Monday, September 04, 2017


It’s painful hearing the stories and watching the images coming from Texas. It’s hard wrapping my mind around disasters of this size. The impact is astounding. Everything from the inconvenience of being without lights and water, to where can I find a diaper?  Where can I find food for my baby?

I saw one news clip that showed a convoy of trucks pulling boats to help with the search and rescue. But boats are only the first step in rendering help. Recovery from devastation of this size will take years – even decades.

The young folks in the cosmetology school at Bevill State swung into action. They sent out an appeal to the community. The items on the list included baby food, toothbrushes, razors, and other toiletries. In my bathroom vanity, there were several unopened oral hygiene kits from past visits to the dentist.  I put those in a bag with a few other things. I tried of things to send to someone who has nothing. When I handed the bag to the cosmetology instructor, it seemed so insignificant.

The eyes of the world are on Texas now. It warmed my heart when I read that Mexico had offered supplies and manpower to help with this epic event. There is a lot of contention between our countries right now. But it seems they are looking past politics and to the people in Texas that are hurting. Seeing that gave me hope.

Looking ahead, the area around Houston will get through this. It took New Orleans years of recovery after Hurricane Katrina soaked that city. But things change after destruction of this scale. Some people will leave and never return. Too many painful memories can make a place uninhabitable – the scars too deep. They’ll move on and start again somewhere else. 

The tornadoes that devastated Alabama on April 27, 2011, changed us too. Jilda and I were fortunate during that outbreak. We’d lost power earlier in the day, but we didn’t need a weatherman to tell us it was bad all around us. The sound of sirens echoed through the day and into the night. We lost trees and didn’t have power or phone service for days. But we still had a dry bed to sleep on and food in our cupboard. It felt petty to complain then. 

Driving through the Town of Sipsey today, you can still see the path of destruction. On the hillside overlooking the Warrior River are trees that look as if they have bouffant hairdos. Wind ripped the limbs and leaves off the few trees left standing. The next year all that came back on the trees was a little leafy cap on top.

Tragedy often brings out the best in people. The stories of heroism always put a lump in my throat making it hard to speak without my voice breaking. I’m seeing those stories emerge from Texas too.

My Facebook timeline is filled with people urging their friends to pray for Texas. I agree they need our prayers. But my mother-in-law Ruby used to say something that’s always stuck with me. “Praying is good, but you have to put wings on those prayers.”

The Salvation Army and many other agencies are all mounting relief efforts to help those in need. I smiled and thanked Ruby for her advice as I made our donation last night. 

A local church put up these markers for the nine people who died near where we live on April 27, 2011.


  1. I believe climate change is real and humans are contributing to it. Another monster storm is headed to Florida. I think this is the new weather reality and cities on the coast or at sea level are eventually going to become ghost towns, or disappear underwater.

    1. Well said - "this is the new weather reality". No point ignoring it. Perhaps people will have to be "on the go" to all kinds of places in order to survive. Sad.

  2. Our church is collecting donations for Samaritans purse to help relief efforts. It is devestaing what those folks are going through. We are keeping an eye on Irma now.


  3. from our volunteer work during Katrina I second the fact that it will take years. It is strange, much of Houston was not effected, but the part that was will be in recovery for years. I met a lady a few years later in the Tennessee mountains she had left Nawlins and was not going back. She was settled in the Tennessee mountains.

  4. Cosmetology School. More information please - put it in a post when you are short of ideas....
    I appreciate your comment about Mexico offering help, we would never hear about that down here with our parochial, filtered and managed news. Thanks Rick.
    Even the smallest of offerings are welcome I'm sure - and Ruby was so right. Prayers are fine but wings are even finer. Bit of bad grammar there. And while I'm on the comment roll, the idea of reading your writing aloud will make a very great difference to the end result.


  5. Harvey is awful, and my heart goes out to everyone affected. However the numbers affected by Harvey look small alongside the havoc wreaked by flooding across southern Asia during the very same period. More than 1,200 people have been killed, and the lives of some 40 million others turned upside down, by torrential rain in northern India, southern Nepal, northern Bangladesh and southern Pakistan.

  6. sending our prayers from the Philippines. for a country which is frequented by typhoons, the resiliency that made us survive is family, never lose hope and always smiling. hoping for your countrymen's fast recovery.

  7. I think Stephen is right. What nature doesn't destroy, man can do a pretty good job of destroying with wars. It seems that disasters are coming with more force and frequencies. Some of Nostradamus' predictions seems to have come true.

    Hugs, Julia

  8. It's sometimes amazes me how it takes a disaster to shake people up and make them act human. People come together and forget there differences in a disaster. Wouldn't be grand if we could act like that all the time.

  9. New Orleans has never recovered completely. I hope the recovery in Houston goes better. Hurricane Irma is on her way to visit us. Our bad weather is supposed to start on Sunday. I'm grateful that my son is here to help me.


  10. Probably the only good thing to come from a tragedy like this is the kindness and generosity of people.

  11. Ruby was one smart lady. You did a very good thing and when you see someone in the paper who now has a toothbrush and a small toothpaste, it could be the one you donated. I think it's grand what Mexico has done but I wonder if the states would do the same if it was Mexico?

  12. "Wings on those prayers" ... I like it!
    It feels good to give back, no matter how small.

  13. When Mother Nature throws a tantrum and a disaster happens it brings out the good in most people


Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required