Friday, September 30, 2005
I have much to say but will wait until I've rested.
ReverendMommy, I drove home so fast that I didn't call. Sorry I said I would and didn't.
I drove Bernadette the Turtle from NC to Montgomery, Alabama for a friend. Bernadette lost her front legs and was found in the woods defenseless. J brought her back to health then sent her to a Turtle Lover in Montgomery. Bernadette was good company on my drive. She has great listening skills. I have a picture to post but can't seem to up load it.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Still unsure about which lectionary passage I'll use for my sermon Sunday. I've read each passage several times but will decide en route. Driving alone gives me quiet time. I've got THE KITE RUNNER on CD for entertainment, too.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Camellias are a good symbol of the Gulf Coast, too. In a few weeks, if the bushes aren't destroyed, we'll have camellias. I have five different varieties, or did have in my yard. If I was half the Southern Gal I think I am I'd know the names of each type of camellia in my yard but I slept through that Garden Club meeting. I have pink, double pink, whitish, dark red and dark pink. Lovely. I hope the bushes survived because mine were older established plantings.
The free health clinic here is great. Clean, new and staffed with pleasant people. I got my tetanus shot and saw my name go into their "Hurricane Tetanus" file on the counter.I wish I could bring the clinic home with me. Our health department scares off young women with rudeness. More than 70% of all births in Mississippi have some contact with the health department. We could learn from the staff here.
I received another call from a church somewhere offering help to my congregation. I can't tell you what it means to me that people reach out to us. I told the caller I'd get back with her about our needs but that the church could pray for all the people of South Mississippi and Louisiana.
*The GUARDIAN published a Katrina map which showed Mississippi mis-drawn and labeled as "Arkansas." I understand they corrected the map the next day but not before school children learned that Arkansas is on the Gulf of Mexico.
*Thank you, John Grisham, for your essay in the Sunday New York Times about the strength of Mississippians. I read the essay twice for encouragement. He's correct, we Mississippians will "not just endure but will prevail" (quote related to Wm. Faulkner)
*I'm getting shots today so I can return home. Is that grim or what?
*Your kind comments mean a great deal to me. Many thanks for your prayers and concern.
*I drove to see an older pal in another county yesterday. She's an evacuee from my area. We clung to each other in greeting. We talked about mutual friends who lost homes, ruined businesses and what is means to be displaced.
*I hope Mississippi isn't forgotten in the re-building of the Gulf Coast. Our state leadership has a history of ignoring our needs.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Hurricane Rita terrorized Louisiana. I'm praying for the citizens there as they deal with flooding, fire, wind damage and no electricity. Texas didn't have an easy time of it. Did any of you see the picture of the nursing home patients being evacuated who were stacked up in a cargo carrier on shelves. The picture gave me the creeps. Isn't there a better way?
Texan evacuees were allowed to take their pets and some household items. I hope this will be the norm when providing shelter/transport for evacuees in the future.
I'm here in beautiful NC for a few more days until I begin my drive home. I cherish the time with LD, LLS and LSiL. I love them. Now my heart is calling me back home to my LH and LS. Mr.C calls LS "Junior C." That is SO funny to me.
I plan to lead worship Sunday with my congregation. I'm eager to see them.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Mrs. C became worried about Hurricane Rita's path and called to check on me and Junior C. Much appreciated except that the call was made at 5:46 a.m., which at my home was 4:46 a.m.
Things for people to think about:
a) even though Rita passed us by(and we feel for all South Louisianans and Texans), there are thousands of homes covered with tarps and blue plastic here. I am sure that from a satellite photo it would look like a spider web of blue for 50 miles;
b) the ground is so saturated with water that rain just puddles on top of the grass and some areas had renewed flooding from the inch or two of rain we had;
c) some people, like my family, are lucky and have the amenities back (as of last night), others still live under tarps, some live in houses that were flooded, some live in the non-damaged second floors, and some have left our Coast never to return. Is the word diaspora?
Hopefully, Mrs. C will return to her daily internet epistles soon,
Friday, September 23, 2005
So, a guest host. Mr. C.
