Words & Banter

When The Best Of Us Comes Out … In The Worst Weather?


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No matter how many hurricane seasons I go through, I'll never get used to seeing the heartbreaking images of the aftermath. People who have lost so much, and in some cases, lost everything. It makes me so thankful for so many things.


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I think it makes all of us, especially those of us in hurricane-prone areas, realize that could be us. That regardless of how much you prepare, water and wind almost always win. But, so does the heart and soul of Americans – always stepping up to help.


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No kidding! There's always a critical need for donations – whether money, clothing, emergency supplies, the list seems endless. Which is why we focused on money and listed some great organizations in Ida … Don't Know What To Do.


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Not only is sending money the fastest and easiest way to help, but when you focus on credible relief organizations with boots on the ground, they know best what is most needed and where.


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Well, what I find most amazing is when I read about neighbors helping neighbors, especially when they define "neighbors" as people in neighboring states. Or, sometimes, many states away. It makes me realize that amidst all the bad news focused on how we've become a divided nation, there are still genuinely good people who don't think twice about helping others. Sometimes because they have needed expertise, other times because they're just willing to roll up their sleeves.


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It is easy to be a fair-weather friend, but it takes a very special person to be a bad-weather hero.


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I saw that first-hand during Hurricane Harvey when we found ourselves under a mandatory evacuation in Sugar Land, with only a few hours advance notice. A good friend became our hero when he took a major detour from his evacuation plans to get all of us (which included two teenagers, an almost 90-year-old woman, and two Labradoodles!) to Austin safely. He knew all the backroads, and seemingly their elevation, as for the first few hours until we could get out from under all the heavy rains, water went right up to the edge of the road, but we never got flooded.


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And, I am sure those memories came flooding back (sorry, could not resist) when you were recently in Nashville getting Sawyer moved into college and got caught driving in heavy rain. It was not until later in the day that I learned there was severe flooding 60 miles away in Waverly. Regardless, I do know that you hate driving in the rain.


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Luckily, Nashville escaped the worst of it, but we were carefully watching the local weather with great concern. The images and flooding were heartbreaking and scary, and brought back bad memories of flash floods in Texas. But I smiled when you sent me that article about the amazing helicopter pilot who, along with his fiancé, was alone in the sky rescuing people in Waverly during the deadly floods.


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Talk about a real-life hero. Putting aside his safety to focus on helping as many people as he could. And, you know there will be many stories of heroics coming out of Hurricane Ida, not only along the Gulf Coast but also the devastating floods it has caused in the Northeast.


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Absolutely. And they're stories we won't soon forget. I've read how so many people want to help the Cajun Navy and its Hurricane Ida efforts as a way of thanking them for all the help they gave Houston during Harvey.


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They are amazing, but if you want to talk about memorable stories, it will be hard to beat Hurricane Ida's cow-saving good Samaritans!


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The stories of people saving animals always touch my heart. Heroes really do show up wherever they're needed, don't they? But I can't help but wonder how they always seem to be at the right place at the right time.


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That is a "belief" question, but I do know that technology and social media have helped. We may take issue with people feeling the need to always be connected, but in times of emergencies, it can be the difference between life and death. And, when it comes to matching people needing help with those wanting to give it, online organizations like CrowdSource Rescue are invaluable.


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Well, it always warms my heart to see how people will come together, as they always do, to help each other in times of need.


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Not to mention, all the unsung heroes that we will never hear about …
Photo by OnTheRunPhoto for iStock


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I keep getting emails about where to go for mocktails. I know alcohol-free cocktails, like Virgin Margaritas, have been around for a while, but I’d never heard that term before. Do you think it has to do with New Year’s resolutions?


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It can if any of your resolutions are to lose weight, save money, sleep better. Or, drink less. Psychologically, January is the month when we “reset”, so a UK-based organization, Alcohol Change UK, started Dry January, where you abstain from drinking alcohol.


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Perfect timing since many people shop, eat, and drink more than usual over the holidays.


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I know you used to drink a glass of Cold Duck on New Year’s Eve, a tradition going back to our childhood, but that hardly counts as drinking. But, I have always wondered why you rarely drink, but never asked.
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Popcorn! Quite simply, it’s one of my absolute favorite things. Starting when I was a child, whenever I went to the movies, I’d get (and finish!) the largest bucket of popcorn available. And I always thought movie popcorn was far superior to what you could make at home … until a recent trip to visit a close friend in Tennessee, and she introduced me to Great Northern Popcorn (I promise this isn’t a paid ad). Now I’m addicted to it as I can make it on my cooktop. I know Black would be more interested in the science of what makes popcorn pop, but I prefer to just be obsessive about my popcorn …

Popcorn. Just the thought of popcorn makes me smile, makes me want to indulge, makes me happy. And I’m guessing my popcorn obsession makes Black roll her eyes (although she might admit it can be a healthy snack). However, plenty of people must love popcorn as much as I do. Why else would there be a National Popcorn Day?!

Over the past few years, the pandemic posed challenges that none of us could’ve foreseen (and I’ll never forget the dedication of the front-line workers or make light of the sacrifices so many had to make). But part of me has to laugh at the irony because it ended my seemingly easy “escape” from the stresses of life – going to the movies and enjoying the largest bucket of popcorn – when I needed it the most.

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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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You’re going to roll your eyes, but lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about myself.


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That is totally out of character, unless you are thinking of New Year’s resolutions.


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Actually, no. For decades, my priorities, and therefore my life, have always been focused on the girls and Mom. But that’s all changing. And I’m not sure how to “change” with it.
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