Thursday, September 01, 2005

So Damn Lucky

Update on Southern Contingent of Clisby Family: All are alive and accounted for, including Otis the Dog and Leo the Cat.

After days of frantically trying to reach the outside world, my brother, Rob, and his wife, MaryAnn, got through to a friend in Austin, Texas. He, in turn, called everyone and my mother to deliver the big news. When I received the call, I was actually being interviewed by KNX-AM radio about the hurricane. They'd asked me to describe my brother and I did, just like one of those wandering, blotchy-eyed, stricken family members we'd seen after 9/11. That's when I lost it, just completely blubbered on the spot. Made for a heart-wrenching sound bite, I'm sure.

Apparently, MaryAnn came home from Alabama immediately after the hurricane but got a bit lost - many of the roads were unrecognizable and major landmarks were obliterated. Meanwhile, Rob and a neighbor had the chainsaw out and were busily trying to clear the roads for MA and others. Eventually, she found her way, expecting the worst but was pleased to find her husband inside, waiting.

Thankfully, they had stocked up on drinking water and food. The generator keeps the fridge and freezer running but nothing gets wasted. Even if an ice cube melts, that water is used. While they have no running water, the toilets do work. They merely walk a few feet to the bayou and scoop, good enough for flushing. Tonight, several folks from the neighborhood were going to bring over meat and fish that had to be cooked or ruined. R & MA have several gas grills and lots of booze so I'm sure a party will naturally ensue. That is the Southern way.

Because they have also stockpiled petrol, they have managed to go exploring and have seen horrific things. Entire chunks of beachfront casinos blown suddenly inland, thousands of dead chickens rotting in the sun from a delivery truck, bare cement foundations where grand old Southern mansions once stood . . . and people. Lots of people, wandering around, looking lost, thirsty, hungry, sobbing.

They do have a generator so they can watch a small TV in the garage but only one channel, the local station that gives them a vivid idea of just how fortunate they are. All the million dollar homes in their area have blown away and several neighbors have gone missing. MA still has not heard from her brother, Tim, and his family. They lived on the edge of Lake Ponchartrain and their house is most likely destroyed.

On and on and on it goes. In one bright spot, Rob & MA, lacking the usual means of entertainment, have gotten busy making their second baby. If it takes, and it's a girl, they are are threatening to name her Katrina.

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