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You Don't Have the Right Chips to Play


 Everyone said she was comin to town -  She's trouble is what they all said

 She stormed into town in a bad mood from Hell -  Her appetite had to be fed


 She huffed and she puffed and she blew the house down -  Trees fell in her wake

 The Gods up above threw wind, fire and rain -  Waves crashed on the lake


 She screamed for a while, went on a rampage -   Her temper lasted for hours

 From town to town, from state to state -  No question about her powers


 Mother Nature was on the rag that day -  Katrina is her first name

 Get out of the way or she'll kick your sad ass -  Life will not be the same


 When she was done and her rage went to sleep -  Terror was the news of the day

 Wherever she went there was death in the street -  The cost of her mood we must pay


 Twenty foot floods, shrimp boats in the sky -  She showed us who is the boss

 The land looks like war, chaos is king -  Too stunned to count our loss


 They say she's the storm of the century  ...Just a matter of time...

 Moms lost their sons, no one has a home -   Poets have lost their rhyme


 Big birds from the sky saved folks from the roof -  Poor souls perished in the water

 The world rallied round the town with the beads -  And mourned the loss of a daughter


 No phone, no lights, no motor car -  Cities down on one knee

 Shopping carts full of stereos -  Perverted land of the free


 Tomorrow will come and the news will be worse -  Body bags piled in the street

 No place to live or to work or to play -  One more refugee to meet


 How can you put a price on your life -  Snap your fingers and die

 What is the cost of a shady elm tree -  Something you cannot buy


 One of the things we learn when life throws the dice


 Swim down your street, wave a flag on your roof -  Sixty minutes still makes an hour


 Say what you willl from your berth in your life -  However you dress for your day

 When nature wants to call your bluff -   You don't have the right chips to play


 Say what you willl from your berth in your life -  However you dress for your day

 When nature wants to call your bluff 


You don't have the right chips to play




 words: Ted Crocker (in tears) 8/31/05 10:03 to 10:14 PM



 (pray that these folks get rescued, hug your neighbor and realize that our life ain't bad...)



Thoughts on Katrina Destruction and Relief

I am mesmerized by the images I see on my television, unable to turn away.  The images trigger the memories and emotions I experienced almost one year ago when I was unfortunate to live dead center for Hurricane Francis on September 4th and then again for Hurricane Jeanne on September 25th (Stuart, Florida).  Keep in mind that I had been released after almost 3 months in the hospital/5 operations to save my foot just 18 days before and was not supposed to put any weight on my foot.  For Francis I was out of my home for 11 days until power was restored and 4 days for Jeanne.  I'm sure that Kitty can relate to the feelings that wash over me these days.

For the most part the overwhelming first emotion is shock. Desperation, helplessness  and frustration is intermixed with a primal survival instinct.  We were spared much of the total devastation I see today on the news, but wherever I looked major damage filled my view.  Homes and buildings were destroyed, roofs blown away, large boats lifted and tossed inland onto homes, huge trees uprooted and, of course, flooding.  I vividly remember the booms and flashes from the exploding power transformers on the poles.  

Unlike many affected by Katrina, I was able to return to my home, clean up and get on with life, albeit a life that took quite some time to get back to normal.  Every other day I would wait for hours to get my ration of ice, water and MREs.  A radio was the only source of information.  Candles and flashlights the only source of light.  I remember a feeling of serenity along with the frustration.  I also remember a feeling of brotherhood among neighbors, strangers and the rescue folks, many who were from out of state who came to Florida to help clear roadways, restore power, distribute food and patch roofs with blue tarps. It was still a 'Sea of Blue Roofs' when I moved from Florida 6 months later.  There was still quite a lot of damage not yet repaired.  

The work force rebuilding the infrastructure was so overloaded that it was estimated to take years to complete.  Many people lost everything.  I myself packed everything important into my van and was prepared to lose everything left behind when I evacuated.  Twice...  Luckily I only lost a fence, some trees and a shed, plus some water damage.  Many of my neighbors were not as lucky.

The storms themselves are a glorious display of Mother Nature.  I was outdoors during most of the 2 storms - both in awe of the display and also looking out for the home where I stayed. I called Jawbone during the height of Jeanne and let him hear what 160 mph winds sounded like.  By being on top of the storms I managed to avert some serious damage both where I stayed and for 2 neighbors.  I tied off a huge tree so when it came down it missed the house.  During the eye of Jeanne, I braced the corner of my 95 year old neighbor's car port which had fell onto his car.  I was able to move his car which saved it when the entire carport crashed down when the storm resumed.  It was impossible to stay off my foot and I wound up luckily finding my surgeon mopping the floors of his office when things calmed down.  

I can only say a prayer for the people in the middle of Katrina.  They face an uncertain future that will change their lives.  Many people live paycheck to paycheck, with no insurance to cover losses.  The amount of people left homeless will be incredible, something not seen in generations.  I feel for the people who will undoubtedly fall through the cracks and never fully recover from this.  Our systems contain so much red tape and hoops to jump through that it takes more resources than many folks have available to navigate the hurdles and receive benefits.  I am a perfect example of the shortcomings of our system.

There is still a frantic search for survivors.  I saw people who will probably not have a home to return to being rescued with only shorts and sneakers.  The areas affected will be full of emergency personnel for days, maybe weeks.  At some point a search for survivors will be called off and a wave of demolition teams will come in to begin clean-up before the next wave of construction crews come in to restore power and water.  This storm has wiped out the infrastructures of many cities.  Roads, power grids, hospitals, bridges, ports and sea lanes are gone.  It will be a monumental task to rebuild and will go on long after the images are gone from your TV.  

Besides the local economies, this storm will have powerful effects on national and global economies.  Oil refining and distribution has been affected.  Grains and other commodities pass through this region -both  imports and exports.  An important hub has suffered damage that will take months or longer to repair.

There is not much that you and I can do right now to offer assistance.  Opening up your home to provide shelter is a start.  What's needed the most is getting food and water to those affected.  I remember the feeling when we heard the horn of the truck with the battered Salvation Army banner when it came down my street with a hot meal and clean water.  The roads have to be cleared, power restored to hospitals, nursing homes, fire, police and gas stations and food must be trucked in.  There is an order in which assistance must be doled out and health and emergency services are at the top of the list.  It could be quite some time before it gets to the position on that list where most of us fall.  

Say a prayer and realize that the troubles that sometimes consume us are trivial in the grand scheme of things.

Ted Crocker  8/31/05

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for sharing Ted, your ramblings are as touching as the poetry.
That is some deep stuff Mr. Crocker......"What is the cost of a shady elm tree".......love that!!!


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