The novelist from Covington, Louisiana, Dr. Walker Percy, wrote a lot about the peculiar human condition that causes people to get excited when a hurricane is coming, even to the extreme of having “hurricane parties.” (I think folks woke up to that foolishness after Hurricane Camille back in ’69 when some hearty party animals got washed into oblivion).
Most of us Gulf Coast residents in my middle-aged generation, with old memories as well as fresh memories of storms, would probably state it’s become more about anxiety than excitement. In a younger, more innocent time, it was exciting. For instance, I’ll never forget the exhiliaration walking down the stairs at Covington Junior High in 1965 after we had just been dismissed early because Hurricane Betsy was on the way. I giddily exclaimed to my prepubescent classmates, “Betsy is my girlfriend!” We were going on a holiday! Later that night, after the lights went out and the house literally shuddered in the roaring wind, I didn’t feel so giddy. It was probably the first time in my life that I remember being seriously scared.
And I’ve felt that way again in recent years for Hurricanes Lili and Rita.
Anyway, so here we are, about seven days out from whatever is going to happen with Hurricane Dean, dealing with the uncertainty inspired by waiting and watching for hurricanes. The models right now look worse for our neighbors in Texas. That should be good news for Louisiana, but that’s how the models looked a week out for Rita a few years ago. (And anyway, how can we be happy for us for missing it when that means our Texas relatives and neighbors are getting it?)
Those old feelings start to come back.
If all goes well, in a week or so, I’ll look back on this blog and chuckle. Hopefully, Dean will smash into the sparsely populated mountains of northern Mexico and fluster and bluster harmlessly. That is the best script.
But then the next time a hurricane shows up potentially six or seven days out, we’ll do it all over again. As long as we live on the Gulf Coast, this is one of the reminders that we live in a fallen world. God be merciful to us!
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