This Grateful Dead song (the only one I like) just comes to mind: “I will get by. I will survive.”
Since I haven’t had much time for blogging, it has taken me a few days to comment on the 500-year flood that has devastated Nashville over the past few days. My brother Paul (immortalized as Damian in Water Signs) and his family happen to live in this beautiful city (one aspect of my novel that remains true-to-life), and thank God, all have emerged from this disaster unharmed. Tragically, that’s not the case for other residents, many of whom drowned when the Cumberland River crested at its highest level in over 80 years.
Not that the media cares much. As this insightful We Are Nashville piece (shared recently by Paul on Facebook) observes, the national news barely devoted 15 minutes of airtime to Music City’s unprecedented weather event, favoring much “sexier” — although no more or less important — stories such as the failed car bomb attempt on New York City and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
That’s too bad, not just from a moral and ethical standpoint, but from an instructive one. Because along with the sheer devastation, including the destruction of the once-magnificent Opryland Hotel (site of Paul and Angela’s wedding reception), something noteworthy, inspiring and wonderful is also taking place. Residents of Nashville, in a true demonstration of the American spirit of resilience and generosity, are rolling up their sleeves and helping their neighbors. Hands on Nashville (HON), a volunteer organization that partners with the metropolitan governments of Nashville and Davidson County, is actually overwhelmed by the number of folks stepping up to donate their time to the relief effort.
As Paul noted on his profile page, when he called to offer his assistance he was told that all volunteer slots for the distribution of emergency food relief were already taken, proving: 1. there are obvious non-medical needs; and 2. it’s wonderful to know that so many of his fellow Nashville dwellers are so eager and willing to help.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of Hurricane Katrina, and the obvious parallels. While the media — for the purposes of their own anti-Bush agenda — almost exclusively and obsessively focused on the damage the storm inflicted upon New Orleans, they hardly noticed that Louisiana’s neighbors, Mississippi and Alabama, also suffered widespread devastation. It barely merited a mention in print, on radio or on television that in these equally hard-hit places, residents of all races and colors were working together to rebuild their communities, instead of whining about the unfairness of it all and simultaneously blaming the “evil” George Bush and his hurricane-making machine in the Oval Office (it’s not a coincidence that Mississippi and Alabama both had competent, Republican governors either, but that’s a topic for another post).
Anyway, I am incredibly relieved and thankful for my family’s safety. And in another bit of Nashville-related good news, Dom and Emmy, aka “Tommy” and “Ava” made me a very proud auntie this week. Congratulations to my twin niece and nephew, two amazing young adults who give me hope for the future of this country. Seems like yesterday they were sweet little babies bouncing around in those contraptions that — to the best of my knowledge — no longer exist, but used to be secured on either side of a doorway. When they stayed with us during their first Christmas and winter on Earth, an event also described in my book, they spent much of their time in them, demonstrating seemingly boundless energy.
Dom is valedictorian of their graduating class, and I am so looking forward to all of the graduation events next weekend!
I’m also keeping Nashville in my prayers.
UPDATE: via Hot Air, just found this wonderful video: