From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Still waiting for Hurricane Keely



"Hurricane Ike"
Isaac is experiencing the dubious honor of sharing his name with a hurricane -- Hurricane Ike. Our family nickname for Isaac has been "Ike" for most of his life. His dad started calling him that when he was just a baby.

Isaac's reaction to the storm's name is mixed. He thinks it is kind of cool, but he hopes the storm doesn't do too much damage. He doesn't want Hurricane Ike to be a storm that lives in infamy; he'd rather see it fizzle out at sea.

I had a hurricane named for me this summer -- Hurricane Genevieve. I didn't even know about it until a few minutes ago. It must not have amounted to much. My husband Dennis had a hurricane several years ago. Our daughter Keely has not yet had a hurricane named either for her first name or her middle name, Elizabeth.

The first named hurricane that I remember is Hurricane Carla of 1961. It certainly wasn't the first hurricane within my lifetime, but it was memorable to me because I knew Carla Hixson, a neighbor girl who belonged to our 4-H club.

I was a child of Nebraska, hundreds of miles from the ocean. I heard about Hurricane Carla on the radio and read about it in the newspaper and Life magazine. I knew about bad blizzards, but killer storms of torrential rain and screaming winds were (and still are) outside my experience.

In September 2005, not long after the immensely destructive Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita hit the Gulf Coast. Isaac and I spent the weekend at a medieval reenactment in southern Tennessee. On Friday night, it rained so hard that we stayed in a motel instead of setting up our tent. On Saturday night, we camped, and I went to bed fairly early. To drown out the conversation and other noise outside our tent, I turned on my little radio and put in my earbuds.

Throughout a night of intermittent sleep, I listened to a Mississippi radio station broadcasting reports of flooded roads, downed trees, and fallen power lines. The locations of emergency shelters were announced frequently, and safety precautions were urged.

It was rather surreal to hear a minute-by-minute hurricane report from a tent in a medieval(-ish) encampment. I felt like I was fiddling while Rome burned.

3 comments:

Jannie "Funster" said...

I have never been even close to a hurricane, so can't imagine what it is like.

Genevieve said...

Jannie, a hurricane is definitely outside my realm of experience. The closest I've ever been to a hurricane was that night in my tent when I listened to the radio reports of Rita. During my time in Christian County, we once had 12 inches of rain in 12 hours. That created quite a flood, but we didn't have strong winds with it.

Genevieve said...

My internet friend Fred forwarded a letter he had received from a relative who lives in the Louisiana countryside near Lake Charles. She wrote about the preparations they had in place as Gustav approached:

"We were as prepared as a person could be with 2 generators and $350.00 of gas in cans in the barn, everything tied down or in barn and new unfinished blacked in house. We are still living in a 1 bedroom FEMA trailer. We had fifteen 55 gallon drums filled with water for animals along with a drum in each stall and pen. We also have the Calcasieu River not even a mile down my road if needed. We Stocked up on water, can goods, paper goods, cleaning supplies, flash lights, batteries, lanterns, candles, propane, charcoal, camping supplies, hay and 1000 pounds of feed for animals." (Source: Email, 9/1/08)

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.