So Monday night, I was all set to make my triumphant return to the gym (had been sick for a week), and decided to do one of my senior citizen routines, which entails like a walking machine and watching TV (I don’t think many calories are burned, but hey, I’m out there). I had been dimly aware of this story about a family stranded in the snowy woods, but saw the detailed beginning to end details according Paula Zahn. I’m sure you know the story — this family of four driving from Seattle back home to San Francisco after Thanksgiving took a short cut and ended up getting snowed in. After seven days, the father, 35-year-old James Kim, decides to try to get help. The mother and two girls are rescued, but James is missing for another two days.
You see this kind of story, I feel like, once a year, so you get numb to it. People lose people. It happens all the time, but for some reason, I feel devastated they didn’t find him in time. I thought they would. I don’t know if I related more to it because the guy is Korean, b/c the couple is my age, b/c his wife has a really cool haircut, b/c the kids are pleasantly pudgy-cheeked, b/c they seem like an adorable family or what, but I get upset when I think about it.
What gets me are particular details, the disappointment of search and rescue team–how the Sheriff Anderson of Josephine County abruptly walked away mid-sentence from the camera after he announced they found his body.
I think about the tremendous, powerful expression of James’s father’s love. This dude wanted to find him. He hired his own helicopter to search for his son, he arranged for care packages including clothing, food, and letters from family to be dropped from the sky, to give him hope that they would find him soon. And while all this was going on, this media frenzy, and his family working hard, James was wandering in the woods, actually slogging through cold water. Who knows what he was thinking. I can’t believe it didn’t work. I’m so disappointed. It should’ve worked.
Anyway, if you want to donate money, you can go to www.jamesandkati.com. (Yes, I am obsessive.) There are a lot of blog chats about pros and cons of James’ logic to get out of there, but I really don’t care about that part. I guess if I wanted to walk away with something positive about this situation there are a few things. I was heartened to see all these non-Koreans rally around this guy and not see race as a barrier (yay!) and I think it’s uniquely American when people pull out all stops to save one person. Remember Clinton with that teenage kid about to get his bum whipped in Singapore? Perhaps some would see us indulgent or impractical, but I choose to believe it’s because Americans care about each other.