The road ends, but the journey continues...

At the Y Wondering Why?

South Florence, SC water tower

February 2018 – repairs being made on the South Florence water tower

Wednesday, October 3rd I drove the 5 miles across town to the newer Aldi’s on the West side of Florence, SC. It’s a better one than the one in our neighborhood as I live one block west of the area demarcated as ‘the other side of the tracks’ on the South side of town. I’ve long since given up taking casual walks around our neighborhood due to safety issues and drive to an area across town, not too far away from that same Aldi’s, to walk the Rail Trail when weather permits. All of that to say, most of my exercising occurs indoors at the YMCA a few blocks from our little rental home.
Around 4ish that same Wednesday afternoon, I wheeled my almost empty grocery cart to the only open check-out lane. I arrived third in line, standing behind two others, each with heaping shopping carts filled with groceries and cases of special Aldi’s offerings. After waiting about 10 minutes, watching the lone checker struggle with the bulk purchases of the first customer, I decided to return my 3 items and come back another day. That put it at 4:15 when I left the parking lot to return home, empty handed, around 4:30ish.
Meanwhile, about 3 miles further northwest of that same Aldi’s, in an upscale neighborhood, an ambush was taking place. 7 police officers were shot…making National News.

click banner for local article, Resident: Daughter Scared to Death

click banner for local article, “Resident: Daughter Scared to Death”

flag half mast in front of YMCA Florence, SC

October 2018, Florence, SC – Flag at half-mast flown in front of the YMCA, with the South Florence water tower in background.

Saturday morning I exercised at the Y on the elliptical in my usual fashion. I was flanked on both sides by exercisers plugged into their music but watching the various TV screens before us. Scanning the offerings, I noticed a mid-morning update on the ‘Florence, SC police shootings’ on CBS. The report caught my eye with its recognizable photos of local places telecast on National TV.
It was surreal watching the closed captioned silent report and visuals while doing my workout at the FloTown YMCA.
Afterwards, almost instinctively, we three made brief eye-contact. Relaying the same message:
How can this be?

Neighborhood gunfire soundtrack:

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NAS


  1. Mary

    I’m so sorry. Recently read Austin Kleon’s blog on “be the light or reflect the light “ and thought it helpful in our troubled times.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I’ll add another to that excellent suggestion: “Walk in the light”. How’s that?
      Take care. I know you make a difference, one stitch at a time.

  2. tierneycreates

    Such sad news and so sorry for the officers and their families

    • laura bruno lilly

      A story becoming all too common – across all ages, occupations and communities.

  3. Leueen Willoughby

    This was such a tragic event. Sadly shootings and deaths occur all over the US and here in Canada too. It seems that shootings and deaths in Toronto now happen every few days. Interesting that you met the eyes of the others on the ellipticals/treadmills. You shared a moment there. We are all on the same planet with the same dreams and fears.

    • laura bruno lilly

      That moment was a surprise and powerful.

  4. Heather

    What an awful event. It’s so upsetting to hear stories like this. x Thoughts and prayers with everyone that has been involved. xxx

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes, upsetting, and shouldn’t ‘be’ – but helps us the living to keep focus on what’s really important in our own lives…blessings to you, Heather.

  5. Andy

    Shooting after shooting

    • laura bruno lilly

      And all in the ‘free world’ – makes one pause doesn’t it?

  6. Marty

    Oh, dear. I’m so sorry something like that happened in your own area. It does make one consider all the earthly messages of being thankful for each day that’s given to us.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes, thank you for that reminder, Marty.

  7. Janis

    Yikes! So much anger and craziness out there. I’m not sure what will put that genie back in the bottle. There doesn’t appear to be any truly “safe” neighborhoods (although we do get overwhelmed with bad news… most people go through their lives just fine).

    • laura bruno lilly

      I think the notion of a ‘safe’ neighborhood has bit the dust. And yet, so many places on this earth never had a hope of anything ever being ‘safe’.

  8. Deborah Brasket

    So many senseless slayings! Often it feels so far away, so distant. But when hits us where we live, it becomes ever more sharp and “real.” My prayers go out to all of you and especially those officers and their families.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Agreed, flower sister.

  9. Jennie Fitzkee

    So terrible. It really must have been surreal for you, Laura.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes and yet I wasn’t directly affected by those events…how much more they still have to go through…sigh.

  10. Irene Olson

    So very grievous. After events such as this one, I have to remind myself that good does exist in the world but its voice is oftentimes silenced by horrific acts. I could not listen to the neighborhood gunfire soundtrack, knowing what each of those shots represented.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I struggled with the neighborhood gunfire soundtrack, too. But as a musician, I found it compelling on many levels – all with sadness, respect for those affected and horror at the all-too-commonality of it, here and in other parts of the world. For years, I couldn’t listen to anything related to army helicopters, the single most defining characteristic of the Vietnam War to me, but then I realized it was a form of standing with those whose lives were directly affected by that war…a form of honoring what they went through and grieving that anyone had to go through it at all.
      Don’t know if that makes any sense, but I mean it in a respectful way.


    Thanks for posting your insightful commentary on this tragic event. Why, indeed.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh Joe, thanks for your tacet support always.

  12. Jill Weatherholt

    It seems more difficult to comprehend when things like this hit close to home. God bless our law enforcement who put their lives on the line each time they begin their shift.

    • laura bruno lilly

      So true, Jill.

  13. L. Marie

    What a horrible event!!! My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those officers. May God restore peace to this troubled land.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Amen and amen.

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