An unconventional parade in times of need

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Ever since I decided to pursue a career in journalism, I have met many talented people who direct films, paint pictures, became astronauts and authored books and short stories.
One of those is Mary Beth Magee of Poplarville. Prior to interviewing her for a story about her recent inclusion in “Chicken Soup for the Soul’s” newest anthology, I read her story, “The Greatest Parade.”
Given my experience with Mardi Gras parades, I thought the story would be about a patriotic parade where veterans proudly marched through the streets of a small town.
However, it wasn’t a festive parade she spoke of, but one I was familiar with nonetheless.
My family and I, along with my fellow Mississippi Gulf Coast residents, were on the receiving end of the convoys made up of the compassionate people donating their time and supplies to help us rebuild.
In Kentucky, members of my mom’s hometown church, Eddy Creek Baptist Church, quickly gathered as many materials as they could to send our way via my uncle.
A few days after Hurricane Katrina, my dad sent me to Florida for a while. He felt I needed to clear my head.
One of the first things I did was head to the nearest cellphone store to purchase a charge cable for my phone since my previous one floated away during the storm.
The representative asked for my area and zip code. When I began to recite it, a look came over his face and he told me to take the cord free of charge.
I tearfully thanked him about 30 times. It was a simple cord, but with it, I was able to keep in touch with family and friends while I was in Florida.
I agree with Magee’s story. While Hurricane Katrina brought devastation and turmoil, it also brought out the good in people, which, in my opinion, is often hard to come by. The compassionate and supportive nature of people is truly what it should mean to be an American.

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