Kathryn, Rachel, Irma & Torrence

This will be the fourth in a series of 5 short articles.
Irma blew through on September 10, 2017, the eye-30 miles east of our location.
We met Torrence just 1 day before Irma.

Previous articles:
Kathryn
Rachel
Irma

Torrence-#4


Torrence is tall. Intimidating. Large build. Emotionless face. Stone-cold stoic. Big guy. His face is like a smooth rock with dark gems shining from behind his modern frames. He is Navajo.

His voice, though. His voice. Soothing. Simple. Soft. Un-panicked. Unhurried. Reassuring. Masculine and strong, but sweet as a baby’s breath on your cheek. Ten thousand harps plucked at once. I’m sure Torrence has been trained to speak this way, but if you’re an angel, it probably comes naturally. Torrence was our voluntary angel.

We met Torrence during Irma. Sitting on a tile floor in a school cafeteria, staring up at towering Torrence. I felt like a scared, little kid. Looking for hope. Terrified that my apartment (just a town away) and all the tiny scraps of my life were about to blow away. Or drown. Or even worse, my life and the lives of my husband and daughter were in immediate danger from the impending storm. No one knew how bad Irma would be, but the weathermen all guessed (for days) it would be the worst storm in this century.

Torrence, however, gave us peace, information and cookies. 🙂 Cookies do help make a person feel normal somehow. Thank you, Cookies. But really, thank you, Torrence.

Torrence wore his Red Cross vest, cargo pants, sturdy boots and an invisible pair of wings. He took care of everyone around him. Without sleep. Without comforts.

While we all lounged around on the floor, trying not to complain about school lunch, hard surfaces or sharing bathrooms with 2,000 people, Torrence attended his flock. He would make his rounds with pertinent information, handing out treats and tranquility.

Torrence spoke so frequently with our family that I began to feel bad. Unworthy of such care. Our cafeteria floor neighbor even remarked at his attention.

“Do you know that guy?” she asked.

“No. We just met him. He’s Red Cross. He’s just nice.”

Torrence embodied Christ. All of my childhood and adult education about Jesus and his intention were summed up in Torrence’s actions. Christians all talk about being more Christ-like, but Torrence is doing it.

He’s calm. He’s caring. He puts others first. He had a pregnant wife at home and he’s 1,000 miles away helping strangers in a dangerous situation. When other people are leaving the state entirely, Torrence is rushing toward the storm. Thank you, Torrence. Thank you for your time, your dedication, your sacrifice and your skills. But most of all, thank you for your gracious care and protection. You were there in case things got crazy. I’m sure we didn’t see the full potential of your capability, but I’m so thankful to have met you.

When you meet someone who acts the way you want people to act, how you aspire to be? It’s a good feeling. It’s meaningful. It’s important.


From the first moment I met Torrence, I couldn’t shake the feeling that he looked exactly like my German grandmother, Kathryn. I mentioned it to my husband. He just looked at me like, “Huh?”

They look nothing alike. He’s a tall dude. She was a short white lady with blue eyes. He’s nice. She was a hard-edged crone. But I had this ethereal, wispy connection to her spirit through his rugged features. I don’t know why. I just don’t. But she was there in his face. Strange how we connect the dots.

And as I thought more about his face, he reminded me of my friend Rachel from high school. But in my mind, she’s a petite African-American teenager. Torrence is in no way feminine. But these two women from my life are there in his face.

All completely different. All there together. What does it mean?

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Kathryn, Rachel, Irma & Torrence

This will be the third in a series of 5 short articles.
Irma blew through on September 10, 2017.
This was my first experience in a hurricane.

Here’s the first article, if you missed it. Kathryn
Here’s the second article, if you missed it. Rachel

They all relate by the final article, I promise.


The photo above is from just before the hurricane hit. You wouldn’t have known anything was happening. We were in a well-protected school, rated to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. We chose that shelter by luck. Maybe more than luck.

Written just a few days after the storm.


We had our power restored  by the first day after Irma hit. We were lucky, so very lucky.

First, let me say, thank you, Florida Power and Light! You are working hard to restore everyone and you had us back up the next day. Thank you so much!

Second, everyone we encountered during Irma was safe and as kind as people in a crisis can be.

Third, when we got back to our place, everything was just as we left it. The only damage–two eaves were blown out and the attic/under-roof was exposed. No big deal. The condo association will repair. We were so very lucky. Luckiest McLucks-a-lot. Unbelievable.

Had Irma not swerved at the last minute from the coast and taken a hard right, we would have lost everything, undoubtedly. I can’t express how thankful I am.

I am troubled by the undeniable climate change. I am troubled at our growing dependence on things and phones and computers. I am troubled by the chaotic world around us. But at the same time, I am deeply humbled. I am appreciative of those people in a dark world who carry light with them. The people who try to make the world a better place. The people who try to make sense of the world around them. The people who rush to the trouble, and carry out the survivors.

We met a Red Cross volunteer. He seemed to be our personal angel. He would check on our family, update us with news, and even brought us cookies. 🙂 He was truly the embodiment of Christ. So thankful for him. Donate to Red Cross if you are inclined. (More about our angel in the next article!)

Our daughter had to spend her birthday in a storm shelter/elementary school. On the cold, hard cafeteria tile. Surrounded by strangers. No one even realizing someone had a birthday. (I thought about finding a treat and lighting a candle, but decided not to embarrass my 14 yo, LOL) Everyone just hoping to live through Irma. We tried to make it as good/fun as possible for her, staring down the threat of a potential Category 4 hurricane. But it was tough.

But we are here. We are alive. No injuries, no damage, in the scheme of things–no problems.

