Monday, August 28, 2017

Hurricane Harvey

I don't really know how to phrase this without seeming callous and uncaring, in one way...  So I'll try to explain.  Hurricane Harvey.  People knew it was coming.  It did not appear overnight.  Yes, it suddenly grew in strength before it actually reached the coastline of Texas; but hurricanes are known to do that.  I feel very badly for every person and for every animal that has lost his or her life, who has lost their home, lost their belongings, lost their treasured items, lost their way of making a living, lost their vehicles, lost all the tangible items of value...  I, too, have lost everything, except my life, several times before.  I am a survivor.  I pull myself upright and I start making headway again.  I might have to borrow money and certain items, but they are always paid back, with interest.  Thirteen years ago, one national charity helped me with $250 in cash, to pay my rent.  I have given that charity more than $5,000 in the last 10 years, and not as a tax write-off either - it just makes me feel better.  I understand gratitude and feel it greatly.
   Hurricanes are a fact of life all along the water front areas of the eastern and southern United States.  My maternal family has lived on an island in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia for 350 years.  My grandfather built a store-ordered Sears, Roebuck & Company house for my grandmother before he married her in 1915/6.  MomMom chose the wall paper for the "big kitchen" which was where the family ate; it had slate grey vertical stripes of varying widths, imitating a trellis, and large bunches of blooming pink roses, on an egg-shell background.  I can still visualize the five high tide marks on all the walls in the big kitchen - a reminder of the four hurricanes and the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 that the house and all it's inhabitants weathered.
   If you knew a storm was coming with high water, your rolled up the rugs and put them in the attic.  You placed other movable items of value on the stair landings, around the bedroom (only one), and crammed the rest into the attic, also.  Once the water started rising, and was well above street level, you wore your hip-boots out, and waded to your dink (dinghy) or small run-about boat, like a bateau, and you poled it back home, tying it to the roof.  Sometimes the wind took bricks from the chimney.  Sometimes flying debris broke windows.  You just boarded up and carried on.
    I grew up with tales of big storms, high waters and hurricanes.  As a baby, we lived in Oceana, Virginia; then the Navy shipped Dad (and us) inland, to Millington, Tennessee.  I rememebr small flashes from living in Tennessee - but I remember a lot more from living in Kingsville, Texas.  And when I turned five years old, Dad retired from the Navy, and we moved to Florida.  I saw hurricanes first hand growing up, with school years in Florida and summers in Virginia, on the island.  I have to admit I was never in the exact path of a hurricane, but I've been too close for comfort several times.  I've also been through several outbreaks of tornadoes.  Yes, I am very lucky.
    What I've taken the long way around saying (or writing) is that I am just disgusted with some of the news reporting.  The word usage is awful.  People are repeating themselves over and over.  This landing of Hurricane Harvey is a natural, national disaster.  We all need to do what we can to help.  Donate to the Red Cross, donate to the Salvation Army, donate to smaller food kitchens; donate money, food, clothing, unused home items, time, and blood, sweat and tears.
   Please do what you can to help people impacted by this huge amount of water and wind.  Do NOT be like our President, and just Tweet - "Oh, this is so exciting!"  This is not exciting.  It's a disaster.

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