Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rats and Double Rats!

It looks as if T.S. Chris is dead. The NOAA site suggests that the lower East Coast may see rain from the downgraded-to-a-blowhard storm but for us, here on the Gulf of Mexico, nothing.

We aren't ready for another storm. People aren't back into their homes yet. The grant money promised to arrive last week hasn't. Insurance companies are playing out their satanic rituals with people's lives and one hears horror stories of incompetence and cruelty often.

I visited in a FEMA trailer on Sunday and noticed that when the mid-sized dog walked from the tiny "living area/kitchen" into the "miniature bedroom" the trailer shook. How can families live with shaking trailers, noise, no privacy, little protection from enemies or weather and a bathtub the size of a footbath? How?

We have one shelter in Harrison County. One place for the homeless to go. Nothing else.

Dillard's, our best department store, closed with storm damage. We lost our McRae's (ok, but not all that great) when it became a Belk (most ordinary of stuff, makes me depressed to even go into a Belk). If one is going for retail, can't the retail at least be well-made with some style?

So, Dillard's is closed still. Do you think that Big Dillard's writes to all of us charge customers telling us when they will re-open and offering us coupons for internet shopping or for going to a Dillard's in Mobile, Hattiesburg or Jackson? Nope. Nothing. I'm not sure I will ever feel the same about Dillard's.

A few more stores re-opened in the neighborhood shopping area. Each time I see a repaired store I feel pleased.

The advocates for the poor down here are exhausted. I wish a fresh group of advocates would come down here and give the non-profits and community groups a break.

The pendulum of depression and post traumatic stress syndrome is rolling over the communities again. I hear stories everyday of new divorces, deaths from storm stress and suicides. Lord, have mercy! I ate at the lunch counter at the pharmacy today. I greeted the woman sitting to my left and spent my lunch hearing her sad story of post-storm life. I felt like crying. She's brave but things are not going well. Another stranger, this time in the Post Office line, told me about losing her home then 4 weeks later her husband dropped deadfrom a heart attack.

Granted I have one of those faces that invites people to tell me everything but the sad stories down here are endless. God bless us.

The evildoers (hey! I'm a preacher and I talk like this!) are assailing us by working behind the scenes with our voting districts. What do you do when a district is empty because there is no housing and most of the residents are poor?

The thieving contractors preying on the desperate should rot in hell. If anyone asks you how I feel about this, tell them.

School started today. No one knows who will show up. Who begins school on a Thursday? Only us because it will take until Monday or Tuesday to see who will be in class. What a waste of time for the LD! She wore a hoodie sweatshirt to school today. Temps are in the '90's. What's with this lack of body fat? A hoodie with long sleeves? Oh my!

Want to see a physician down here? Sure hope you don't need to see a specialist. And, the doctors want to be paid some kind of bonus or compensation for staying down here because their usual amenities are gone. Oh, puleeze. Isn't medicine about healing or is it about Hummers?

I'm reading a new book about returning "delight" to the crafting of sermons. Sounds like just the book for my crabby self.

Spared from T.S. Chris and grateful,

St. Casserole


annie said...

We had a guest preacher from SLidell, La. last Sunday, who confirmed what you are saying. We need to be aware of the continuing to need to pray for people like you (and him) who minister in these areas, often neglecting their own home repairs and such.

Quotidian Grace said...

I read in the local paper that the Hurricane expert in Colorado (?!) has revised his forecast for this season, saying that the Gulf is 3 degrees cooler than last summer so there should be fewer, less severe hurricanes. Hope he's right.

Houston is struggling to assimilate the Katrina refugees, and last night's tv news featured the problems of folks in east Texas trying to recover from Rita. Rita was also devastating, but you don't hear much about it nationally.

The country has no attention span anymore. Don't get me started.

Do you have any specific suggestions of non-profits and community groups that could use some new volunteers in mission?

Marie said...

Oh, St. Cass. I can't even imagine what it's like there for you. I don't know how you do it and I'm in awe that you're there, doing what you do. What can we do, besides pray?

Pure Luck said...

