My dear friends have had so much taken from them. Not only was Independence Day a day of trauma and madness, two men murdered, one staggering in pleading with anyone to not let him die. Armed men deliberately targeting those people in the cars. Using guns designed for complete destruction, not protection or hunting.
That wasn't enough though.
I had fallen asleep before the Dallas shootings, I was worn out, tired. I simply needed rest.
It hardly seems like it was only yesterday morning that I was jarred awake by my phone. Bolting to wide awake as I recognized my dear "b's" face on the screen. She never calls me too late or too early - ever. Unless it's important. Life or Death important.
Before I'd even heard the news from Dallas, the news that was captivated so much of this country, I heard her voice. Sad, scared and defeated. She never sounds that way. Even Monday, when it appeared as bad as it could get, she was looking for a bright side. Thankful that none of her friends and family had been in the way of those 60 + bullets.
But at 4 am, as she softly told me the store was gone, I could hear something new in her voice.
Yep, the store is gone. Something that community needed. A gathering place, a place where the family took turns working to insure the community could have the items they needed. A place where kids brought their good report cards for a treat and where the owners might have been known to help out someone in need. A place to buy their lottery tickets or a coffee. To talk and gather. It was a start.
And in the wee hours of the morning, someone blew it up. It's gone. The people that lived upstairs got out okay. Why? What was the freaking point? I sat there on the side of my bed with tears in my eyes.
Helpless. Some of the best people I have ever known had been targeted by a couple of thugs.
I couldn't go to her. I desperately wanted to. But a white girl shows up there in the middle of the night, well, probably not a good choice. This city has a history that it cannot seem to let go of.
So instead, I sat there. I bowed my head and thanked God that no one was hurt. And I prayed for protection, for safety and for peace.
I am still angry about it. I am worried for people I love, I am worried for that community. I am worried for my country.
As I was sitting there stunned, trying to make sense of something that one cannot wrap their mind around, my radio started to play. My alarm set to NPR- only because they don't have tons of loud noises in the morning, rapidly made my stress level higher.
Brushing my teeth I hear the news of the massacre in Dallas. What in the world? Has everyone gone crazy.
Struggling to deal with too much already, I get a news alert from basically my back yard. Less than a ten minute drive from my house, on a road I travel multiple times a week. An officer had been shot. He's fighting for his life.
He didn't do anything.
He pulled a young black man over for speeding. As he walked back to his car the 31 year old creep (sorry can't call him a man) got out of his car and rapidly walked up on him shooting him three times. Once after he was already on the ground. As the coward takes off running, the neighbors rush to the officer's aid. They believe he was ambushed.
For crying out loud! What is happening? I treat my dogs with greater love and compassion than people are treating each other these days.
As Hubs and I took off on our ride we rode up New Ballwin Road, past that very spot. You could not tell that anything had happened, just an ordinary day. No one was protesting, nothing was burning, there were no hate filled signs marking the streets. There was nothing.
It feel odd.
Hubs and I danced in and out of space and time today. At one point we were following the path of the James Brothers. Wandering through their hideout in Stanton, Missouri. We were going to do the tour, but time was too short today, we hadn't realized it would be reopened. Corporate greed having poisoned it earlier this year.
A bit later we were riding blissfully along the old Hwy 66. Further from the city you pass so many old diners and motels that have long since seen their heyday. Time and nature are slowly reclaiming them. Hwy 44 stole their life blood.
Almost as suddenly we make a sharp left and are following the trail of Lewis and Clark. The path to Labadie is winding, cool and refreshing. It is breathtakingly beautiful. It will need more exploring. Maybe tomorrow??
After an hour wandering a very tiny town. We headed home. To avoid the traffic, we once again find us on New Ballwin Road. Only this time... it's different.
I almost missed the first one, I guess I was a bit distracted. Every tree now has a blue ribbon tied around it, some street signs too. Some houses have BIG blue ribbons and American flags. Most fences have signs stating proudly that "we love our police". My eyes welled up with tears. I was so proud of the good kind people in that neighborhood. As we neared the turn that would merge New Ballwin into Big Bend (the street we live off of) we finally spot the decorators. A young mother and her little girl are carefully adorning the entire street with blue ribbons.
There is goodness left. Maybe we need to stop rewarding the bad, start making people be responsible for their actions, no matter their color, gender, nationality... any of it. Maybe instead of protesting we start looking for good, for positive, for the blessings.
We are a strong people. We are a good, kind and loving people.
We are American's... maybe we could start acting like it....