A Final Thought: Thankful To Be Living In Northeast Ohio


By Mitch Allen

I have family in Louisiana so just after Hurricane Ida hit the state I texted one of my cousins to check on her. Here is her reply (family names redacted):

“Good morning. So here’s the reality. We have power. Yay. We have little damage. Yay. However, there is a 5+ hour wait to get gas. People are so desperate bc they have generators that will run out of gas before the power comes on. ____ and I always think ahead. We had 50 gallons before the storm hit and are now down to about 30. Also, no traffic lights anywhere. Takes a long time to get to the store if it’s open. ____ and I saw a bad wreck on the way home today. People just running through the lights and not taking turns. No cops anywhere.
“Three hospitals lost roofs down the bayou. It rained on patients. Most of them are moving to BR [Baton Rouge].
“Also, it’s hot! The sun is relentless. We are in the 90s. Supposed to get a break to the 80s soon. Ooooo, yay. ____ worked on the downed fence yesterday all afternoon in that heat. I helped some, but he did most of it. Got to keep the dogs in the yard!
“And just like Katrina the grocery stores that do open (which are rare) are out of everything. No bread or milk anywhere. There is no school so kids will be hungry.
“But we are ok. Remember, I’m Cajun. We ‘make do.’ I can bake bread from scratch. I’m hoping to get flour today. I’m sure nobody wants that...lol.
“And I’m texting bc my email won’t work, but I can post to Facebook. I only like to post positive things on FB which is why I don’t post things like this.
“The neighborhood kids are my surrogate grandkids and they come over all the time. I feed them bc these young couples didn’t think ahead. And the moms are stressing bad. I have one kid sleeping over tonight.
“We don’t need a thang. We are good. And all glory to God for that! Amen. Love y’all. And thanks for checking in.”

She followed up a couple of days later:

“Update...It’s a war zone in South Louisiana. And I ain’t talking about New Orleans. Poor Thibodaux and down the bayou. They are getting hardly any air time on the news. They won’t have power for weeks. ____ and ____ are staying with her daughter who has a generator. They had no water for a while and had to use pool water to flush the toilet. Every single light pole is down. ____ doesn’t have power at her camp either, but she’s fine. They can fish.
“One cousin’s office in Houma is destroyed so she doesn’t have a job to go back to even if she wanted. Compared to Ida, Katrina was a summer breeze!
“Last night I was able to help some lineman get a place to take a shower. These guys are working in extreme heat and sleeping in their trucks. The situation is devastating. My VFW auxiliary will be serving lunch today at noon in a grocery store parking lot in the Tangipahoa Livingston area not far from me. It’s crazy here but we ain’t waiting on FEMA, that’s for sure! I’ll keep you guys posted.”

I share my cousin’s texts with you because I’m feeling a little overwhelmed at how fortunate we are to live in Northeast Ohio. As one reader—Rev. Mark Frey, of Bath, Ohio—pointed out to me last week, we have “no hurricanes, wild fires, drought, few biting insects and snakes, and not many tornadoes. And some nice people, too.”

I would add “few earthquakes and floods” to his list. In fact, our worst recent natural disaster was the Cleveland Browns’ 0-16 season back in 2017.

Sure, we complain of mosquitoes, but ours are delicate little creatures compared to the beasts that inhabit southern Louisiana. When my cousin says “down the bayou,” she’s referring to towns like Cocodrie and Dulac, two places where I’ve fished for redfish and speckled trout. Once, while staying at a ramshackle fish camp in the middle of Bayou Dulac (the camp was destroyed in 2008 by Hurricane Ike, by the way), I stepped out onto the dock in the middle of the night to relieve myself, only to dart back inside after having my urine stream immediately interrupted by a flock of gargantuan mosquitoes descending upon my tender manhood.

I’ll take a polar vortex over that any day.


P.S. If you’d like to help Hurricane Ida victims in a highly specific way, consider mailing a check to my cousin’s VFW auxiliary. One day last week, they gave out 78 meals in 20 minutes. She said many of the recipients were in tears. The address is:

VFW Auxiliary
JEB Stuart Post 4224
P.O. Box 66
Baker, LA 70704

They’ll be blown away.

Categories: Smart Living