Hurricane Thoughts

I know hurricanes.
Always swooping in overnight
With screeching winds,
Drenching rains, tornadoes.

Now Texas has come under fire
With a monster called Harvey.
Watching the devastation
Brings it all back to me.

No power for days on end.
No air conditioning; no hair drying;
No cooking; no television.
Hot sodas, no ice, bed at dusk.

Trying to get a newspaper out
Without the resources needed.
The easy part is finding folks
Willing to tell somebody their story.

Flooded homes and businesses,
Empty spaces where buildings once were.
Disruption of daily existence;
Focus on the elation of being alive.

Trees stripped of leaves,
Long lines, irritability.
Staircases leading to an open sky.
Gratitude to strangers for aid.

I know hurricanes.
And while coastal living can be ideal,
It also can be precarious.
Maybe cornfields aren’t so bad.

Note: I’m forcing myself to turn off coverage of Hurricane Harvey, or I’d never get anything done. Still, my thoughts and prayers are with those uprooted by its path. Stay safe out there!

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Winter Misery

The one person you never want to see in your hometown is Jim Cantore.

Not that he’s not cute as a bug and smart as a whip.

No, it’s because he always shows up when bad weather is on its way. Or has already arrived.

Tornadoes? Hurricanes? Blizzards? Yep, poor Jim gets ’em all.

If you’re lucky enough not to be where he is, you can watch him on The Weather Channel. Better for your nerves, you know.

Anyway, Jim’s probably wearing hip-high waders, standing in the middle of storm surge with floating debris circling like sharks, talking about uprooted palm trees and windows shattered out of buildings.

Or he’s in an L.L. Bean parka, stocking hat, and insulated gloves, pointing out downed limbs, frozen water pipes, and a coating of ice on streets and sidewalks.

Not something you want to endure in your lifetime.

Wonder what poor Jim did to deserve the difficult assignments (or are they plum assignments? I sure wouldn’t know). Perhaps it’s just his nature, to follow the bad weather, sympathize with its victims, and explain it so those of us not suffering through it will understand what happened and why.

But I think it must be depressing, having to listen to all those sad stories from residents affected by Mother Nature’s wrath.

Speaking of weather, have you noticed that suddenly, we’ve got named winter storms?

The first time I heard The Weather Channel talking about “Athena,” my interest piqued. But as they moved to “Brutus” and “Caesar,” it became just plain annoying.

We’ve been calling hurricanes by name since the 1940s, way before many of us were born, so we’re used to that. Besides, hurricanes don’t generally roll in one right on the heels of another.

Winter storms are different. As soon as one crosses the Rockies, another one forms to take its place. It’s nothing to see two or three of them dotting various locations on the map, with weather casters looking like jugglers trying to keep up with who’s who.

The idea of naming winter storms started with the 2012-13 winter season. Weather casters claim a name gives a storm personality, raises public awareness, and makes it easier to track.

What do you think? Do you prefer something descriptive like “Snowmageddon” or “Blizzard of 1980?” Or do you like giving winter storms a name like “Draco,” “Gandolf,” and “Khan”?

I’m not sure, but I think misery is misery, regardless of what you call it!

What a bunch of weenies!

Okay, I promised another move-in story, so here goes.

Arriving in South Bend, I wanted to get checked in to a hotel before moving My Favorite Domer into his dorm for Summer Term.

He, of course, insisted he move in first.

Since he only had a small window of time to move in, I acquiesced.

It wasn’t as bad as last year. We probably packed better, the weather cooperated, and we had less stuff.

How much junk does a kid need for Summer Term, anyway?

It’s almost like packing for camp.

So we got him settled, then off we went to find me a room for the night.

That’s when the fun started.

We checked a couple of places — all full.

Finally, in frustration, I asked one of the desk clerks what was going on that had hotel occupancy off the charts.

He sheepishly admitted they’d had a wicked storm the night before, and most of the hotel guests were actually residents who didn’t want to be inconvenienced because their power was out but knew the hotels had generators.

Huh??

You could have knocked me over with a feather!

After all, I lived on the Gulf Coast for several years, and every season (or so it seemed!), we had a hurricane blow through and knock out power for a week at a time!

In 90+ degree weather, day AND night!

No hot food. No hair dryer. No air conditioner. Not even a stinkin’ fan!

But we suffered through it. Brave little warriors, wearing our sweat-drenched T-shirts and sharing our tales of woe with anybody who’d listen.

Yet here these “weenies” were, spending a couple of hundred bucks to stay overnight  in a hotel — with FREE TV, air conditioning, and a pool!

Topping it off, the next morning I noticed the temperature had dropped to a cool 62 degrees.

I’m tellin’ ya, some people have more money than sense!