Burning bad memories: “Burn, Rita, Burn!” Thursday, Dec 28 2006 

fireplace.jpgNo, the title does not refer to the memorabilia of failed romance. I’m thinking of those chunks I throw in the fireplace these days from the firewood pile in my back yard–those pieces of “RitaWood” that I gathered by the truckload after Hurricane Rita a little over a year ago. Last winter was much the same– I burned “LilliWood” from 2003’s Hurricane Lilli. It seems that abundant, free firewood is the only good result of a hurricane in this part of the world, and an added satisfaction I get from my fireplace these past two winters is tossing those memories in the fire where they burn–at least metaphorically.

Let fire consume thy memory, Rita, thou damned child of hell!

But on the topic, Dr. Gray’s 2007 predictions were released earlier this month. Not particularly encouraging, but neither was the 2006 prognostication, which turned out mercifully far better than the experts predicted. Here’s a synopsis of the 2007 forecast, which the avid meteorological fan can view in its entirety by clicking right here:

“Information obtained through November 2006 indicates that the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season will be more active than the average 1950-2000 season. We estimate that 2007 will have about 7 hurricanes (average is 5.9), 14 named storms (average is 9.6), 70 named storm days (average is 49.1), 35 hurricane days (average is 24.5), 3 intense (Category 3-4-5) hurricanes (average is 2.3) and 8 intense hurricane days (average is 5.0). The probability of U.S. major hurricane landfall is estimated to be about 125 percent of the long-period average. We expect Atlantic basin Net Tropical Cyclone (NTC) activity in 2007 to be about 140 percent of the long-term average.”

Oh, well–What the heck? Hurricane season is over six months away, and we lived just fine through the last one. We’ll just take the seasons one at a time, trusting God’s grace and provision, which always seems to be far more adequate than I can manage on my own.

Meanwhile, throw another log on the fire! BURN, RITA, BURN!!!

Time for a Change! Tuesday, Dec 19 2006 

The balmy weather’s got to go. Even Christmas on the Gulf Coast isn’t supposed to be like this. Fortunately, the accuweather graphic promises a change in the meteorological making.

weather.jpg Even wet and cold is preferable to wet and muggy. Let the north winds blow!

Along those lines, I wrote a Cajun country Christmas story years ago–a project sort of “commissoined” for a church social. I get a kick out of sharing this piece every season, but this is the first time I’ve put it “out there” on the web in this format. So, reader, if you’ve nothing better to do for the next ten or fifteen minutes, read on . . .

drilling-rig.jpg A Time for a Change: A Christmas Story

By David L. Pulling, December 1995

Sosthenne Guidry gazed distractedly from his porch, his frame sagging across the slats of a white rocking chair on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. He sipped from a cup of lukewarm, black coffee left over from his post-nap, after-lunch pot. Overlooking the quiet residential street lined with unpretentious frame houses and shaded by ancient Red Oak trees rising gracefully skyward before bowing sturdy branches across the thoroughfare, he mused at the balmy weather so unusual at this time of the year. “It’s time for a change,” he thought, noting the heavy-bottomed gray clouds sailing northward at the urgent bidding of the brisk southerly breeze. Looking beyond the rooftops across the street to the west, he noted a gathering hue of darker blue, almost purple, confirming the TV weatherman’s prediction of an intense line of storms that would precede the change in weather, right on the Eve of Christmas.“Sosthenne! Sosthenne!” he heard from the interior of the house behind him. It was Orphelie, his wife of fifty-seven years, and he recognized that nagging, urgent tone in her voice which suggested she wanted something.  (click “more” below to read on . . . )


Grace to Weather the Storm: Remembering Granny Wednesday, Dec 13 2006 

granny-at-mlk.jpgI looked in my portfolio to see when I had written the following tribute to Grandma after her passing in December 2005 at the ripe old age of 100. The date on the piece was December 13, 2005, a year ago to the date of this post. I have been thinking about her in recent weeks, knowing this anniversary was coming up. I offer these respects again–a year later–in loving memory of a family treasure.

Grace to Weather the Storm: Reflections on Grandma’s Passing
By David Pulling
December 2005

We could reason, I suppose, that Granny’s passing makes her at least indirectly a Katrina casualty. As I consider that possibility, I believe that her hurricane saga will add a rich chapter to the family lore–our kids and their kids will recount to family generations the story of their 100 year-old great granny’s escape from the nursing home as the flood waters rose, her flight and sojourn to what must have seemed to those old city folks a strange and exotic land in North Louisiana, but where through the provision of grace (an example of miraculous “signs and wonders”) she made the trip fine and landed right down the road from Uncle Fred and Aunt Marion.


The question could arise as to whether that 3-month interlude is what finally cashed her in physically, but since the arrangements worked out so miraculously as they did, and since she seemed to do so well up there until right before the end, maybe it’s better to reason that God granted those final months to her just so we would have Granny’s Katrina legacy as one more reminder of the Lord’s provision, Granny’s final witness to us of how grace enables us to weather the storms of life.

And so ends another chapter–this one happily for a Saint gone home–in the soul-numbing epic of the great Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005.

Lord, grant us grace, as you did Granny, to weather the storms to come!

Peace on earth Thursday, Dec 7 2006 

peace11.gifI spent the night in Alexandria, Louisiana, several years ago in the early Christmas season in a hotel downtown. After dark, I walked out on the levee to see the Red River at night. Across the distant shore on the Pineville side, Christmas lights spelled out “Peace on Earth.” The lights reflected upside down on the water. “Hmph,” I thought, “What a metaphor?” Anyway, I thought about it and dashed out the following. Today more appropriate than then? Or do we long more for peace more now than then because we’re tired of its noisy, strife-ridden antithesis?


Peace on Earth?
By David Pulling
November 2003
(Composed along the levee at Alexandria)

“Oh, hush the noise, ye men of strife / And hear the angels sing!
–Edmund H. Sears

“Peace on Earth”
upside down
in lights’ reflection
on the dark, moon-dappled River.
Lord, we long to hear
the angels sing.
Save us
men of strife.
set peace aright
set our hearts aright
tune our ears
to hear
the angels’ sing.