Before my parents retired a year ago, my dad would muse about a dream of hooking up their fifth wheel to their truck and hooking up their cargo trailer to the fifth wheel and going from one disaster site to another, helping out, helping rebuild. They're retired, after all, no commitments except those to family (my 89-year-old feisty grandmother and my 2-year-old sprite of a niece taking precedence over their three daughters, as they absolutely should). And I could see my parents doing that, out there among fallen trees, my dad with his trusty DeWalt saws in as many varieties as he can pack into his trailer (he has a lot...my sisters and I think he should share with us...), my seriously adorable mother with a tool belt around her waist. Mom doesn't have a tool belt, but I think she should have one. My parents like to be productive, to give and give back. It's a part of their personal philosophies handed down from their parents and they've handed it down to my sisters and me.
The semester started last week and it feels like the end of Week 2, that point where the adrenaline has worn off and I actually need to rely on things like sleep and caffeine to get me through a day. Eventually I won't need the caffeine as much until the last third of the semester. Today, though, there's strong Assam in my mug and I need every bit of caffeine I can get out of it. It's a beautiful morning, one that dawned very, very early.
But it's also Friday after Isaac's landfall and my dear friend M's Facebook status tells me that he, his wife, and their two-year-old son are safe in New Orleans after Isaac's visit. They still don't have any power (second night) and they're sleeping on the porch to try to get away from the heat. It's going to be 95 in Lincoln today, so adding general New Orleans humidity and specific Isaac humidity to the mix and I'm sure they're all just miserable. I'm just glad they're safe and if there's damage to their house, it wasn't enough to share with us. They're the lucky ones. Now that the RNC is over, the damage that Isaac caused is moving to center stage and we're getting an idea of what their recovery process will look like. I wish I had my Scamp, because I would take it down to storm-hit areas, hitch up my tool belt and see what I could do to help.
It's not going to happen. My parents are going Up North this weekend for a friend's birthday and they're going to put a tarp over my Scamp, to protect it from the winter. I wish that I had it down here (spiders notwithstanding), even though I can't get away from the semester until Fall Break in October, and I know that help will still be needed in October. I know from my own experience with various floods and tornadoes that help tends to appear, almost overwhelmingly, right after a disaster hits--but then it goes away, people forget, and there's more to do. So I could still be useful in October. But it's not going to happen this year--and that makes me regret that I can't help.