• Marilyn Gardner Woods

#1m, #46

Updated: Jan 31



At the exact moment Joseph R. Biden Jr. was pronounced president of the United States, an ample and jolly forty-something health care worker with her mulberry-colored hair piled messily up on her head, injected the first Moderna vaccine into my left arm, high almost to the shoulder.


Driving home I listened as the inaugural ceremony ended; because he asked, I sang the third verse of “Amazing Grace” with Garth and his national sing-along. Loud and proud. A tinge of sorrow as I remembered Barack’s soulful rendition in Charleston as the grieving churchgoers sang along with their president.


As I pulled into my garage, the stunningly talented National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, in her unique and exhilarating rap-rhythm-ed prose, implored us to “climb the hill.”

Immediately to the couch, I quickly caught up; fast-forwarded to the moments of arrival. Serious men in black overcoats. Officers in uniform. Wool coats in every imaginable jewel tone (except for artsy Ella Emhoff); Michele Obama’s bordeaux matching the highlights in her hair. Leather gloves, cashmere scarves, even several Burberry blankets. Dr. Jill regal in ocean blue with velvet trim, her mask matching. Masks on all except the little baby, mostly black.


So many dignitaries, beautiful families, and proud politicians. Amy Kobachar’s enthusiasm so infectious. Gaga, a gold dove emblazoned on her bodice, delivered a soulful rendition of the “National Anthem,” more golden than her mike; JLO’s powerful patriotic medley of “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful” outshone her many crystals.


Kamala, fittingly wearing purple associated with royalty, together with Sonia, lump in my throat.And then came Justice Rogers and Joe. In a matter of minutes, we had our new president. A guy who calls us folks and prefaces many of his statements with the conversational “Look…” like he’s standing next to you.


His passionate pleas and promises, goose-bump inducing for sure, gave hope for transformation and restoration. “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this, if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts."


There is no limit to my hope. My new president vowed, "I give you my word: I will always level with you. I will defend the constitution. I will defend our democracy. I will defend America."


Dewy-eyed for sure seeing Amanda and hearing her rapturous poetry a second time. A vision of “bronzeness” in summer yellow with a striking red headband, a nod to Maya Angalou’s Caged Bird, she mesmerized with her ballet dancer’s graceful hand movements, twinkling eyes and her big-as-the-White-House-smile. "The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light if only we're brave enough to see it, if only we're brave enough to be it."


As the post-inauguration activities commence in DC and dusk descends on my day’s highlights reel, I am filled with a mega-dose of promise and patriotism and unbridled joy.

Today Moderna Vaccine #1 and President #46.



Love reading your thoughts flow on so poetically and naturally. I listened & watched Amanda again , I see my granddaughter Dayle being inspired by her style in gestures & rap rhythms..., she won & was published in school poetry booklet, so who knows what comes from the Inauguration .

I was also quite emotional with the speeches & their sincerity, receiving the vaccine at the same time, sort of the Queens Gambit!

Can hardly wait for a road trip, Laguna for starters ? mpr


Very cool last line. Thanks for envisioning it. J Wells


Each story you write seems more vivid, descriptive, and enticing than the last. Keep feeding us your stories, Marilyn! I love them.

Another one of your Texas friends, Nancy Cates


Loved this, but don’t forget Bernie in his brown jacket and the recycled mittens.

"I made Bernie's mittens as a gift a couple years ago. They are made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece (made from recycled plastic bottles). #BerniesMittens," Ellis wrote on Twitter in 2020. While speaking with Gayle King on CBS News, Sanders addressed his viral inauguration outfit. "In Vermont, we know something about the cold, and we're not so concerned about good fashion, we want to keep warm," the senator said with a laugh. "And that's what I did today." Barb





Inspirational and beautifully written. Going into my file to remember this historic day. SB


What a day! I too got the morning tears and goosebumps + a dose of afternoon Moderna!

Keep hope alive! Bess


Love it! Thanks Marilyn! A glorious event, and, yes! ... full of hope. Love, Judie


I am in awe of this beautiful and inspiration poet. I cried. D.


Loved, loved, loved this piece. My very favorite I have read so far.

Your thoughts and feelings echo my own, and I share your hope for this country.

I hope you are doing well Marilyn.

:) sam


There is no doubt that this past inauguration will be remembered as one of the most important moments in the history of our country. Curious how Joe Bidden was not my favorite 'contestant' when the primaries loomed ahead, yet right now I am fully convinced that he is definitely the best possible man to unite our country in this dark crossroads we find ourselves in. The problems ahead can seem insurmountable - more reason for all of us to roll-up our sleeves and pitch in. RS

Beautifully shared WD. I’ve had such a sense of peace since Joe stepped in. Such a balance in his steadiness. Undaunted in face of a most daunting job! Im all in. We have hope to be better citizens because he, Our Joe inspires us to be….to love, share, want the same peace for others for ourselves. I love and enjoy your writing so much. You have saved this special gift for all to enjoy and share….peace and love..a

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