“I’m ’bout tired of disasters,” Clyde declared, as we convened a recent meeting of the Coffee Clutchers. He and Bud had been helping Cindy cut trees out of her yard off and on since last week, and every hour with the saw was a reminder that it had been decades since anyone considered him a young man.
Pete commiserated. For weeks, he’s been using up his vacation time salvaging logs from a stand of timber on his Aunt Fiona’s place that got flattened by a microburst in March.
“This is the only retirement fund Uncle Ralph left her,” he said. “Now it’s only worth a fraction of what it was before, and only if we get it all harvested this year.”
Rob’s nephew’s wife and kids from the Delta are staying with Rob and Emily until the Mississippi River returns to its banks, which means they’re facing a couple of weeks of trying to keep two hyperactive boys occupied and their worried mother cheered up.
“They’re good boys in some ways, but I’m not sure I’ve got enough duct tape and Velcro to survive the visit,” he admitted.
Maurice laughed. “Better watch out; they’ll be thinking this is where they belong,” he said. Maurice had grudgingly rented the handmade cabin that had been his painting studio to a Katrina-refugee friend of a friend of a friend – a decidedly hard-edged woman – who’d hounded him for two years until he’d agreed to sell her the house and a lot at a sympathy price. The deal had cost him his refuge and much of his sanity.
Barbara trudged in, picked a mug off the rack and sat down. Chester poured her a cupful, but she looked too tired to lift it to her lips. We hadn’t seen her in weeks; her mom had come to live with Barbara and Larry after her dementia took a big step downward, and the elderly woman required pretty much around-the-clock care. We got a tearful earful and were reminded that some disasters happen one day – one neuron, even – at a time.
Clyde said Barbara’s service to her mother was a worthy example to the rest of us as we work, give and console in the face of all the disasters we’re seeing.
“I take it back about being tired of disasters,” he said. “Disasters are part of what we have to deal with, like it or not.”
And right there, right off the top of his head, he quoted St. Paul: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal