Ain’t That America?

What a week.

And all I can think about is, this time last week, the victims and injured from the Boston bombings and the West, Texas explosion were enjoying their Saturday night, feeling the warmth, beauty and promise of an early Spring weekend.

“You just never know.” “Life can change in the blink of an eye.” ” There but for the grace of God go I — or my loved ones.”  How many times have you said, heard or thought that this week?

From Boston to Texas, evil, destruction, anger and tragedy raised its ugly head. Again. And I, like you, am very sad about it all.

Personally, the terror in Boston hit very close to home. Literally.  Our long-time friends’ and neighbors’ daughter, Jessica, was at the finish line where and when the first bomb went off.  Jessica and Patrick, newly wed last summer, runners themselves, were cheering on friends, rooting for the Human race and the American way. They both lost their left legs below the knee. They’re both still in the hospital. They’ve got a long road ahead.  They need our prayers and support. But they will survive and flourish.

The images of grace and giving and the stories of compassion and sympathy, though, have trumped the repulsiveness, horror and evil.





A woman places flowers at a makeshift memorial at a barricaded entrance to Boylston Street a day after two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon


A citizen handing out OJ to traumatized runners. A police officer carrying a victim to medical care.  Neighbors consoling one another. An evening vigil, and a wish for Peace. A makeshift memorial.

Ain’t that America?

When Jessica’s family took the red-eye to Boston Monday night, they were accompanied by the neighborhood’s collective thoughts, prayers and well wishes for their Jessica and Patrick. Of course. When we awoke the next morning, we were touched and struck, but not surprised, by the fact that the family had left town for an unknown, indefinite period of time… but not before hanging the American flag in their front yard.

An amazing family facing the height of adversity. And they proudly fly the American flag.

Ain’t that America?

So Janet, a kind friend and thoughtful neighbor, suggested we all hang our flags (like we did post 9-11) in our front yards as a show of solidarity, to support in absentia Jessica and Patrick on the other side of the country, to emulate what this family-in-trauma had done. And then the next day, there were Tony and Zack, each pulling a wagon filled with American flags, diligently hanging an American flag on each and every light pole in our Gold River community.

photo (6)

{One of the many flags hung in Jessica’s and her family’s honor in our neighborhood.}

Ain’t that America?

As news spread about “one of our own” being affected by the Boston jerks/radicalists, everyone that I encountered, to a person,  felt impotent and frustrated, not knowing how to help. “What can we do?” “How can we help?”


{Patrick and Jessica Kensky Downes)

As of this moment, $560,355 has been raised for Jessica

and Patrick. And that’s just one fund! Another fund has been set up by a close friend of the family, Leslie Kelly. If you want to give, go to any Wells Fargo Bank in the country and donate to the “Patrick and Jessica Kensky Downes Recovery Fund.” 100% of the proceeds go directly to them. $5, $10, $100 or more, it all adds up. Every single penny will be needed for this young couple to get the requisite future surgeries, rehabilitation, counseling and lifelong medical care that lie ahead.

And there are funds set up to give to all of the other victims as well, who are in need of monetary help just as much as Jess and Patrick are.

Donate. Give back. Care.

Ain’t that America?

So they captured “Suspect #2” (he’s not worthy of my mentioning his name) last night. He’s in serious condition. I hope he survives —  not so he can ever enjoy a Saturday night like so many victims did last Saturday night — but so he can be grilled and interrogated and tortured (there, I said it) by our professionals, our experts, so we can perhaps learn more as to how and why this repugnance, maliciousness and malevolence comes to be.

There’s a size XXL spot in my heart for all law enforcement, as my father was an LA cop and an investigator for the DA’s office. Now?

It’s even  larger. The Boston PD, the FBI, the ATF, the military and other agencies put the city on lockdown, had four sleepless nights and worked countless, round-the-clock hours. But they got their guy!


{Relief, exhaustion and jubilation.}

And the community, the country, the world celebrated!


{Go America!}


 {Go Boston!}

So yeah, it’s been an awful week. Lives and limbs were lost. Optimism and joie-de-vivre took a big hit. Our collective hearts skipped several beats. Tears were shed. Anger, disgust and sorrow were expressed.


But resolve, tenacity and love of country will prevail.

I mean…

Ain’t that America?!



9 Responses to Ain’t That America?
  1. Therese Fowler-Bailey
    April 20, 2013 | 10:42 pm

    Beautifully written with such compassion and respect for all.

  2. Julie Mietus
    April 21, 2013 | 12:18 am

    Kleenex please. tears of joy, sadness, fear, feeling proud, sick, mad, thankful, but most of all blessed- Well written Jodi! as usual :) thank you

  3. Marlene
    April 21, 2013 | 6:53 am

    Your best ever. Just so sad for the subject at hand. The family is so fortunate to have you guys and a supportive neighborhood. Pass that box of Kleenex….

  4. Julie Baker-Law
    April 21, 2013 | 8:11 am

    Thanks for taking what is in our hearts and putting it in ink. Proud to be your friend~

    Ain’t that America!

  5. michelle kozlowski
    April 21, 2013 | 9:33 am

    Well said Jodi! Thank you for starting off my Sunday reminding me how proud I am to be an American. Let’s all fly are American flags 365 days a year!

  6. Becky Schultz-Hall
    April 22, 2013 | 7:15 pm

    This is so sad! Thanks for putting in words how we are all feeling. Beautifully written Jodie!!

  7. Krista
    April 23, 2013 | 9:22 am

    Oh Jodie…..once again you’ve summed it up eloquently. My heart hurts for your friends, and our entire country. An injury, and event like that is like a death in the family. Its pain will dim but never go away. I will head right down to my closest Wells Fargo and donate what I can. Thank you for putting into words what we’ve all been feeling. Speechless on this end!!!!! Be fried my friend.

    • marilyn
      April 23, 2013 | 3:44 pm

      This is just amazing Coop. You summed up everything so well. Beautiful job on an incredibly difficult subject.

  8. Jeanne Bovill
    April 24, 2013 | 9:44 am

    Thank you Jodie for such a beautiful piece about ugly tragedies.

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It's true! Despite playing defense virtually all my life against the onslaught of this sometimes-ugly aging process, it...has...arrived! I naively thought I would escape cellulite (the Cottage Cheese) and crow's feet (the Crepe Paper). But I didn't! And why didn't anyone tell me about this emotional roller-coaster that comes with being an Empty-Nester?! My name is Jodie Barringer Myers. I'm a 54-year-old Friday/chardonnay/ hydrangea-loving wife/mom/court reporter living in Sacramento (Gold River!), California. Writing is cathartic for me. And because I look to find humor and humility among the rubble that is my now very peri-menopausal self, I'm hopeful that you will laugh, cry, learn, enjoy and, most of all, relate to what I have to say. After all, we're all in this together, right?

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