I have no idea what he thought he was doing, but a local weather forecaster has already charted the path of Hurricane Ernesto as coming toward our city. I mean, it’s still in the Caribbean and not even a hurricane yet. Let’s not rush things. There will be time enough to panic.
Phone call from Seattle. Freddie and Elaine Arnold were about to step on board their ship for the cruise to Alaska. A dream vacation. He was thinking hurricane and what we would need to do in case of evacuation. I assured him we would do everything necessary, and that he should put all this out of his mind and enjoy the trip. Which is the whole idea, to get away from it all.
Some of our family members are flying out to New York City early Wednesday, taking a long Labor Day weekend, seeing some sights, Broadway shows, and such. This may turn out to be a perfectly timed evacuation.
I spoke Saturday night at Enon Baptist Church in the Washington Parish community of the same name. They showed videos of their community under seige from Katrina last year, then paid tribute to their people who worked chain saws and distributed food and water from the church and prepared meals for workers. They did not have the flooding much of our area experienced, but they came through a life-changing event with flying colors. Tonight, they too had Ernesto on their minds.
I told them about the fellow who was deathly afraid of getting on a plane, fearing it might have a bomb on board. Finally, he hired a statistician to calculate the odds of that happening. “One chance in a million,” the expert reported. “That’s great,” the fellow said, “but what are the chances of getting on a plane with two bombs?” The guy worked his calculator a few minutes and said, “The chances of that happening are something like one in a hundred million.” “That’s more like it,” the fellow said. Thereafter, any time he got on a plane, he took a bomb with him.
It’s a joke, Ginger. But it leads us to ask: what are the chances of two massive hurricanes hitting the same area the same week, two years in a row? I hope the answer is one in a hundred million. Ernesto, take note.
Years ago, I was in a minor traffic accident. I was a passenger in a station wagon driven by the local funeral director. We had left the cemetery and were headed back to the church. As we approached an intersection, a pickup truck ran a stop sign and we broadsided him. My forehead broke the dashboard and I bled like everything. Got a nice ride to the emergency room in the ambulance, and the nurse patched me up and everything was fine. However, the next funeral, driving back down the same street, the funeral director did one of the most thoughtful things I have ever seen. As we approached that intersection, he slowed to a crawl and we eased across it before he sped up and drove on. I had not given a thought to the fact that we were coming to the scene of the first accident. However, my subconscious knew. As we drew closer, suddenly everything inside me tensed up. The funeral director had already anticipated that and was being considerate. Both his actions and my reaction took me completely by surprise.
That’s our situation as we face the possibility of a hurricane in the Gulf that might be headed our way. We’re still recovering from last year’s onslaught and have no tolerance, no energy, no resources, and no strength for dealing with another just yet.
If we do get a hurricane, even if no levees break, look for large numbers of our citizens to decide to move away, that it’s just not worth the wear and tear on the emotional system.
Driving south across the Causeway Saturday night, I picked up a radio station playing three hours of post-Katrina blues. Who would have thought our musicians could have been so prolific so quickly. I have no idea what musicians and singers I heard, but it was so well done and so perfectly expressed. Especially the one called “Raining Pain.”
If Ernesto comes this way, look for it to rain pain.
We don’t wish a hurricane on anyone else, so we’ll not be telling the Lord where to send it. We will pray however for His protection on our city, our neighbors, ourselves. And we’ll appreciate the prayers of others for the same.