The troops are waiting and watching anxiously

Published 7:17 pm Wednesday, September 3, 2008

As I was boarding up windows and other wise preparing for Hurricane Gustav after church Sunday, an old friend called.

I feel safe in calling Katherine Wood-Jacobs from Pennsylvania an old friend now, even though I only met her in the aftermath of Katrina. She was one of the people who came down here with the Red Cross and fell in love with Picayune and its people.

She called Sunday to see how we were all doing. She was worried. Katherine had been in touch with other people she met down here following Katrina and wanted everyone to know that up there in Paradise, Penn., they were thinking about us and praying for us.

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Katherine said that up there the news is all full of New Orleans, barely mentioning anywhere else. That’s the big city down here, I told her, and that I wasn’t surprised that the national media concentrated on it, as they did following Katrina, though the damage along the Mississippi Gulf Coast was worse than what happened in New Orleans.

If you aren’t big, the national media hasn’t heard of you, and probably won’t hear about you.

Katherine reported the Amish are still asking about us and are anxious to return if we need the help. Katherine was the person who introduced the Amish to Pearl River County, and a more wonderful and helpful group of people can’t be found.

Her community, Paradise, Penn., was one of the communities that adopted us after Hurricane Katrina. She said she has talked with others in Paradise involved in that adoption process and they are ready to step up again, if Hurricane Gustav leaves us in need of assistance.

Katherine is a character, a good character, and I hope we do see her here in Picayune again, but not because of a storm.

Right now, as I write this Sunday evening, I’m listening to the television in the background tell me about what’s happening with the storm. I’m sore as the dickens from boarding up all the windows I had the energy to board up.

The boss doesn’t know it yet, or actually he learned it from this column, but the next storm a storm like this threatens, I’m taking off the two days before the projected landfall to prepare for it.

I’m not as young as once I was and don’t have the energy and strength that once I did. I hate to admit it, but it takes me longer to prepare for these things now and I didn’t get everything done that needed doing before heat exhaustion, rain and darkness brought an end to my efforts.

I hope as you read this that you came safely through this latest storm and were able to get all your preparations completed in time. I hope you aren’t as sore as I am right now either.

I hope this paper gets out on time, also. We have done everything we can at the Picayune Item to prepare for this, including calling the fellow who brought the big generator last time that allowed us to roll our presses.

If the storm goes west, CNHI has properties in that direction also, so it’s not certain where the generator will end up. Who ever is in the worst shape will get it. Not to worry, though. We have also been in touch with other newspapers in Mississippi that stand ready to print our paper if we need them to do so. Everything depends on where this storm hits and the path it follows after it comes ashore.

One thing is certain, Gustav is going to hit somewhere and leave some poor communities in need of assistance. If we aren’t one of those in need, perhaps we can be one of those this time that helps bring comfort and assistance to those needing it.

I haven’t mentioned Hanna before now simply because it now appears that storm, and it is still a tropical storm Sunday evening, appears now to be headed for Georgia with a landfall near Savannah on Friday and may give that state some badly needed rainfall. Right now, Hanna is battering the Bahamas.

That’s a heck of a way for Georgia to get wet, but hopefully Hanna will remain a tropical storm or at least not become a monster like Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Gustav. I wonder if the Atlantic has something equivalent to that loop current we hear so much about when storms from the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico threaten.

Hopefully, you will receive your paper containing this column on Tuesday, as you should, and hopefully, you are well and have survived Gustav with a minimum of inconvenience.