I quickly glanced at the text I had just received on my phone.
It appeared that one of my sisters who lives right on the “tippy-slopey-slippery-sandy” edge of the Southeast Florida coast was going to be slammed and upheaved and flooded and swept away like a red and white plastic bobber on a 25lb fishing line
right into the vast abyss of the Atlantic Ocean
all a result of the swirling arms of hurricane Irma!
I said, “The Governor says “GET OUT NOW!!”
Another brother said, “The flood surge is going to be 20 feet deep. That’s over the tops of houses.”
She needed that detail of measurement.
Another nephew said, “I’ll buy you a plane ticket, but you have to tell me now because there is only ONE ticket left.”
Another niece said, “Come stay with us! We have a cement block house!”
At the risk of sounding like an overly dramatic family,
let me state what I’m sure is already apparent and blatantly obvious:
we aren’t dramatic!
We are simply a “family of do-ers and figure it out-ers and let’s all put our heads together-ers AND figure out the best way to weather the storm-ers”.
Yeah, that’s what we are.
Having eight living siblings and a multiplicity of nieces and nephews and extended family members who love her dearly,
well…let it just be said that we were “loving” her
with A LOT of advice about “sweet ole’ hurricane Irma”.
It’s interesting how we are so good at handing out advice
when we aren’t the one in a storm.
In her years on that sandy Florida coast,
she’s weathered quite a few hurricanes.
Some better than others,
though none has come with such an ominous prediction.
Last Tuesday, as is typical for me, (when it appears to me here in Indianapolis that she is in imminent danger of being lost at sea…) I started texting her a list of things to do and prepare for the hurricane…
like I should know…right?
But I LIKE lists.
I find they are a great way to get a lot done rather quickly
AND in the process make yourself feel super accomplished
SO being happy to help~I started in with what I will dub
“List Texts”. 😉
First on the list was the food deemed important for survival such as:
several pounds of peanut M&M’s, Snickers and Payday candy bars!
You know…the essentials, along with Popcorn and Dr. Pepper.
I suggested she drop everything
and get to the store right that minute
and buy plastic totes to pack all of the essentials.
I suggested that she rush through her home with my “List Texts” in hand, grabbing the suggested items and pile them on her sofa, until the previously stated plastic totes had been purchased.
Never mind that it was Tuesday, and land-fall was expected on Sunday, following.
I suggested that she MAKE SURE she had a COMFORTABLE and COZY
chair to take to the shelter…you know like one of those folding umbrella type lawn chairs, in bright blue maybe, COMFORTABLE and COZY.
I regret that I didn’t put a pillow on the “List Texts”.
I suggested that she use her favorite quilts that mother made,
to cover herself, that way she would have the quilts.
Though, come to think of it, it was humid and 195 degrees when the power transformer blew up and they lost electricity, so I don’t know about the quilt idea…but the pillow still would have been good.
The lists went on:
(in random and circuitous order)
an extention cord (“Why?” you ask. “Uh, there’s no power.”)
wash cloth AND towel
of utmost necessity
write IMPORTANT phone numbers on your arm in BLACK permanent marker
(like you know, in case you are swept to sea, but happen to find a working land-line phone).
I thought about telling her to use safety pins to pin her pocket closed so her cell phone wouldn’t float away or sink to the bottom of the ocean,
but I didn’t…I DO still think it was a really great idea though.
It is interesting to me how people prepare for storms.
So now…back to the text…
I looked at my phone and read the text my sister had sent me:
“One of my friends told me she has almost everything ready to go to the shelter and she’s taking eggs and beans among other staple items.” I told her that was good. I was bringing snacks!”
In that instant I started laughing…
not the loud hohoho hahaha laughter,
but the laughter where your body shudders like you are laughing in church and you’re supposed to be quiet…and you’re sniffling and quietly gasping for air as you compress the noise…
yeah, THAT laugh.
And I couldn’t stop. I could NOT stop!
I laughed and laughed and laughed.
I used a towel to wipe the tears flooding from my eyes.
Last week I was in agony, with my heart ripping in shreds at the sight of an elderly couple being removed from their flooded home. And now, here I was days later, silently laughing so hard at the visual image of my sister sweetly texting that she was taking SNACKS!
I wasn’t making fun of them or their conversation.
My hilarious response to the text made no sense at all.
not even to me…
My laughter was ridiculous.
Probably inappropriate and completely incomprehensible…
Tiffany said she’d never seen me laugh like that. It’s true.
She probably hasn’t.
Storms will do that to you.
Storms will send you
and your emotions
all over the place.
I’ve seen people leave storms behind.
Move on. Leave it all.
I’ve seen people hunker down,
batten the hatches,
latch the shutters,
pull the ones they love in close,
hold on for dear life.
I’ve seen people
sit on the porch
and feel the storm
spray curtains of mist.
I’ve seen people stand in the storm
braced against the elements.
Or a personal favorite:
Daddy would watch the storm.
He would stand in the yard,
in a clearing, to see the sky.
He understood the clouds,
their colors and movements
and he would
watch and ponder and decide
the best path to safety.
He knew if we could wait it out
or should go to the cellar
or sit on the porch and feel the curtains of mist.
He taught us those things too.
Storms will make you feel like you are on a roller coaster…
spinning your emotions all over the place
riding forward, maybe sometimes backward..
up side down side
but forever changed from the storm…
yes, forever changed from the storm…
What is YOUR storm?
Physical, spiritual, emotional, social?
We can’t avoid the storms.
They will come.
It’s not the storm that determines who you are…
but it’s how you weather the storm until the sun shines again.
P.S. If you want a pillow like the one in the photos, fold a hand towel in half and safety pin the edges. Leave an opening to fill it with pillow stuffing and then pin the opening closed. No one will know that it’s not sewn “all proper like”. Well, no one except you and me and about 36,000 other people….give or take a few…or a lot.
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