As I watched news reports on Hurricane Irene, I experienced flashbacks to August 1960 and Hurricane Donna. I was eight years old and was caught in what was called the tail of the hurricane.
I was on my way home from a summer stay with relatives. Sandwiched in between my Aunt Mackie and Uncle Ray in the front bench seat of their 1959 Dodge Dart, I was certain I�d never see my parents again. We were traveling over winding highways through the Allegheny Mountains.
Unless you have been in a hurricane, you can�t imagine the magnitude of such dense, wide walls of torrential rain on an indiscriminate path of destruction.
Since Donna�s tail so capably turned daylight into a dark, massive wave relentlessly pounding everything in her path, I couldn�t help wondering the power her head would impart. Heaven only knows how people and pets survive such a beating.
Speaking of pets, I�ve been a longtime proponent of pets helping us heal. However, I usually forget what magnificent social magnets our fur children are � that is until I take my three Dachshunds for a walk.
One woman, a total stranger, stopped me to announce, �My mother had a Dachshund named Sophie.� Another whom I�d not met previously said, �My mother had Dachshunds when I was little girl.�
The next one crossed the street just to say, �Hi, I have two Dachshunds at home. They�re a lot of fun, aren�t they?� And still another complete stranger pointed at my dogs and pouted, �Now, that�s what�s going to make me miss home!� If you�re lonely, adopting a dog could be just the answer.
When I think of cures, I fondly remember going on Urban Plunge in Omaha with other church members a few years back. Urban Plunge is an inner city immersion experience where volunteers live, work and spread the Gospel in needy areas of the world. I helped in soup kitchens, homeless shelters and secondhand clothing outlets.
What I experienced was eye-opening. There in the gang-ridden metro districts of Nebraska�s largest city, are many everyday individuals, now mission workers who are bridging gaps between the haves and have-nots, the full and the hungry, the satisfied and the desperate.
In response to God�s call in their lives, they picked up and moved from cushy neighborhoods in West Omaha to live in North and South Omaha.
It�s mind boggling to realize that one of the wealthiest people in the world calls Omaha home. Yet, according to the Omaha World Herald, Omaha�s �percentage of black children in poverty ranks No. 1 in the nation, with nearly six of 10 living below the poverty line.�
The smell of kitchen in the inner city is always a good thing. However, the other day while cooking up a batch of chili, I was listening to �House Hunters� on TV. As I cut, chopped and simmered ingredients, I relished the smell my kitchen sent into every nook and cranny of the house and beyond to the curb for passersby to catch a whiff.
But then I heard a house hunter say, �Uh, oh, I smell kitchen,� as if it were a bad thing.
To me, the smell of kitchen has always been a welcoming aroma, one that telegraphs nourishing and nurturing times ahead, cherished moments of togetherness and fullness. How could the smell of kitchen ever be a bad thing?
2011 � Copyright Paula Damon.
A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009 and 2010 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, her columns took five first-place awards. To contact Paula, email boscodamonpaula@gmail, follow her blog at my-story-your-story.blogspot.com and find her on FaceBook.