This One’s for Florida


After hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike, and Harvey did their worst, workers and supplies poured into Louisiana and Texas from Florida. Once Ian has wreaked his havoc, the favor will be returned. Utility workers and search and rescue teams already have been deployed from both states, and no doubt from others. Civic and church groups are making their plans, as are individuals.

For now, there’s little to do but shelter, wait, and hope, until the time for work has come.


Comments always are welcome.

57 thoughts on “This One’s for Florida

  1. The word “mutual” came to mind, which I remember from the last sentence in the Declaration of Independence. Then I noticed you tagged this post “mutual aid,” a category you’d not used before.

    1. Hurricanes always bring to mind the mutual aid societies that were part of my formative years. My grandparents never purchased commercial insurance; instead, they paid a nominal amount to their mutual aid organization every month. When needs arose, the society helped out.

      Of course, the aid was more than financial, and in a larger sense ‘mutual aid’ didn’t depend on formal membership in a group. People simply helped one another, rather than waiting on the government to do the job. They still do. As our beloved Jim ‘Mattress Mack’ McIngvale likes to say, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”

    1. I’ve got enough first-hand knowledge to last me for the rest of my life. On the other hand, wonderful things do happen in the aftermath of a storm like this; not all the memories are bad. I still remember driving north after Ike, taking my mom to stay with her sister in Kansas City until things settled down. We passed innumerable power trucks from Oklahoma and Kansas headed south; it still brings tears to my eyes to think of it.

  2. Oh, gosh! Best to them. Maine power companies just sent trucks to the Maritimes to help with the aftermath of Fiona. This hurricane season has been slow to start, but is certainly packing a punch now.

    1. As the old saying goes, it only takes one. A lot of people assumed that since we got through August without a storm, we were good to go for the rest of the season, but these tropical critters are sneaky. I don’t completely relax until mid-October.

  3. It’s pretty scary! I have a niece living in Florida, in the Orlando area. Fortunately she’s with a very experienced family, so hopefully they’ll keep her safe.

  4. Mutual aid.
    It’s what neighbors do.
    It’s what humans do.

    We appreciate your thoughts today. Ian should pass over our house in the wee hours tonight. We’re prepared. Enjoying Gini’s hurricane bread (zucchini/blueberry/coconut) with strong coffee this morning.

    Thoughts and prayers for all those in harm’s way and for all the responders prepared to assist.

    1. I knew Gini wouldn’t make you subsist only on Saltines. Watching the water drop and islands emerge in places like Tampa Bay and the Peace River at Punta Gorda’s a reminder of Ike’s visit to us. We’ll be thinking of you.

  5. I know someone who is staying in Cape Coral and I’m definitely worried for him and his family. Have spent a lot of time in that area of Florida—it will be bad.

    1. It’s been especially interesting to read the reports from the hurricane hunters. Even the experienced ones said the flights into Ian’s eye have been of another order entirely. Once the storm’s done with Florida, it still may affect a friend in Charleston. As we know, even a tropical storm can cause problems (Allison!)

    1. I have no doubt the Floridians will be as thankful for your state’s help as we were for the help that came from so many places after our hurricanes. It just now occurred to me that the same was true after our ‘big freeze,’ but somehow that keeps slipping my mind. Perhaps I don’t want to remember it!

    1. Sometimes, it takes a storm — a real storm — to remind us that we’re human, and that we have more in common than our politicians and bureaucrats would like us to believe. Helping others doesn’t only help those others; it helps us, too.

  6. Such a heartfelt and positive post – we here in Houston are feeling a little guilty for our perfect weather today, but it just makes it easier to rally for the Floridians. Hang in there, guys!

    1. No guilt here. After the storms we’ve lived through, and this past, wholly unpleasant summer, I’m ready to enjoy this wonderful weather. After all — it’s not as though we could have headed Ian off, and refused to do it! But we’ll be there in the aftermath, and we’ll help as we can: remembering well that the next time, it could be our time!

  7. Safety Harbor, where our son and his family live may not be so safe this time, Linda, given its Tampa/St. Pete location. The kids have been busily prepping their home and hoping. They’ve gathered sand bags, and covered windows. A school evacuation shelter is one block away. Friends living inland have offered them shelter. Our thoughts are with them today and tomorrow, and possibly much longer: the City and area have done little to prepare for a major weather event.

    1. I can understand the casualness that set in around the Tampa area. It’s been so long since they’ve had a direct hit — 1921 — I suspect it became easy to believe they’d never experience one. Some years ago, it even became a bit of a joke on Weather Underground; when a depression formed, people would bet on its chances of heading for Tampa. One never did–until now.

      The same sort of thing happened here with Ike. People assumed we’d be less affected by storm surge because we’re more than 20 miles inland, away from the Gulf. Then, due to a number of factors, Galveston Bay filled up, Clear Lake filled up, and when it suddenly drained, the surge got us — from the lake side. As I remember the history, that’s why the storm of 1900 was so terribly destructive; the surge came not only from the Gulf, but also from the bays. Barrier islands are cool, until they aren’t.

      I hope all’s well with your kids. Have you seen the footage of the water draining out of Tampa Bay? It was quite a sight. I heard on the news that they’re expected the refilling to be slow enough to avoid the ‘surging’ that’s so destructive.