It is a cloudy day here along the Coast. Sprinkles remind us of Hurricane Rita’s presence to the South, which also makes people behave strangely. Yesterday, a rumor had FEMA confiscating all gasoline. Obviously, FEMA did not do that. What did happen was that a FEMA official said it would be prudent to fill your gas tanks because of Rita. Every gas station had long lines (queus to our British readers) until gas ran out. Rain is a bittersweet friend. Its cools us off. A wonderful thing as our trees are gone or leafless and the heat is so strong. Rain also scares those thousands who have temporary tarps or roofing and terrifies those living in tents.
Mrs. C’s older cat, Andy Roddick ( a stray appearing during last year’s US Open), started limping the other day and, though I saw nothing then, he was bleeding today. Andy is smart and street wise. He saw the cat carrier and hid, but I had the crack cocaine for cats–Tuna–and lured him into the cage. He is now at the Vet’s getting help, complaining loudly, and speaking ill of all Casseroles, wherever situated.
Mrs. C called. She is fine. She is coming home next week. By then we will have all the basic house hold comforts. We got power and water and telephone the other week and, perhaps, cable this week (our internet source). I firmly believe that one key to a happy marriage is never having one’s spouse where there are no working bathroom facilities. There are other rules for a good marriage, but if your bathroom isn't working, one can't even remember the others.
Hope all is well with you, Bye.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
This is what I see when I look outside. This house has a screened porch! I can hear birds! I can smell stuff! I can see outside and feel the breeze! Is this beautiful or what?
Here is another picture because it is soooo pretty.
This is my sister, Assumpta, sticking her head through the bannisters. This scares my Mom so we do it often. I fell through the bannisters last week and my Mom screamed! I was fine but her heart beat fast and she kissed me 47 times.
This is a picture of my really great human I brought from my home. I love her. She plays with me and hugs me. I purr for her.
Andy went back to my old home to take care of the LS and the LH. He is in a safe place with clean water and food. I hear that he is happy but confused about why the trees are gone. He popped me on the head with his paw the last time I saw him.
At my home, before the hurricane, we were building a new home for the humane society. The old building was 50 years old and stinky. I was rescued by my family from this shelter. I liked the humans there because they took care of me and helped me find a new family. Now, Katrina destroyed the old shelter and the new shelter isn't ready yet. But all the lost animals are ready NOW for help. You can send a donation to Larry Ray, a board member of the Humane Society of South Mississippi (HSSM). You can write HSSM on the check. My mom will put the address in the comments section. She knows Larry and knows the good work of the HSSM.
I miss my old home but if I have my humans and my sister with me I'll be ok. I wish all cats (and even dogs) had what I have in my new home.
I'll return to the Coast late next week, I hope. I want to hug my husband and stare at my beautiful 17 year old son.
Yesterday I went to Replacements, Ltd. in Greensboro. Replacements is the China and Sterling heaven. Every pattern of china and flatware on the planet in one large box building. I didn't buy anything as I have plenty of china and flatware although I wondered if I should buy dinner plate sets for my pals who lost their homes. I decided against it because I'd hate anyone to choose china for me. Replacements has huge place settings from not much money to over-the-top prices. My favorite item is the Spode Cat Dish at $49.99 in a blue/white classic pattern. Didn't buy it. Spode has a dog dish, too.
Back at my LLS's hometown, I wandered into the thrift store to dig through the junk. I haven't talked about junk much in the past three weeks but will later. My hometown is a pile of junk now. I hear the debris in front of my house is taller than a tractor trailer truck. Great.
At the thrift store I found two bolo leather neck things. I may bring back bolo-wearing to the revgalblogpal set, don't know yet. One bolo has a sterling disk, the other is a Laurel Burch cat thing.
The book section was remarkable. I guess if there are 15 Ph.Ds per square foot here, even the thrift store book section is catalogued. I found four "cozy" mysteries to send to LH's secretary who lost her house in Katrina and loves to read mysteries. Will mail these today.
I found a treasure trove of Covenant Life Ciririculum books from the old PCUS in the '60's. CLC was a watermark of lay scholarship for the Presbyterian Church then with great books for adult classes. I recall that the teen books were great, too. I studied The Worry and Wonder of Being Human by, I think, Al Winn as a teen.
