Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Sunday I played Santa on the rooftop clearing off limbs and storm debris from the roof of our house. The lovely trees that overhand our property dropped Eight Million, by actual count, small branches in our yard.

The pile of storm debris I mounded by the curb so far is larger than a bus and I’ve hardly started with the back yard!

Yet our damage is minor compared to most people’s.

Monday my friend Wes treated me to breakfast and we talked about how to live Christian in the midst of some work-related problems.

Tuesday, I repaired a pool pump which shorted out during the storm. Got a significant electrical shock from the old pump housing, so I had to replace it. Our pool was well on the way to greening up and becoming a seven thousand gallon vat of mosquito larvae.

I added chlorine.

Die bugs. Die!

CERT training class Tuesday night focused on light search and rescue operations. I wish I’d had this training back in the ‘60s before the riots surrounding Martin Luther King’s assassination. Back then I played the part of an enthusiastic untrained spontaneous rescuer who may have done more harm than good.

I think CERT training should be a required course in every high school. This is something the present generation is going to need. What can they learn in school more important than survival?

Anyhow, last night the CERT instructor exposed us to thoughts about the structural integrity of damaged buildings, left-hand/right-hand wall searches, and mission focus.

I see that one of my mistakes in the aftermath of Fay as I visited each home in our horseshoe was that I over estimated my strength and I lost focus by talking too long with a couple of individuals who were upset and needed to talk, but who were physically uninjured. Therefore I did not get to as many homes as I might otherwise have.

As president of our neighborhood watch, I felt it my duty to check on the people living in our horseshoe. Our group motto is: Mind Your Own Business, But Look Out For Your Neighbor!

One advantage I had was that a day before the storm hit, after Ginny and I had secured our own home, I phoned everyone on my list of friends, family and Neighborhood Watch members; therefore, I knew in advance who planed to evacuate to a shelter, which households in the neighborhood doubled up with others, and who planed to leave town altogether.

In my phoning, I followed CERT triage protocol by not getting bogged down in phone tag; I called once, checked on people, then made the next call.

Amazingly, I encountered four people who did not know a storm was coming!

Doesn’t anybody watch the news?

In checking on my neighbors after the storm passed, I followed that same protocol of knocking on the door of houses I knew to be occupied (skipped one I knew vacant because of my phone calls). I knocked twice—with a metal key on the glass or wood so the sound carried better than bare knuckles. When someone answered I checked on them briefly and then I moved on to the next house.

Mostly I just listened to fears and problems, so some visits took a bit longer than others, but I tried to stay focused.

Last night as the instructor talked about the distraction of attaching yourself to given situation and thus being deflected from your mission focus, I extrapolated that information into my own Christian life and into my writing. If this journal shows nothing else, it reveals how easily I’m derailed and blunder off what I’m supposed to be doing.

My ease at being distracted by circumstances causes my days to resemble a life lived as a human ping-pong ball.

What harm were those leaves doing on my roof? Could they have stayed there another week? Is reading a novel more important than prayer?

I question these things, but I know full well that in God’s kingdom sometimes the sidetrack is the main road. I could have told my friend that I didn’t have time to talk because I have a desk full of work to do; but listening to him may well be the most important thing I do all week.

Loving overrides doing.

People are more important than tasks.

The only thing that will last forever is people.

One thing the CERT class confirmed that I did right in my house to house visits after the storm: At each home I asked about physical injures and medical problems. I asked about water and food. And I asked about electric power.

Later on, a JEA (Jacksonville Electric Authority) truck drove through the neighborhood and the workers asked me about power outages; I was able to tell them which individual houses had electricity, where a tree leaned against a power line, and which houses had generators running.

This last is important because electrical feedback from home generators can travel backwards in the wires and shock a JEA worker who thinks he’s working on a line that has been cut off.

The JEA guys seemed surprised that I had the information they needed at my fingertips.

Our class instructor said “All guns are loaded, and all electric lines are hot”.

I’d add to that—The metal casing of a swimming pool pump shocks like a rabid bluetoothed bitch!

That’s not Neighborhood Watch or CERT training, that’s personal experience.

By the way, three new hurricanes more powerful than Fay are forming in the Atlantic.

Oh the joys of life in Florida.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 6:17 AM


At 5:18 PM, Blogger Jellyhead said...

Yes, I think sometimes the sidetracks are the most important, too.

I'm glad to hear you escaped 'Fay' unscathed. Stay safe.

Oh, and for heavens sake stop shaving your legs! ;-)

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Amrita said...

Clearing up after a storm like that is hard work. i admire your CERT work.


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