Sunday, August 21, 2011

Remembering "that" Day

Katrina~August 29, 2005

I'll never forget that sound. A sound like the footsteps of a giant beast trudging through the near distance. Standing in the distance watching the storm blow the rain sideways I knew as I listened that Meridian was losing pieces of history one by one.

The gigantic oaks and elms that lined Poplar Springs Drive were falling like toothpicks in the midst of Katrina's fury. The trees that had watched us grow up and walk to school under the
cool shade of their limbs were now gone. Each one hitting the ground with a sickening "thud".

Then there were those we heard hit homes in the area while they splintered themselves over cars and telephone/cable lines. The sound of the storm seemed to go on for hours. Watching
the sky opening where trees had been and were still falling is something I'll never forget.

We were, of course, without power after that. The curfew kept us from going out to investigate too far but we walked around the corner to see what damage had been done. Fortunetly for us
our home wasn't effected. As we neared half a block we stopped in horror. Where we were standing we could see six huge trees down with their roots standing up like the grotesque limbs of fallen mastadons. Our hearts were sick with the knowledge there must be worse out there.

The power outage lasted a week for us so we moved everything to the shade of our front porch and camped out. We had always spoken to our neighbors and knew them on a 'friendly' basis
but now we had a common ground. We all faced the same dilemma of needing the basics. We had been prepared but not for something lke this. Quickly the men grouped together and
ventured out to get supplies for those who needed it the most. Ice was essential and was first handed out to those with small children and the elderly. When you have this kind of neighbor,
you know everything will be alright.

More days passed. By that time restlessness had set in. We had been listening to WMOX radio day and night as they tirelessly brought us each and every update. It was said the Red Cross needed help. Driving the short distance we decided by the confused state of affairs that maybe we could lend a hand. They put us to work immediately and we fell into place like we had always been there. It was amazing how everyone worked together to get the job done. This wasn't a time for complaining about not being comfortable or doing something 'not suitable' for your taste. Everyone knew there was purpose of task along with many needs to be met. I'll always be proud to have been a part of something that mattered so much.

For the most part things returned to normal. After the week of neighborhood power outage everyone was pulling their lives back inside where they could once again find the solitude of
familiarity. Neighbors smiling and waving with new meaning and a closeness that wasn't there before the storm. I often wish we could go back to that time for a day and feel the comradery
that pulled us all together.

Walks down Poplar Springs Drive are different now. It's lost a lot of it's shade and history. Sometimes feeling a bit melancholy I reflect on those days that the friendly giants were there as
I had known them most of my life. They have been replaced however with something valuable. A feeling of having 'gone through the storm' together will be with this generation for a very long time.


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