I found a pristine copy of The Mighty Acts of God by A.B. Rhodes ! The CLC series was popular enough to be taught for years so churches had piles of the series. Over 40 years, the piles were tossed out and the books became difficult to find. Has a ThD studied the CLC to trace the series' influence on pastors and laity of the time? I'd read it.
God bless my traveling LLS today. She's in Iona. May God grant her the benefit of her pilgrimmage.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
I looked at pictures of the Coast taken after Katrina this afternoon. I don't even recognize what I'm looking at. Landmarks are gone.
My down-the-street neighbor emailed to say that he was glad I was in NC because the neighborhood is such a mess and the creature comforts gone.
I'd like to see my people, though.
Until this morning.
My husband told me that Ruby is leaving the Coast to live in Chicago.
I lost it. Wailed. Let it out good. I'm in the house alone because everyone has gone to church.
I love Ruby. She is part of the weave of my life, a pretty part of what gives me a sense of place, sweetness and LIFE. I knew I felt this way about her but it never occurred to me that when I return home, she won't be there.
She told me the last time I saw her on August 25, "I'll see you Monday if the Lord says the same".
Who knew that was the last time we saw each other before the Hurricane?
I trust God for her care. I trust God for my care. I trust, I trust...
As my New Orleans relatives, Roman Catholics all, say, "Jesus Mary and Joseph!!!!" I am upset.
Friday, September 16, 2005
I don't know where the ocean is frm LLS's home!!!
I know where the water is all the time at my home. I drive by it, I smell the salt air, I see signs.
In NC, I am not oriented. I can't find the ocean. I can't find stuff at the grocery store. I write down direction but can't find where I'm suppose to be.
Imagine how tough it is for evacuees in strange towns. If I ask my LLS or LSiL for directions to a place four times in two days, they smile and tell me again. They draw maps.
This business of not knowing where things are in grocery stores wears me out.
(I asked my LLS and the water is hundreds of miles to my right. whew!)
Why can't I smell salt water here? Where are the 'gulls and pelicans?
Thursday, September 15, 2005
After my mother died, my LH spent three weeks at a professional school out West. I didn't know what to do with myself. We'd never been apart from one another for more than a week but I survived.
I'm not a clingy person. Really, I'm not. I'm just happier when I can see my LH every single day.
We talk on the phone when the phones work (our local phone company will be happy to repair our home service by the third week of November, let's give a 'shout out' for incompetency!).
My LH is my favorite person and the one whose perspective I rely on when life is chaotic.
If you see him, tell him I miss him.
Some people got away all right.
The river have busted through clean down to Plaquemines.
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline.
They're tryin' to wash us away.
Randy Newman, "Louisiana 1927", The Randy Newman Songbook, Vol. 1, 2003
Is there such a thing as compassion fatique? Oh yes, of course. Empathizing and sympathizing from a distance wears on a person so that when distractions arise, one is cheered by letting the suffering go. Unless you are in the midst of the suffering. This trouble is long term. Many people cannot get back to look at their destroyed stinky homes in Louisiana and Mississippi so they imagine the destruction but can't actually deal with it.
I showed LD a picture of the beachfront McDonald's on the Coast showing a Ronald statue standing while the restaurant is piled debris. We laughed then looked at one another. Who knows what our home area looks like? We don't really know 1000 miles away.
I hear that people in non-profits are worrying that Katrina donations will siphon off funds given ordinarily to them. I don't think so. Most people have regular contributions for churches, institutions, AIDS task forces, Heart Association, etc. Donations to Katrina will be one-time gifts above usual giving. Besides, as a colleague says, "poverty thinking" by non-profits doesn't do anyone good. Americans are generous.
I wonder how individuals who live on the edge without cash reserves will survive in my area. I know help is coming but $50 here or there can be big bucks for those with little money.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Basic Level Pronunciation Guide
Waveland Pronounce as one word
Bay St. Louis You got this one right! Congrats~
Pass Christian (pass Christy Anne or pass Chris-t ann)
Long Beach Correct again! Congrats~
Gulfport (guff' port)
Biloxi (Buh Lux Eeeee)
Ocean Springs Correct Again! Congrats~
Gautier (Go Shay)
Pascagoula (Pass Cah Ghoul ahhh/short "a"; or alternately "Pass Pah Boul ahhh"
Expert Level Pronunciation Guide
Kiln (The Kill) note: home of Brett Farve
Saucier (Sew' Shure)
DeBuys (Duh Bees)
Thank you for your attention to this guide. If I hear one more news person say Bil LOX eee, I am going to take them off my Christmas Card List forever. I mean it.