I seem to recall hearing somewhere that most of the people in medical school were there for the money (or the hummers as the case may be). I am sure a few might be there because of more humanitarian reasons, but I don't think they comprise the majority. Good luck in this storm season St. C. I hope everyone building anew is doing so with an eye to future hurricanes.

peripateticpolarbear said...

You know, this is getting my brain running.....what would a pulpit exchange be like? Hmmmmmm (wishing I was in charge of selecting preachers at my place.)

I wish you could get no advocates, too.

The Dillard's thing seems typical. My best friend whose mother lives in the area just lost most of her life's savings. Her late husband had invested in a local bank, and the dividends were providing for mama. Well a major bank bought out the local bank and sent letters DURING KATRINA SEASON that mama never got (gee, think the mail service was disrupted) saying that share holders had to decide between cash or shares in the big bank. If you didn't vote, you got cash. Mama didn't get the letter, so she didn't vote, and then she got cash, and paid 40 % in taxes....wiping out 40% of her retirement money in one year, and reducing the dividends she'll receive from any new investments. Did big bank CARE that it was KATRINA? Nope. They said they posted signs in all the banks and she should have known. Because, of course, the first thing people without electricity, clean water and food do is run down to the local bank to see if there are any signs pertaining to them....

Purechristianithink said...

I agree about the advocacy thing. One thing I said to our group while we were still in MS was that I thought what Pearlington needed far more than even licensed electricians, roofers, plumbers, etc. was a strong cadre of community organizers. They need coaching in how to work together to get access to the business/political/social service/insurance co. decision makers that are even as we speak crafting policies that are going to profoundly affect the recovery, (or lack thereof) of their community.

Elaine said...

I'm on my first cup of coffee, so this is not well thought out, but. . . .

There is an organization in Oklahoma called Leadership Oklahoma. What they do is take people who are already well-placed and active in their Oklahoma communities and spend a year training them how to be more connected, more effective, more high-level. Obviously, it has become a fabulous networking opportunity. Virtually any good-sized company will pay the fees for any employee who gets accepted.

Ok, I've refilled my cup so maybe I can find a point.

If what you need is people who can make your people more effective, Leadership Oklahoma could be a great resource for you.

How do you find them, you ask? Why, their web page of course

Seriously, St. Cass. try posting specific needs with contact people. This blog just might be bigger than you think.

Norman, OK

reverendmother said...

(((St. Cass)))

I too would like to know what a preacher in Washingtonland can do for you all, besides pray.

I will tell you this--part of my sermon this weekend is a litany of headlines that certain members of the congregation will stand up and read. With your permission, I am editing slightly your sentence about "the pendulum of depression" and it will join headlines from CNN, the AP and the Washington Post.

Just consider yourself a member of the Pajama Media!

Love you much

revabi said...

I hear your pain, and the pain of all around you.
I suggested to our clergywomen that we come back down again.
I think it needs to be soon.
Prayers and love for you.

seawitch said...

How do you go about forming an advocacy group? I'm so concerned about those on the Point. I see the plans for Biloxi, Gulfport, and D'Iberville and they do not take into account all those who were just existing paycheck to paycheck before Katrina.

I want to do something but don't know how.

BayouMaMa2 said...

Hi Cass,

I was in Waveland yesterday (Monday) husband's aunt passed away and we attended her funeral.

DH drove us home along the beach road. I don't think I was really able to digest the loss that had really taken think that homes were literally washed away, right off their foundations...well, it's hard to fathom.

I was thinking outloud to hubby that living among the rubble must take a toll on a person's spirit. And I read your post...and I can hear it in your written word. Oh Cass...I'm so sorry for all you and the people in your area are still facing.

I will say one thing though...and I say this viewing it from my own perception. The people of Mississippi are not giving up...I was touched by all the American flags I saw flying in front of trailor after trailor and even more touched that I actually saw people making an effort to get on with the business of living...inspite of all of the loss.

That's not happening in Louisiana. Jefferson Parish is slowly returning to normal...but the Chalmette and Lakewood areas...nothing. Homes with no light...shells with no soul. Empty and demolished remnants of life gone sour.

I didn't feel that in Mississippi. I felt hope.

{{Hugs}} and prayers to you Cass!