Irma hit at around 8-9 pm Sunday night.
We left the shelter around 7 am Monday morning.
Got home around 9 am Monday morning.
Had water to shower. (Had gone without shower since Friday morning, gross!)
Got power back on around 7-8 pm Monday night.
Got internet back today at around noon!
We are whole again. Still praying for anyone who is still out of something.

Tonight, we make up for cafeteria tile and storm sheltering. We’re going rollerskating! Her favorite. Happy birthday, Lil. You made it to 14! and then some. 😉 I couldn’t be prouder or more thankful than I am for such a wonderful young lady. ❤


You are either moving out of a storm or headed into one. No one is without weather. It’s about who you have in your boat when the waves hit. Right?

Irma: Lucky

The photo above is from just before the hurricane hit. You wouldn’t have known anything was happening. We were in a well-protected school, rated to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. We chose that shelter by luck.


We had our power restored  by the first day after Irma hit. We were lucky, so very lucky. But we didn’t have an internet connection, so I’ve been jones-ing for blog time. I’m back, baby!

First, let me say, thank you, Florida Power and Light! You are working hard to restore everyone and you had us back up the next day. Thank you so much!

Second, everyone we encountered during Irma was safe and as kind as people in a crisis can be.

Third, when we got back to our place, everything was just as we left it. The only damage was a few eaves blew out and exposed the attic/under-roof. No big deal. The condo association will repair. We were so very lucky. Luckiest McLucks-a-lot. Unbelievable.

Had Irma not swerved at the last minute up the coast and taken a hard right, we would have lost everything, undoubtedly. I can’t express how thankful I am.

I am troubled by the undeniable climate change. I am troubled at our growing dependence on things and phones and computers. I am troubled by the chaotic world around us. But at the same time, I am deeply humbled. I am appreciative of those people in a dark world who carry light with them. The people who try to make the world a better place. The people who try to make sense of the world around them. The people who rush to the trouble, and carry out the survivors.

We met a Red Cross volunteer. He seemed to be our personal angel. He would check on our family, update us with news, and even brought us cookies. 🙂 He was truly the embodiment of Christ. So thankful for him. His wife is 7 months pregnant. That is quite a lady to let her husband help hurricane victims when she’s about to give birth! Donate to Red Cross if you are inclined.

Our daughter had to spend her birthday in a storm shelter/elementary school. On the cold, hard cafeteria tile. Surrounded by strangers. No one even realizing someone had a birthday. (I thought about finding a treat and lighting a candle, but decided not to embarrass my 14 yo, LOL) Everyone just hoping to live through Irma. We tried to make it as good/fun as possible for her, staring down the threat of a potential Category 4 hurricane. But it was tough.

But we are here. We are alive. And we have interwebs! No injuries, no damage, no problems.

Irma hit at around 8-9 pm Sunday night.
We left the shelter around 7 am Monday morning.
Got home around 9 am Monday morning.
Had water to shower. (Had gone without shower since Friday morning, gross!)
Got power back on around 7-8 pm Monday night.
Got internet back today at around noon!
We are whole again. Still praying for anyone who is still out of something.

Tonight, we make up for cafeteria tile and storm sheltering. We’re going rollerskating! Her favorite. Happy birthday, Lil. You made it to 14! and then some. 😉 I couldn’t be prouder or more thankful than I am for such a wonderful young lady. ❤

Irma-geddon

Blogging from my phone. Ok after Irma. No injuries. No damage. Miraculous!!! Praise God. No internet.

Wanted to post some haikus.

 

Water drops on glass.

Hurricane outside our door.

Longing in my heart.

 

Sigh. Soaked in boredom.

The storm is at my door now.

Relief that it’s here.

 

In my opinion,

You’re not a Floridian

Until your first storm.

Irma-gawd

She’s not here yet, but Irma’s on her way. I can’t say I’m not scared. But I’m also not in a panic. I am the appropriate amount of afraid. Category 5 hurricane sounds scary.

First of all, thank you to many friends, family and complete strangers for your concern and advice. Truly. I very much appreciate your nervousness for us. That means our family means something to you and for that I’m thankful. We are watching closely, preparing (packing, obtaining, locating all appropriate needs/essentials), and praying. We will move inland. We will not stay on the island. We will get away from the ocean. For sure. We have a plan and are asking lots of questions. AND we are not currently in the direct path. We are in the “cone of uncertainty” (love that, hope it becomes a meme). Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but we will get heavy rain and winds no matter where we are.

Second of all, I am praying for those fleeing from the storm at this very moment. It’s terrifying. Especially if you have children. But that makes me think of all people around the world right now fleeing from flooding, fighting or famine. Or trapped in those conditions. Our world is on fire or drowning, and it’s scary. Pray.

Thank you, God, for watching over and protecting us. Thank you for our many blessings. Thank you for people who care. If we live, we live for you. If we die, we die for you. Whether we live or die we belong to you. You have brought us so far to help us and not to hurt us. I trust my life to you, Lord. That I may be a blessing to others.
In Jesus’ name.

Third of all, I’m so thankful that I’ve spent the last 5 or so years ridding myself of possessions and pride. The only thing you care about when a storm is coming? Keeping the people you love and live next to safe. Things don’t matter, people do.

If you don’t have a bunch of things to worry about, you can evacuate in about an hour. If you had to. What do you really need when it comes down to it? People all around the world live with very little. I like that. I want to be like that. I am almost like that already.

We are almost packed. We have 3 jugs of water. Flashlight. Important papers. Car. Ready.

You wouldn’t know a beast of a storm is coming. The sky is bright blue today and clear as a Gulf morning ocean.

You can take my couch, Irma, but please don’t take my life, my love or my laughter. I can’t control two out of those three things, but I will always laugh. No matter what.