Guess Who Came to Dinner?

It’s been quite a weekend around here. We’ve had house guests—Kathy and Joe Kenda. Yes, that Joe Kenda, as in Lt. Joe Kenda of Homicide Hunter fame.

How did that come about? Quite by accident. I’ve long been a fan of Homicide Hunter on ID Discovery. In Proof of Life, Beaumont # 23, someone asks Beau in a rather snarky fashion if he’s planning on being the next Joe Kenda.

In October of last year, with Bill in back surgery recovery mode, I flew to Newport News to do a speaking event. Before the event started, I was seated on the stage awaiting my cue when a woman I didn’t know came up and said, “You put my husband in this book.”

I’m sure I gave her a very puzzled look. “I did?”

“Yes, Joe,” she said. “My husband, Joe Kenda.”

“You’re married to Joe Kenda?”

“Yes, he’s right over there.”

“Joe Kenda is HERE?”

So Kathy brought him over, we had a photo op, and I signed the book she had brought along. After the event, Kathy sent me a photo, and Joe sent me a text with kind remarks about my presentation. I was truly gratified. I write about fictional cops, but I have nothing but profound admiration for the men and women who do the real jobs of law enforcement. And so, to have a compliment from a real cop who is also a raconteur was high praise indeed.

For those of you who don’t know Homicide Hunter, it is based on many of the nearly 400 cases Joe solved during his 23 years with the police department in Colorado Springs. The show reenacts cases from the eighties and nineties. In the reenactments, Joe is played by Carl Marino while Joe himself serves at the narrator. He does so with absolute aplomb and no script. Initially the Hollywood types went into a blind panic at his scriptless delivery, but now that Homicide Hunter is the most successful cable show in the world, they’ve adjusted. The show does show up all over the world. Joe and Kathy’s son saw it in Saudi Arabia and Dan said, “Hey Dad, I didn’t know you spoke Arabic.” (He doesn’t but dubbing works.)

This summer when they mentioned that they were coming through Seattle on an Alaskan cruise, I invited them to stay over for a few days, coming or going. They did, arriving on Saturday afternoon and departing at o-dark-thirty on Wednesday morning.

It has been great fun. Occasionally you meet people and instantly feel at home with them, and Joe and Kathy are those people. There isn’t a pretentious bone in either of their bodies. When it came to fixing meals, clearing up, or pouring beverages, both of them jumped in to help. We talked until all hours, swapping stories. We talked about kids and dogs and work. Joe’s face is known world wide, so when a stranger walked up to him in the Dublin Airport and addressed him by name, their daughter was a bit dumbfounded. She knew her dad was on TV, but she had no idea he was EVERYWHERE.

Kathy, a trained nurse, spent 23 years as the wife of a dedicated policeman. She’s a hero in her own right. She’s also an amazing artist. Her paintings and quilts are breathtaking. Joe and Kathy are high school sweethearts who will celebrate their 52nd anniversary this December. She is the only person who, when she tells Joe Kenda to jump, he asks how far.

Two days of their stay overlapped with the start of the tour. But we managed. We were four of the eight people at the 11:30 AM showing of Downton Abby last Sunday. We took them to John Howie steak for dinner. We also took them to lunch at IKEA and served them them a homemade Sunday dinner. Breakfasts were mostly muesli made with berries and nuts with a foundation of Snoqualmie Falls oatmeal.

And when we told them goodbye, we all felt like we were sending off a pair of friends. I’m pretty sure we’ll see them again. The dogs who warmed up to them instantly are already missing them.

As that old Girl Scout song says: Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold

I suspect that Joe and Kathy are silver which will turn into gold—just like Janis Ian did.

I am one lucky girl!

12 thoughts on “Guess Who Came to Dinner?

  1. I love today’s blog and would have enjoyed being a fly on the wall in your home during this incredible visit. It does not get any better than this—my favorite author together with my favorite TV Show character, fusion at its finest—the blending of fiction and fact.

    Joe Kenda’s memes are so down to earth and memorable with my favorite being, “I WILL find you.” I am saddened to know this is the final season for Homicide Hunter on ID but understand they have something new in the works for Joe. Heck, maybe even J.A. Jance and Joe Kenda will collaborate on an upcoming novel. 😉

    Thank you for sharing this memorable event in your life.

  2. All I can say is WOW…how amazing your life is. I don’t have cable anymore, so I’ve not kept up with the show. I’ll check to see if it is on Hulu now.
    Thank you, for sharing your life so unselfishly – you are my muse and inspiration.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Hugs, Cecily

  3. I love Joe Kenda! Watch him all the time! What a happy surprise that you met and became good friends?? Maybe we will see his name again in one of your books! I am hoping “Sins of the Father” is waiting for me at the Sedona post office today!!!

  4. You meet such interesting people! I enjoy your blog, it’s a bright spot of decency and reason versus the political filth being screamed every day. I am so fed up with the lies and garbage, thank God and authors for good books to give us a vacation from it.

  5. I am not surprised you met Joe and Kathy Kenda and invited them to visit. That had to be such an interesting few days. I have watched Homicide Hunter on ID for a long time and like you, I am a fan of Joe Kenda.
    Sins of the Fathers was suppose to be delivered today but the only thing in my mailbox was my 2020 Medicare and You handbook. Not exactly the same thing.

  6. I always think of Grace Kelly when I see anything about Colorado Springs. Roommates and I had driven down from Denver for a party. We watched “High Society” after going to the Broadmoor for a drink.. We couldn’t believe that Grace was going to marry that little short guy from Monaco.

  7. I always share your posts with my Hubby…he loves Joe Kenda and his show…so He was very impressed. 🙂 We never watch the same TV…but he got me hooked on Homicide Hunter.

  8. Frank & I thoroughly enjoyed listening to you yesterday afternoon, Judy. I was glad to see there were several new J A Jance fans present. The folks from Mostly Books are the best! The Beaumont Bingo was fun and unique. So glad to add it to my “J A JANCE”
    room. We look forward to the Book Fair. Always wishing you safe travels and hugs to Bill.

  9. I just finished Sins of the fathers in a day and a half. 2 of my neighbors read your books too, so I share my library books with them. I relate to Beaumont because we live in Bellingham and many family members are in law enforcement. I would love to have Beaumont as a friend, lol. I do hate that he is aging tho’ and don’t want him to go anywhere. This was one of your best books ever. Thank you.

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