to make it into the city early that morning, 
And I thought it would be nice to surprise Daddy at the firehouse.

I saw the look of pride in Kenny's eyes as he put both children
In the driver's seat of "Daddy's fire truck"
And when it was time to leave,
We all got our kisses as Daddy went to each door of the car
And kissed each one of us.
I remember thinking what a special visit it was
As I drove away.

Little did I know when I saw that building collapse that day,
That our life as I knew it would never be the same.

When I began to tell Kristin a little about Daddy,
And that we were looking for him,
She said, " but Daddy was going to bring me a prize."

I wasn't sure what to tell her at that point, 
Because I still had hope that he would indeed be able to
bring Kristin her prize.

A couple weeks ago,
we 'found' the prizes he would have meant for his children -
A Wizard of Oz Dorothy doll for Kristin,
And a Scarecrow for Tyler.

Kristin turned to me and said:
Mommy, "Daddy left a prize for you, too."
A chill went through me as I asked her what it was.
She said she would get it, but would I cry when I got it?
"Is it okay if I cry?" I replied,
"No, it is not okay."
"Well, I think I will be sooo happy, I won't cry."
Kristin went in her room and brought out a 
Fireman Santa Claus ornament, 
An ornament I don't remember seeing before,
And Kristin said Daddy left it for me.

Daddy - our Kenny - left prizes for each and every one of us.
He left the memory of a wonderful weekend for us,
Some special moments at the ocean side with 
his father and children,
A walk on his favorite Long Beach Boardwalk,
Spending his last $13 dollars in his pocket for rides for his children at the local fair.

And for all of you, he left the memories you have of him:
His sense of humor...
His love of sports...
His toughness...
His sensitivity...
And his everlasting courage.

We have all of these prizes from him... 
He is our HERO!!!!
So when you start feeling sad, as I often do,
Just hear our Kristin reminding you - as she does me
"Remember, the prize you got from Daddy?" 

~Katrina Marino
October 16, 2001

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