Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane Relief’

It’s an unbelievably beautiful morning in Nashville. Crisp, Fall air has arrived along with the sunshine for my birthday. Last night we celebrated under the stars with a Nutella Napoli pizza. I was surrounded by family and everything seemed right with the world.

After all, earlier in the day Bob and I attended a River Talk at the Bridge building. It was hosted by The Cumberland River Compact; for twenty years this non-profit organization has been dedicated to the health and restoration of the river basin, “To enhance the health and enjoyment of the Cumberland River and its tributaries through education, collaboration, and action.”  https://cumberlandrivercompact.org

This particular River Talk was about their latest approach to maintaining the permeable invasive and native plants on the levee. When the Compact took over this job from the Army Corps of Engineers it was pretty wild and had been neglected. After trying a couple of conventional and expensive solutions, they’ve settled on a herd of sheep! A loyal Border Collie named Duggie, slept by his shepherd Zach as we learned all about his sustainable method of property management.

“Sheep are an especially attractive option when clearing steep, rough, swampy or otherwise difficult lots that would pose big obstacles and hazards to human crews with herbicides or motorized equipment.”  http://www.nashvillechewcrew.com

Now y’all know what an animal lover I am, so I was delighted to learn something new about the natural world and how public and private funding can work together in such a beautiful setting. Bob had already met Zach and his sheep on one of his bike rides around town, he spent almost half an hour talking with him and watching Duggie work. Later he told me that I’d love it, that “…it’s an excellent solution to the need!”

Still, when I fired up Twitter this morning after Ms Bean’s walk, I learned that the USNavy Hospital Ship Comfort is still docked in port while less than half of the people in Puerto Rico have potable water. President Clinton had to urge Mr T to deploy the ship, as if he’d forgotten how to govern while Tweeting about footballers #TakingaKnee.

Since then, the call for the Comfort has come to symbolize something larger: A call for the Pentagon to send more.

More food. More water. More generators. More aircraft.

More everything.

My heart goes out to our our friend’s son whose medical education in St Martin has been postponed, to our friends in the French West Indies, and all the people of the British and American Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. To our dear friends in Houston and Florida. This is the exact right time to talk about Climate Change! Our stewardship of the land, sea and air is responsible for such frequent Category 5 hurricanes, and our leader seems to care less about science and more about ratings.

My birthday wish this year is simple. May our grandchildren inherit a healthier planet. Here is the view from the Bridge Building.




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My heart goes out to Texas during Hurricane Harvey. And in particular, a Houston family of five we first met in Nashville years ago, who lived for awhile in Cville; they escaped the storm yesterday, on their oldest child’s birthday, and are now sheltering in Austin. Thankfully.

The Rocker was only 7 years old when a nurse and her husband/firefighter rescued him and his big sister from the December 11th No Name Storm. He dragged his lovey Wiley Coyote along through the flood. Our newly renovated Rumson home was taking on water from the Shrewsbury River, and we were miles away at a conference. Airports shut down, as did I, until I could hold them again.

Someone told me yesterday that refugees from Katrina are still living here in Nashville. She said her brother is a master electrician, and he was on his way to Houston to volunteer. Then she told me he would stay in Texas, as the insurance money flows in for rebuilding, construction workers will have plenty of jobs.

I remembered the Nashville flood of 2010. A newly married Groom, exhausted from late night hospital shifts, woke dreaming his dogs were swimming in the basement. Which of course, they were! The Bride was stuck in her ER, her car on an upper level in a flooded parking garage. I couldn’t wrap my head around a landlocked city flooding, I thought the moon and tides of our coastal towns dictated devastating storms. I was wrong.

An important dam outside of Houston is beginning to overflow as the reservoir rises over its banks. “While spillover would not cause the Addicks dam to fail, it would add more water to the Buffalo Bayou, the main river into the fourth largest city in the US.
Flood officials are also concerned about the Barker dam, which also controls the Buffalo Bayou west of Houston.” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41081629

I hate to see this tragic event politicized. Democrats criticizing Republicans for calling for a smaller government while also asking for FEMA aid. Republicans continuing to support  a president on his way to Texas to offer what? Empathy, I’m not sure he’s ever heard of the word. Sorry folks, I couldn’t help myself. Still, chances are he’ll use the limelight to blow his own horn.

But maybe this time, we could forget the political minefield for a moment and all come together to help our fellow citizens in Texas. Because we all are in the same small boat, and the sea is so very wide. You can donate your money, or your blood, or if you can manage to get down there with a skill, your sweat and tears too.


Happy Birthday to Mikey in Austin, we miss you buddy but we’re glad you’re safe with your family! Your friend Moana sends you hugs and courage!


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This was another phrase the Flapper used regularly. As a young child, I wasn’t quite sure what she meant. She was living “hand to mouth” for many years; widowed, crippled by a drunk driver, small children at home. She was radically frugal, as many Depression era people could be, mending clothes and never throwing out food, always finding creative ways to serve leftovers, if we had any. Too proud to take help from the Salvation Army, I thought she meant we take care of our own – save money for my brothers so they could go to college. If there was some left, maybe I’d be able to go, the last of 6. When you grow up poor, having new shoes on your feet and good food on the table was enough. After all, we had each other. Charity was something you tried to avoid, there was little or nothing left to give at the end of the year.

I tend to think of it differently now. Today is “Giving Tuesday” http://givingtuesday.org: “We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. This year help create #GivingTuesday™, the giving season’s opening day.”

Bob and I tend to give to those causes we are passionate about, like the Salvation Army. Not only do they have a history with my family, they seem to be the first to show up after a natural disaster. I am also deeply committed to women’s reproductive health and saving Roe vs Wade. It is not counter-intuitive to think that abortion rates would fall in this country with increased access to contraception. So Planned Parenthood is on my list: http://news.yahoo.com/us-abortions-fall-5-pct-biggest-drop-decade-171356037.html And I’m not thinking twice about it. Donating to our colleges will also be on the list.

But if we take my Mother’s advice further, charitable giving also includes delivering bags of food to the local Food Bank. Buying the clothes and toys listed on a giving tree for a disadvantaged child in our community. Volunteering at the Charlottesville Free Clinic. And when our children were young, we would help to serve Christmas dinner at a local church through our synagogue. I can’t stress how important modeling this kind of service is for your children. Time or money, if you can donate to a cause that resonates with you, all the better. Here is a quick read to help you navigate websites for different charities, It’s important to do the research.

Hurricane Sandy relief efforts will be foremost in my thoughts this year. The Parlor Mob’s music was set to this surfer’s American Red Cross appeal: http://www.surfermag.com/videos/jersey-love/ “There’s nothin’ like Jersey when it’s good.” But if you really want to help our area, there is always Woody’s in Sea Bright, or what is left standing in Sea Bright. “Like” this Facebook page to see what our old neighbors need: https://www.facebook.com/SeaBrightRising?fref=ts

And as my editor reminded me, our little stocking stuffer book, “Tangerine Tango” (just click on the book in the margin) is donating its profits to fight Huntington’s Disease http://www.hdsa.org If you’re not familiar with her blog, I can highly recommend Lisa’s slice of NJ life! http://cyclingrandma.wordpress.com. Happy Giving everyone.

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