Posts by Sherry:
Still living in Harveyland. Life has gone back to normal: people back to work, football games and homecoming parades, the businesses that didn’t flood are back in business. We’re eating and sleeping and mowing grass and checking Facebook and getting flu shots and buying pumpkins for fall.
But. As many, many people have said and written, it’s not really normal around here, anywhere in southeast Texas, and it won’t be for a long time. I know dozens of families who are living with friends, crowded into other people’s houses, living in hotels halfway across Houston because that was the nearest place available, living in RV’s in their own driveways, living in the second story bedrooms of their own houses. Others are living in houses with bare concrete floors and with sheetrock torn out and possibly mold growing because they have no other place to go.
And then there are the piles. Wherever you drive you see the piles of “trash”, not really trash but rather people’s lives strewn across the front yard or piled neatly into categories on the edge of the front yard. Some people just ripped stuff out and piled it up as fast they could. Others got the “memo” (many days late) that the county and the city preferred that the “trash” be sorted into as many as six different piles: normal household trash, vegetative debris, construction and demolition debris, electronics, appliances, and household hazardous waste.
I passed one house where the first pile I could see was a tower of once-beautiful wooden furniture: a broken dresser, parts of a bed, other odds and ends of furniture and wooden slats and pieces. It was all broken, all wood, all sad. Which of those wonderful categories fit these pieces of a family’s life? It’s certainly not “normal household trash”, not hazardous, not vegetative, not construction debris. How does a person divide the pieces of a home into debris categories, and what do we do with the leftovers?
Yes, we are thankful that so few people lost their lives during Harvey. Yes, we have a great deal of compassion and concern for the people of Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands who lost so much more than we did and who are suffering the lack of basic necessities like food and water. But we don’t have time or emotional energy for much more than a quick prayer of gratitude and another of supplication for the needs of those we cannot reach or help before we need to turn back to the task at hand.
The piles are real, but also symbolic. There are piles and piles of needs and wants and tasks to be done here in Harveyland. Those of us who didn’t flood are busy helping those who did, trying to figure out their complicated piles of needs and sort them into some kind of order so that we can get a handle on beginning to meet those needs. It’s messy. Do these people need help now with rebuilding, or is it more important to find them a temporary place to live? If I find a refrigerator or a stove for that family who can’t make meals for themselves, will they have a place to put the appliances? Do the children and teens need to “get back to normal”, or is it important for them to be involved in the work of rebuilding? Or can they do both? How much can I do or should I do to help one particular family when there are so many needs?
Finally, I’ll tell you what I really don’t have time or energy to engage. I don’t care whether the NFL football players stand or kneel or turn cartwheels during the national anthem. I don’t care whether our president supports them or disses them. I don’t care about the newest iPhone. I don’t even care whether Congress repeals or replaces Obamacare or who’s to blame for global warming. Right now I care about the piles and the people behind them and the work that must be done. I care that people are loved and that God is glorified in all of it.
You guys who are not living in Harveyland (or Irmaland or La Tierra de Maria) can worry about all that other stuff. Or you can pray, and give, and come help out here in Houston or in Florida or in Puerto Rico. We’re all going to be dealing with the piles for quite a while.
I liked Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief, but I didn’t love it. I think I liked Thick As Thieves better, but I don’t really remember too much about The Thief. Set in the same world as the Queen’s Thief books, Thick as Thieves chronicles the journey of Kamet, the slave of the Mede nobleman, Nahuseresh. […]
Nine on an island, orphans all, Any more, the sky might fall. Nine orphan children live on an island. When the green boat brings another young child to the island, the oldest one must leave. Then, the next oldest one cares for the new little one, until it’s his or her turn to leave. That’s […]
Aventurine the adventurous dragon meets a food mage and gets turned into a puny, thin-skinned human girl, but she still has the heart of a dragon. She still believes that she is the fiercest creature on the mountain or in the city of Drachenburg. At least, most of the time she believes it, until she […]
“Books became her friends and there was one for every mood.” ~Betty Smith, A Tree Grows n Brooklyn Welcome to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon. Here’s how it usually works. Find a book review on your blog posted sometime during the previous week. The review doesn’t have to be a formal sort of […]
Chase’s memory just went out the window. Chase doesn’t remember falling off the roof. He doesn’t remember hitting his head. He doesn’t, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again . . . starting with his own name. Even though I […]
This 2017 middle grade novel has definite Newbery award potential. It reads like a Newbery; the style, subject matter, and pacing reminded me of Katherine Paterson (Jacob Have I Loved) or Clare Vanderpool (Moon Over Manifest), both Newbery award winning authors. If Beyond the Bright Sea wins the Newbery or even a Newbery honor, it […]
I want to talk one of my adult children into naming one of my grandchildren Repentance Joyous Forgiveness Abounding (Atwater), the name of the main character in this fantasy novel about a world of slaves and masters and societal upheaval. Sixteen year old Repentance lives in the foggy lowlands in a breeder village where the […]
York, Book One, The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby. This middle grade alternate history and steampunk-ish fantasy had a few awkward phrases and descriptions, and I’m not at all sure that all the loose ends were gathered together by the end of the book. (Understandable, since it’s the first book in a series.) However, Ms. […]
“The Brahmins say that in their books there are many predictions of times in which it will rain. But press those books as strongly as you can, you can not get out of them a drop of water. So you can not get out of all the books that contain the best precepts the smallest […]