Posted by Susan DeLay
Every time I’ve turned on television this week, I’ve seen horrific images of people in Houston who have lost everything in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Now Floridians are bracing to survive Hurricane Irma.
Smoothie on steroids
A director at Samaritan’s Purse, who is overseeing relief efforts, said when a hurricane meets your home, it’s like putting everything you own into a blender, adding water, and turning it on high. To me that says what’s left is a mix of clothes, groceries, stereos, houses, cars and patio furniture.
A smoothie on steroids. With a slightly metallic taste.
What would you save?
Hurricanes give people a little heads up on the incoming disaster, giving residents time to run for the hills. I’m wondering if I were in the path of a hurricane, what personal possessions would I consider important enough to take to higher ground? I know the question is reminiscent of asking what would I scramble to save if my house were on fire. Only substitute water and wind for smoke and flames.
- An emergency bag. After 9/11, I packed an emergency bag in the event I had to evacuate in a hurry. It is still packed with the usual suspects—bottled of water, non-perishable snacks, batteries, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, a first aid kit and a little cash—in one dollar bills. (Who is going to have change for a $20?) Oh, and dental floss because you don’t disband oral hygiene just because of a terrorist attack or a natural disaster. (In case you’re wondering, every year, I replenish the water, the snacks and batteries.)
- Pictures. When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, I asked myself the “what would you save” question and when my first thought was pictures, I engaged the left side of my brain and scanned important, memory laced photos onto my computer, then imported them onto a flash drive. And yes, the flash drive is secured in a zip lock bag in my emergency kit.
- My Mac Air. I’d be sunk without it. All my writing is on my laptop and I’m not the world’s best backer-upper. (No judging!)
- iPhone. I’d need it ‘cause, well, you know. I might need to order a pizza. Or call someone.
- Power cords. Only because I’m assuming I could access electricity eventually.
6. - 10. Books. I have had a life-long love affair with books, and I own enough books to open my own virtual store on Amazon. I’d have to be selective about which books I’d rescue. Let me start by saying there would be no cookbooks because A) I don’t cook and B) Every recipe known to man is somewhere on the Food Network’s website or on Pinterest. I would take no books of poetry. Not that I don’t appreciate the art of a poet, but I don’t get it. Scoff if you will, I am of the opinion that poems should rhyme.
I narrowed my books down to five, starting with my Bible. The leather cover is worn and torn. The pages are highlighted, marked, written in, drawn in, dog-eared and tear-stained. But it would be the first book I’d want with me.
I’ve read and re-read more than 40 Nancy Drew books in my life, starting with The Clue in the Diary. I whipped through every Carolyn Keene mystery at the library in my home down and started asking for the books for Christmas and birthdays. I devoured them the way my dog devours rawhide bones—minus the gastric after effects. When I spotted a beat-up copy of The Clue in the Diary for a mere 25 cents at a yard sale, I dropped a quarter into the hand of the purveyor and happily took it home. That’s when I realized it was a first edition, published in 1932. It’s only worth $40 today, but the memory is priceless.
Osky Wow—my high school yearbook—just to remember the days before crow’s feet moved in. In my senior picture, my hair is halfway down my back and looks very much like a cape tossed over my shoulder. The style was achieved with an industrial size jar of Dippity Do and rollers the size of orange juice cans. It was back when girls wore mini-skirts. Boys wore bell bottoms, long sideburns and hair to their shoulders. (Except for the guy who was headed to West Point. His hair was above his ears. But he was able to pull it off.)
The Velveteen Rabbit. It’s one of my favorite books. And the older I get, the more I get it. Crows’ feet are acceptable in this story. Everyone should have a copy, ‘cause sooner or later….
Out of My Window. It was a Golden Book that was one of my favorites when I was little. It was the “go-to” book my mom and dad used to read to me. I still have the words memorized.
- Teddy Bear. My parents bought my sister, Jan, and me our first teddy bears. I was about five years old and I still have mine. He’s brown and gold, has only one eye and, like the Velveteen Rabbit, he’s pretty well-loved. (And by now, pretty dirty.)
- A Judge’s Gavel. When my Dad passed away, I found a street sign that had been mounted above the door of the law practice he shared with my grandfather Frank. It’s about the size of a sousaphone, so it’s too big and unwieldy to stash in a suitcase. I also have my grandfather’s vintage typewriter, but it weighs about 50 pounds and I don’t think my little first aid kit would treat a hernia. Instead, I’d pack the small gavel I gave my Dad on his birthday the year he became a judge. It’s not a door sign or a typewriter, but it will do. And you never know when you might need to pound the gavel and yell “order in the court.” (I’ve wanted to do that since I saw Perry Mason on TV.)
- My Pillow. (Not the branded “My Pillow” that’s for sale on QVC, but my pillow.) I take it with me when I travel, so why not when I’m hitting the escape route?
In the face of a hurricane, I’d definitely pack my memories.
And a pillow.
How about you? What would you rescue?