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From country to city, From farm to fireworks…Through marriage & children, Through employment & ownership, Life continues to be an amazing journey…

Tuesday, February 20

Norene - Without Electricity For FIFTEEN YEARS

Ten years later… try 15 YEARS…YES THAT’S FIFTEEN YEARS…WITHOUT ANY ELECTRICITY OR HOT WATER… almost enough time to travel through a generation. Ms. Norene lived in Florida during Hurricane Andrew. Her home was badly damaged, and being an elderly woman, she was taken by an unscrupulous contractor during repair mode. Sadly, this happens with every natural disaster. Evil Americans that should be hung for bad character will make promises to those desperate and then screw their eyes completely out. Then…as with a calming breeze on a spring day, they will just blow out of town and leave the desperate hanging by their last thread that snaps as they exit, and the evil doers never look back.

It is also sadly true that far too many Americans live good lives, do the best they can, and are just in a situation with no family or friends to help. Now, I find that hard to understand…but then again…I have such a big mouth and could not live a menial existence without human contact…I would be a stink raiser. But it IS TRUE THAT SOME CANNOT.

I grew up in the South, and I understand pride. I grew up dirt poor, but very happy. We were always proud though. We never asked for anything, and never needed anything that we could not provide for ourselves, no matter how small. Our victories came small, but highly celebrated when they came. However…WE NEVER SUFFERED SOMETHING LIKE A MAJOR HURRICANE.

Ms. Norene was too proud to ask. She was embarrassed at her situation. She one day had a nice home, and probably enjoyed her garden and her happy existence. She doodled around in her happy home and talked on her phone and enjoyed her retirement. The next day, Andrew blew it all away. After the felonious contractor took all her insurance money, and did NOT repair her home to accepted building codes and then vanished; she was left with truly nothing.

She had just enough money to get by, but not enough money to hire a new above board contractor to repair her damage to a level that would grant her a building inspector’s approval. So…embarrassed and broken…but Southern TOUGH, she endured. She had a plug or two that worked, and had a hot plate and a dim light or two. She took cold showers each day and didn’t complain. She commented that you just get used to it. You turn the water on…psyche yourself out for a moment, and then jump in and do it really quick. Some life for a woman huh?

Due to a tip somehow (the story is vague), the local people in Florida came together and recently got her electricity turned back on. There is still other bad damage that needs repair, and the locals are helping out with that too, one bit at a time. Her statement was that she was going to take a VERY LONG HOT…HOT…BUBBLE BATH.

Ms. Norene, I hope you have warm bubble baths from now on. We as a country have gotten too far away from our neighbors, and I am as guilty as anyone. I know who my next door neighbors are on each side of me…but I do not know their last names and I have lived here for 8 years. We speak, we exchange pleasantries, and we are friendly. But, unlike the days of my youth, I have never baked my neighbor a pie. We don’t have dinner together, and I don’t have a key to their home for “in case” instances when they are away. Heck, in my youth, nobody even locked their doors.

A friend of mine recently told me that with the war going on, and so many stories like these coming out, that in her neighborhood…they have started Progressive Dinners. A small group of neighbors will agree to the idea, and then…once a month…they have a progressive dinner. That means that all will come to my house for cocktails. Then, we’ll all go to your house for an appetizer. Then, all will go to the next house for the salad, then to the next for the entrée and so forth. She says that even though all the five or six neighbors don’t necessarily share common interests, it’s a lot of fun once a month. Now, everyone at least knows who everyone else is, and the neighborhood just seems more stable and united. I think that’s a great idea. She said that once, one neighbor decided to have fun…and the entrée was spaghetti…and lo and behold…there were no plates, no silverware, just a LOT OF NAPKINS. The tables were covered with plastic, and the hostess just spooned out spaghetti on the plastic and they all ate with their fingers and hands. She said they hadn’t giggled so much as middle aged people in years.

Let’s all get back to being better neighbors and countrymen, and NOT…NOT NOTICE that our neighbor hasn’t had freaking electricity for FIFTEEN YEARS! And…let’s teach our neighbors NOT TO LIVE THAT WAY FOR FIFTEEN YEARS without seeking some relief.