St. Casserole ( Saint Cass ER roll)
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
I think of my blog as either a conversation with my RevGalBlogPals or like a newspaper we wrote in pencil as kids to hand to our Moms or sibs. Blogs just are. I blog because I enjoy it.
Because of the hurricane, I blog to whine, weep and Lord I don't know. My family is alive. My church is standing. Congregation is accounted for, mostly. I have a home standing on the Gulf Coast.
I'm so durn sad. So worn out with the suffering down there. Not tired of caring but desparate with grief for the losses around me. I'm not there. I'm up here.
I can't get away (nor would I want to get away, really) from the loss, grief, horror of storm deaths, destroyed homes, orphaned children, dead pets.....
I'll be talking about this for a long time. I'm not asking your permission to continue. I'm just telling you what I'll be doing. I think you may wish to read other blogs about other topics than katrina aftermath.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Lord, Into this night, give us peace. If there is no peace for us, give us a sense of Your presence. If that is too much to ask for amid the suffering around us, let us make it to daylight. In Christ's name, Amen.
I got lost once, not twice today. I'm making progress trying to learn a new area.
I am not interesting at all which is just what I've hoped for the past two weeks. Oh! Your president went to what appeared to be a school in our neighborhood. He didn't know why there is a difference between flood and wind insurance coverage. I wonder why they didn't brief him on this.
Slowly but surely by God's Good Grace,
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Saturday, September 10, 2005
If I feel this way then others who are THERE are pitiful, too. Like the little boy in the Shelter who had a bowl of rice krispies on his birthday. Like the elderly woman who found a piece of intact wedding china amid the debris. Like the woman who wouldn't leave her home because her dogs couldn't come with her. Like the man who let go of his wife's hand during the storm and never saw her again. My grief is real but is a puddle compared to the sorrows of those whose lives feel like a bottomless sea.
Two things: 1) When help comes to people on the Coast some will feel so odd receiving aid. Usually self-sufficent they will be surprised to be on the receiving end of help. They know how to give and help but not know how to be the needy. I cite the story of the Good Samaritan as a helpful text for them. If we read the story of the GS and put ourselves in the place of the hurt man, we see that it is often stranger who are the most help to us. Not our friends who are busy, nor the religious authorities who need flow charts to decide who gets a bottle of water but strangers who feel compassion for us. Further, learning how to receive is good for us. If we only give then we fool ourselves into believing we don't need.
2) If we trust God to be with us, that trust gives us "room" to feel what we feel. I'm not talking about multiple Drama Days or sitting around obsessing over our lot in life to the exclusion of serving others. I mean that trusting God gives us the richness in our lives to have time to be the Stranger in the GS story AND to be the injured person. Our days are in God's hands. I take Paul's (as in your Saint Paul) comment as my text for this. He said that in whatever situation he found himself in, he learned to be happy. Separated from loved ones, in a new place without directions, without a job, without a home, without possessions, in all those things he was God's and trusted God to work it out. *
*Note to self. Have now revealed that I never memorized that verse and am a stupid head unless I carry a Bible in my pocket. Hope readers recall the verse and that I haven't blown the entire meaning of it.
Tomorrow I will go worship at the United Church with Rick and Jill Edens.
(Left) Here is a Cat Cousin who escaped from the front door. She is being a good pal to Assumpta and Dibley although she is teaching them to climb porch screens and hang off railings. In this picture, she wonders if her butt looks big in this pose. I say she is beautiful.
(Right) St. Casserole Toes Post-Katrina. My new best friend Jane and I had our toes done to cheer us up. We eschewed OPI Cajun Shrimp because all the images of shrimp from New Orleans are gross. Instead Jane picked an OPI Tulip Something color for us. She is the child of Presbyterian Missionaries to the Congo so without thinking about it "tulip" means something to us if only a nmemonic for how to remember Protestant Principles. Oh well, it was funny when I thought of it...
