The image to the left is a snapshot of Hurricane Rita a year ago on September 21, 2005–a Category 5 storm at the time and a horryfing image to us in South Louisiana as we watched forecast after forecast over a period of several days move the storm’s projected path nearer and nearer to our cozy corner of the world.
The early forecasts had addressed Rita with an upper-Texas coast zip code, but by this date it was apparent that God was arranging for a final destination farther north, up the coast. A smaller, weaker storm would not have been so unsettling, because where we lived seemed far enough removed from the projected path. But Rita was netiher small nor weak.
We were still reeling from the horror and the tragedy of Katrina less than a month before for our neighbors to the east. Our church shelter, in fact, still housed well over 100 New Orleans-area evacuees on this day a year ago–Those people had no other place to go and now faced the prospect of becoming evacuees “twice removed.”
I remember feeling almost numb from tropical update to tropical update on the Weather Channel, a little incredulous that this was really happening. I had never seen a Category 5 hurricane storm due south of my house in the entirety of 53+ years of life along the Gulf Coast. The emotion, I call, was unearthly, even surreal.
Of all the odd places to look for recollections of Rita, I checked last night in last year’s Quicken checkbook records to see where we shopped those days. On 9/21/05, a year ago, I entered a check to our air conditioner repairman who came to unstop the a/c drain. I remember distinctly as he waited in the kitchen while I finished writing his check–We were watching and listening to the latest storm update on TV. We made small talk about Rita–I can’t remember the exact words, but the conversation went something like this:
“Think we might get it?”
“Yeah, sure enough. A little too close for comfort if you ask me. Sure doesn’t look good.”
And we laughed, because that’s what people do when they don’t want to show that they’re nervous . . . or even scared.
We waited and we watched, nervous as cats.
Image acknowledgement: Thanks to Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopeda, “Hurricane Rita”–http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:HurricaneRita21Sept05a.jpg
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