    1. As someone said today, a lot of new Floridians are learning a lot about hurricanes. I hope the lessons aren’t too costly. I certainly remember the two or three days before Alicia, when the skies were gorgeous and the weather was fine. I couldn’t figure out why everyone was running around muttering about battery shortages and such. By the time it all was over, I understood — at least, a little.

  8. Thank you for your concern. I’m watching it pretty closely, but I am not in its path. Wind and rain on and off, that’s all. We did have a tornado touch down about 2 miles from here, but no one was hurt.

    1. I’m glad you’re away from the worst of it. I’ll say this: I’ve learned more about Florida geography and where the various cities and suburbs are located in the past three days than ever before. One place that kept showing up on the maps was YeeHaw Junction. I couldn’t imagine what that was about, but it’s pretty interesting.

    1. I hope they’re safe. It looks as though the storm will be out of the state by tomorrow night, or mostly so, but there’s a lot to be endured until then. Have you been able to be in touch with them?

    1. Some ‘next time,’ it will be us — and I suppose most of us know that on an intellectual level, After all, we prepare, put in supplies, and all that. Still, it’s always a surprise when one of these actually shows up, and Ian really showed up for Florida. Now, a friend in Charleston is waiting and watching.

  9. With all the fractious, strident, and rampant carrying on that has divided our nation, it’s good to be reminded about the concept of “being a good neighbor.” When we put aside our differences and all pull together, that’s when America is great.

    1. Exactly so. There was a lot of talk about that after Harvey. When the Cajun boys showed up in their jon boat to rescue the socialite, she didn’t say, “Oh, I think not. Your tattos are a little off-putting.” In the same way, there wasn’t a white man who refused to help a black woman, or a teenager who didn’t find himself in charge of an old woman who couldn’t walk, and felt good about it. The proper answer to the question, “Who deserves our help?” is, “The person who needs it.”

  10. Nature can wreak havoc which is terrible but bringing people together seems to offer some salve to bear the pain. To lose home and hearth is now very bad in Florida with a huge percentage seeking shelter. We can but watch from a distance and feel for the people of Florida.

    1. There’s something about any disaster–be it hurricane, flood, earthquake, or fire– that seems to shake people awake. Life is precious, after all, and when it’s threatened, the impulse to defend it can be strong. In another day or so, this storm will have moved on, and recovery will begin. It will be slow, but it will happen.

  11. Why does it take a disaster for us to come together? I mean, it’s great to help our neighbors, but shouldn’t that be a “thing” year round? Here’s hoping all’s well (but gee, this one looks like a baddie, doesn’t it?)

    1. It sure was bad for the west coast of Florida. It was no picnic for people on the other side of the state, either. I’m still waiting to hear from a friend in Charleston. She lives in a neighborhood that tends to flood, but the levels weren’t as bad this time as they’ve been in the past. I know this: as sorry as I am for the Floridians, I’m grateful as can be that we were spared. And now? We have the gorgeous weather that sometimes shows up on the back side of these storms. It was down to 62 this morning!

    1. That’s so true. Now, if only we could do the same for one another on a daily basis. One of our radio personalities is challenging people to do one good thing for someone else every day. Today, I let some guy in a jacked-up truck into the line of traffic ahead of me. We waved at one another, and I suspect we both felt good about it.

  12. The weakened last bits of Ian have just passed to our south. All we received were sprinkles which seem so ludicrous compared to the damages he wreaked to our south. It’s a terrible tragedy for so many in Florida but tragedies almost always bring out the best in neighbors and that will help those affected get their lives back together.
    Jimmy does a nice job with Bruce Cockburn’s song. And, of course, he is a Florida treasure.

    1. Over the years, I’ve come to adopt two simple guidelines for dealing with hurricanes. One is “Run from water, hide from wind.” The other is a takeoff on the old joke about Chicago voting: “Evacuate early and often.” Personal responsibility has to come into play — especially in a long, narrow state that’s a peninsula. Driving north in Texas is one thing — driving north in Florida is something else.

      Of course, when my first hurricane, Alicia, was looming in 1983, I had no idea what was coming, and couldn’t figure out why people were acting so crazy, buying water and such when the weather was gorgeous. Florida has so many new residents, I suspect there were plenty who didn’t have a clue what was coming — but who’ll do better when the next one shows up.

      1. While I understand the desire to stay and protect one’s property, or that some people are just plain stubborn, I am still amazed at the number of them who decide to stay and weather the storm., some with tragic consequences.

  13. I heard on NPR yesterday that the very ‘illegal’ migrants DeSantis complains about overrunning Florida and whom he had spent millions in his cruelty to disperse them are the ones who are engaged in the cleaning up.

    1. I’ll let your comment stand, but I prefer that name calling or the kind of characterization of Governor DeSantis you offered not be a part of the discussion here. Everyone has their views, but there are political blogs aplenty where they can be expressed. You certainly make your views clear on your blog, and that’s fine. The point isn’t whether I agree or disagree; it’s that here I preferred to focus on the need for compassion and concern for all the people of Florida as they rebuild.

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