My feet are in battle worn Birks but my feet are on dry ground. God be with those who are walking through the flood waters on the Coast and those whose noses are filled with the smell of the dead. My LH took a tent to a Church in Biloxi yesterday after making a complicated route to get there. The roads are buckled. Trees are in the roads, wires down, etc. He drove along a street north of the railroad tracks off Division where EVERY home on both sides of the street had a black X mean a dead body or bodies was inside. The church people didn't know what the X means because they don't have televisions and their radio batteries are drained.
I feel so sorry for those suffering. I am bereft that I am separated from my LH as he deals with all this. We are such a team after all these years that it feels odd to not be there to share the load and process the pain with him. I spoke with him by cell phone last night and he told me three times to stay put and not come home now.
Our LD is settling into school here and attended a school dance last night.
The dissonance between what is going on with my people at home and what I do up here is awful. Awe-ful. I may need to so talk with a therapist or discerning pastor.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
While walking around the Mall looking at fabulous stores with beautiful things, I contrasted my environment with what my LH, LS and thousands upon thousands of my fellow Hurricane Americans experience. No power, no lights at night, no air conditioning, no clean clothing, no bathing and I'm positive many women have run out of diapers and tampons.
In a cute store with many useless but precious items, I saw a sterling silver pin of a winged pig.
This got me thinking. I believe I can say with sincerity that we are experiencing when pigs fly, when hell freezes over, and a few other "it will never happen" times.
As a Presbyterian, I understand that history is in God's hands. The End of many apocalyptic sermons is not at hand right now any more than the End of Darkness' reign is ending all the time. You may have to read that sentence twice. I'm not saying that the End is Near or even Close. I'm suggesting that from my vantage point, what was never to happen has happened.
I almost bought that Pig Pin. I've marked events with buying a piece of jewelry before. I just couldn't do it this time. I don't want to be living in a time when pigs fly. It's just not right, not normal, not how I wish to spend my time.
Stay with me, the ice seems mighty thin,
Phone calls from the Coast reveal that generators, chainsaws and supplies are arriving but there aren't enough organized helpers to distribute the stuff. The LH and his new best friends, the Methodists, are taking the things around to anyone who needs things. Without regard to color, class or neighborhood. The LH is impartial. I tease him that he shares this attribute with God. I wouldn't be surprised if he jumps ship from the Presbyies to the Methodists because he likes how the UMC helps people.
This is what I'm really pondering:
What will my world look like when I return home? The lumberjacks have leveled the downed trees in the Pine Grove. I assume our property is a mess. I've lived with those pines, oaks and short-leaf pine trees for years. I plant according to the shade they provide. Now gone.
Before you betrate me for yapping about lost trees, recall that it is now dawning on me what the world will be like. I'm a tree gal. I love them. Albeit I hate to worry about them in storms, but I love them. My prayers for keeping them off my house are answered. There won't be any more trees.
According to the NYTimes this morning, "In Mississippi, History is Now a Salvage Job". Florence Williams wrote the article. The photos are by David Rae Morris, son of Willie Morris, I think. Willie Morris helped me ease into Deep South Life when I read NORTH TOWARDS HOME, YAZOO and later, MY DOG SKIP. David Rae's photographs take my breath away. Dammit Dammit Dammit!
Tullis-Toledano House, the historic Biloxi former Governor's Mansion, gone. I served on that Board for several years. My grandmother's horse hair stuffed Victorian sofa was part of the Tullis furnishings. I courted on that dreadful sofa (gorgeous piece of furniture in the quality sense but not comfortable) then donated the sofa to Tullis.
Brielmaier House, part of the Historic Biloxi restoration, moved to what became the Biloxi Visitor's Center to keep it safe. Gone.
Danzler House, used as a city building and as the Mayor's office during the restoration of the Biloxi City Hall. I went to many meetings there. Gone
Beauvoir, former home of Jefferson David. Scene of many great weddings. Where my garden club worked endlessly to restore the antique rose garden there. Gone
I understand that the Coast isn't recognizable.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
You ask what you can do for the Casseroles in the earlier post comment sections. We have what we need right now and I trust that my LH and LS will have power, phones and etc. soon. I think we will be fine although it will take time for my LH to build back his practice. I'm away for an indefiinte time from my congregation.
