Standing on the screened-in back porch, I told my son, Cliff, about the stand of trees behind my house that bowed in unison toward the south from the wind. It was August 29, 2005 and Katrina hit Jackson with its full force. It had already ravaged the coast and everything in its path as it headed north. Alicia had been able to get a call through to say they were fine with only minimal damage. I tried to call her later that day and couldn’t get through due to not only heavy call traffic but also the lost or damaged towers. I had information that she needed and didn’t know how to text her. The solution was to call her brother, Nick, in Phoenix and have him text the info to her. Texts generally got through.
It was about mid-afternoon when the electricity went out at my house; it was cooler outside than in the house and that wasn’t saying much. I sent a silent thank you up to Leo for the battery run radio that he had bought years ago. Some new batteries and it worked fine so I could hear the latest news. It’s odd that I don’t remember any rain although there must have been some, but I remember that wind. First of all, it blew north to south which never happened. Our winds generally blew west to east and at times east to west. Watching those trees bend in half over and over again was mesmerizing.
Electricity was out over most of the state which meant only the old princess phones could be used. The heat was unrelenting all that week; it became almost impossible to eat and when you did, nausea reigned. On Friday, the young couple next door asked if I would provide room for his parents. They were heading down to the coast to pick up his Mom and Dad who had stayed on the coast and survived the storm with the clothes on their back which were by now well used. I made sure they had a loaded gun and extra gasoline with them since the situation on the coast was pretty dicey.
His parents had washed with a hose and were surviving on MRE’s which had been delivered by emergency crews. He and his wife returned late Saturday with his parents. They were all worn out and ready for a long hot shower. I could only offer them tepid water. About thirty minutes, the electricity came on after they arrived. The lights seemed so bright that night and the air was cooling quickly. We whooped and hollered with joy and relief. This was the best present we had received in a long time.