What is Washboard Express?

Washboard Express is a way for me to express my own opinions, to be a provocative gadfly, by writing a "letter a day" to the President. I may miss a day here and there, because sometimes my family with be my first priority, but my goal is to write a total of 365 letters, representing one full year. To say I have opinions about most things would be to understate the obvious. Those of you that know me, know this is true, those who don't know me, will learn that it's true. The Washboard is a reference to going back to basics and "keeping it clean," so if you would like me to post your comments or opinions on this blog, I only ask that you be respectful. So go ahead, express yourself, and I look forward to an exchange of ideas and opinions.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Letter #157... Dear Mr. President... My Phone won't Ring this Year.

Dear Mr. President,

For the last 27 years on August 14th I’ve received a phone call from my son Jeff saying, “Thanks for the kidney mom, I love you.” This year there will be no phone call, because Jeff passed away on April 7th of this year from Pancreatic/Liver Cancer.

But I have to tell you, as much as I miss Jeff, I am eternally grateful for the ‘extra’ 27 years I had with him, because in 1984 I had a good job with a fortune five hundred company that provided excellent health care benefits. Those benefits paid for not only Jeff’s transplant costs, but mine as well, even though my kidney donation was elective. I doubt we would be so fortunate in 2012.

Jeff with Itchy and Scratchy in Pahoa, Hawaii
No, the phone won’t ring this year, and I’ll never hear his happy voice again, but I have 27 years of wonderful memories to count and savor whenever I think of him. I have photos to remind me of the sweet man he turned into, his love of family, animals, and his music. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but he had a good heart, and was loved by all who knew him.

Jeff was a champion of the underdog, often taking in a homeless person, or planning a benefit to feed needy families. The last gig he planned was to benefit “Food for Families” in Pahoa, Hawaii, where he lived. Unfortunately he was unable to play his drums in that gig because his cancer was too advanced, and he had to move home with us before the event. His band mates sent photos and a CD, so he could see that his last gig was a success even though he wasn’t there.

Although this will be a quiet day, it is not a sad day, because time can never erase those 27 years of memories. Others have not been so fortunate, many people die every year because they don’t have the kind of insurance that would allow them receive a lifesaving transplant like Jeff got.

I want you to know Mr. President, that you and Vice President Biden, and the Democratic Party are all that stand between Americans being able to afford the type of health care Jeff and I had back in 1984, and the Republican Party that seeks to destroy and dismantle that health care for all but the very wealthy. You must stop the GOP’s radical agenda that will decimate the middle class and this country.

You simply must prevail in November, lives depend on you winning a second term, ensuring the continuation of the Affordable Care Act, strengthening Medicare and Medicaid, and protecting Social Security, as we know it. You must make the case to the American people, that continuing to appease the top 2% will bankrupt America.

So instead of receiving a phone call this year, I’d like to make a phone call to you Mr. President, saying “Thank you for protecting our health care, Medicare, Social Security, and our Country.”

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers,
Your Gadfly Granny


  1. Thank you so much for posting this. I am hopeful that we will continue to 'turn the corner' on healthcare and that eventually will have universal coverage.
    And all supporters of a more humane health care system must roll up our sleeves and work hard to help others understand the reality of need.