I'd like for you to find a refugee-evacuee family and tend to them. They will need clothing, household goods, a place to live, work, food and your concern. You can't do everything for them but you can try.
I am in good loving company here so my emotional needs are considered. I have a yard to dig in and a house to clean for my LS and LSiL so I have something to do. Other evacuess won't have the comforts we have here. If I've felt enervated and lost, they will feel this, too. I pushed myself yesterday to do anything. I struggle with grief every minute. You are needed where you are to comfort your "new" people.
On a lighter note (I hope I have many lighter notes in the days to come), having Assumpta and Dibley with us is great. Nothing like charming kittens to cheer one up. Both kittens sat on the LD's lap in the back seat of the car on the way up here. They slept and purred for miles. Now they are in a two storey home with inside steps! Now they have a screened porch so they can sit looking out at birds and bugs with their older cat cousins in the mornings. The older cats are eating the kitten food; the kittens are chowing down on Big Cat food. Everyone is getting along with a tad of hissing and only a few protest meows.
I am considering working on a sermon this week because I miss the routine of preparing one. I could just do the exegesis and some commentary surfing (0n the 'net because my books are at home) then make an outline of a sermon I won't preach.
Maybe you could send book gift cards to some of the preachers on the Gulf Coast who lost their churches. I would find it sad to build another theological library after all these years.
Thinking of you all,
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
You may wish to visit www.Katrina-Response.blogspot.com a blog set up for an emergency shelter in Gulfport, Mississippi. The posts tell a great deal but click into the comments to read what survivors say.
The Mississippi UMC disaster response teams are feeding hot meals along with comfort. The blog is offered to those who stop by who wish to tell their stories. I am weeping as I write this.
The LD enrolled in Middle School today. The school counselor was so very kind to spend time with us to set up her schedule along with sports and activities. He was very good with her and she feels excited to begin classes tomorrow. We will receive free school supplies and lunches for her. So very odd to be the recipients of other's kindness. It may make take more to receive than to give which explains why recipients sometimes cannot say "thank you".
Help is on the way in terms of military reponse and water. Otherwise, your television reports of the utter neglect is accurate. People in small towns in Mississippi and Louisiana are ignored. The situation in New Orleans beats anything I've ever seen or heard of but troops are there now. We met a New Orleans evacuation family at an ice cream place yesterday. This Mom and her two children have no home to return to in N.O. Nothing with them except what they could pack into their car. The husband is in Iraq. They are renting a home from a friend up here. What bravery! What determination! The ice cream place had a fund raiser for Katrina survivors because everywhere you look up here, someone trying to help. God Bless Them!
Future issues for survivors will be dealing with lost jobs, no household items, displacement their familar surroundings. Cash will be needed to secure clothing, furniture, meds etc. The need is overwhelming.
At the school this morning, a mother and son arrived from the New Orleans area. She had on a Red Cross T-shirt. I think this is the only clean clothing she owns. Her son was clutching a blankie.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
The misery of all this for the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama is beginning to fray my heart so much that I feel like hiding under a bed in the dark. I've handled all I could for the past week, sustained I believe, by the power of your prayers along with those of our friends, etc. My LH is back at home sleeping with a shotgun nearby and guiding disaster officials around so damage to our churches can be assessed. He and our LS are getting a hot meal each day from the United Methodists who showed up before the Federal or State people to give out water, ice and encouragement. I can bear it that our family is separated but understand that I am needed to settle the LD, that there is no power, AC or supplies for me to be a home. I am comfortable here with my LLS and LSiL.
I am grateful that my family is alive. I've missed all of you and found myself during the odd or trying times of this week wanting to blog about the experiences. I could watch tv and use my cell phone every now and then but no internet. Depending on the television networks for news is a skewed view.
I have more to say but will say it later. Again, thank you for your prayers and concern. Mr. Casserole did his best to keep up with the blog (Good job, Sweetheart!) and I thank him, too.