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More Stories - The Way
The Greatest Comfort
Here at the south end of the USA we have once
again survived a hurricane, Irene, but not without loss for many residents.
The western edge of Dade County experienced flooding unequaled - I imagine - since
the forties when Lake Okeechobee dumped its contents over and into the Eastern Everglades
and through the Gold Coast during a killer storm. Many people thought it wouldn't
happen again since the US government engineers built a high earthen dike around
this huge, shallow lake to protect the surrounding area. Most of the
damage this time wasn't in flood zones, resulting in total loss - no flood insurance!
Who would have thought?
News coverage of Hurricane Irene's aftermath showed miles of streets under water,
cars with water up into the motors and sometimes into the dashboards, and houses
with several inches of water inside. FEMA, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army,
the National Guard and others splashed to the rescue with-- you guessed it-- food
and drinkable water. The first couple of days, until transportable hot meals were
organized, the guardsmen, tow truck drivers and others were ferrying people, on
request, through the flooded streets and to the nearest undamaged takeout place.
In emergencies, it all boils down to the most basic need of all and the greatest
source of comfort. Seeing all those hands reaching for food reminded me of
the days following Hurricane Andrew. Everyone in South Florida was stressed
and traumatized, including ourselves although we had little damage. There
was no electricity, and most groceries were closed. We had lots of canned
and dried stuff, but soon used up the perishables, including bread. The third day,
Floyd found a store open, and the only bread they had was Australian style English
muffins; he bought several boxes. We toasted them in our gas broiler and slathered
on the last of our butter. I don't know when anything seemed so delicious; eight
years have passed and I can still nearly taste it.
Think back to times of stress or loss in your own life. I'll bet you still
remember some of the food you were given. We can live without most of our
clothes, furniture, decor and even our vehicles, but "vittles and drink" cannot
be done without. It's the most important physical component of our daily