Day eight - October 27 Thursday
4:30 AM Touch Down St. Louis. Wild cheering!!!
The picture says it all. Family reunited at Chicago!
Day seven - Will it ever end?
I remember what it was like during my ninth month of pregnancy. I thought it would never end. That I was to remain this way the rest of my life. That is how it felt October 26th. This day would never end.
We lined up in groups according to which airport was your final destination. What a joke. We were there at 8am. Spirits so high because we were told there were four jets waiting for us at the airport!
Why do they do that? Don't they understand how devastating it is when you realized you have been duped. Yet again. There were no planes. No one was going to Chicago. No one was going anywhere. Once again planes flew in. Maybe one and hour. We cheered when they came into the airports air space! And fewer were leaving.
It made no sense. And it will never make any sense. It will never be explained. We waited for our planes. What else could we do? We jumped line. We will go to Dallas, we told them! Bob and Judy too. Israel and Bella also. Just get us back to the states.
There was no plane to Dallas.
The military showed up in the afternoon and took over the airport. Once again, I will never understand. The General showed up. Joe and I were standing there! I was negotiating a phone interview with a radio station in Ft. Wayne. I was taking pictures with my cell phone to try and send what I was seeing.
So corrupt and unbelievable that I dare not write it here.
GET US OUT OF HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Once the corruption had taken place, things moved swiftly. Planes began to land and take off. Buses arrived and people got on planes and left. Our Holland friends showed up. They spent the night in a five star hotel! They got right on a plane and left.
What is up with Americans?
Desperate we begged to be allowed on a flight to St. Louis. A flight to Denver or Minneapolis had just taken off. Our names were added on the list. We clutched our carry on luggage. My suitcases were taken off the Dallas luggage cart and transferred to the St. Louis.
Dare I hope?
Suddenly..... nothing happens nothing happens...then everything happens!......we were ordered to get into the terminal and go through customs.
They made us stand on a concrete floor for over an hour while they checked and copied our passport information.
At 130am we boarded the plane. When it took off we cheered long and loud.
We were headed home.
Day one in Merida - October 26th - Wednesday
We make the caravan back to the airport. Except our van makes a detour. Our driver is totally unfamiliar with Merida. We are lucky we did not get lost more often. We had vans following us!!! So, we pretended that we wanted to make that wrong turn because there was a gas station on this road!
We arrive at the end of the caravan. We are forced to park outside the airport this morning. I do not know why. We just are. Rumor is it is too overcrowded inside.
Joe and I get out of the Van. Joe had to find a bathroom.
He is not gone two minutes when the word is out. "GET IN THE VANS!!! WE'RE GOING IN." I'm frantic. I do not want to be left behind again! One of the Smurf's assures me it is only a ten minute walk to the front of the airport. He will wait with me.
In the meantime, I search for our van to tell them I will catch up.
I look down the road and there they are. I break into a run! They are gesturing at me to run faster to catch up. I did a pantomime to get them to understand that Joe was in the bathroom! I just rubbed my tummy and yelled "JOE!"
Joe showed up moments later and the Smurf made us jump on one of the buses. Now I was worried that our luggage was going to be lost again!!! I went through too much to get that luggage back to let it out of my sight for one minute!
That is just the way it is. Everything is rush rush rush. Then nothing.
Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. For a very long time.
Day Six - Ticket to ride.
It's late. After midnight, so officially it is day seven. I am not in Cancun any longer, but now in a city some 200 miles away called Merida. It is rumored that there is an airport here. 38,000 of us feel like we are in some bizarre scavenger hunt. Looking for the allusive ticket out of here.
Now this is where it gets weird.
The airport is closing down and we are ordered to get the heck out of the parking lot. We are not allowed to spend the night. As always I am clueless as to who is ordering us to leave. Military? Private airport meanies? Anti-American activists?
We load up in the buses and vans and take off. Following each other out into the dark night. It must be after 1 am by now. We are all tired, cranky, and humorless. It is rumored that we are going to the parking lot of a movie house. Rumors, rumors, rumors.
We travel down the highway, across parts of the highway that are under construction but still being used. Very bumpy. We travel a long ways. I feel we are just going to drive around all night until the sun comes up and we are allowed back into the airport to begin our vigil again.
We are at the mercy of Funjet. And the foreigners are getting restless.
We do arrive at a parking lot. It is the parking lot for a Boston Restaurant! I ask the van driver if Joe and I can find space in a less crowded fan (I saw one at the airport) to lay down and get some sleep.
"Why would you want to do that when you can go into this nice restaurant and eat all night. Open bar?" He had a very good point.
And that is the way it was. Very strange. They had a pizza buffet all night long. Drinks were on the house, but only non-alcoholic. Thank goodness there was not a crisis in this area, the bar was open and the drinks were flowing.
It was 2 am.
I was still fretting about Israel and Bella, but my fears were calmed when they walked in with Bob and Judy. Joe and I found an empty booth, he slept on one side, I on the other. At 330 am we fell into another dead sleep.
Awake at 6 am.
Back on the road to freedom.
Day Six - Nightmare in Merida
I think you all must know what happens next. All those buses heading to the only functioning airport in the area. I believe the estimate of tourists that night was 38,000.
Our caravan had four buses and 20 cargo vans full of stranded Funjet tourists. 2,000 of us was the estimate I overheard. We were able to drive into the airport parking lot and get out of the vehicles. Joe and I headed into the airport proper to check things out...and go to the bathroom.
We ran right into Bob and Judy our first friends we made at the Hotel Rui Caribe all those days before. Seemed like years!
It would be an understatement to announce that the place was crawling with people. Shoulder to shoulder, wall to wall. They were laid out on the floor everywhere in the airport, and on the outside lawn. Everywhere you looked, there were bodies. The line into the restroom was long and I feared once again of being left behind.
After all we were told the planes to take us home were waiting for us on the run way. There were no planes. I can't remember how many I heard taking off that night. Only a few and even less coming in.
Bob and Judy had hooked up with an elderly couple. They had more or less taken them under their wing to help them maneuver their way through the ordeal. Israel and Bella. Russian immigrants.
Bob lent us $20 as we had spent our last $10 with the Maestro. Hurricanes are expensive with all the tipping you have to do! We gleefully spent it on a Pizza hut pizza! We took the remainder back to share with Judy and Bob. What we found was Israel standing alone, under a tree holding Bella's pocketbook.
She had gone to the bathroom some time ago. Yes he would accept the pizza, but he would not eat until she came back. I was somewhat concerned. Here it was, closing in on midnight and a 75 year old man was alone in the dark, separated from his wife of 57 years. It saddened me.
Joe tried to find Bob. I laid on the wet, cold, hard ground with my suitcase for a pillow because there was no room in the van!
Joe was wandering around and ran once again into Israel, holding one piece of pizza and the purse. He had not found his wife. By my estimate, she had been gone for two hours. The line was long, but not that long!
Suddenly......once again, nothing happens, nothing happens, then everything happens!!!.....we were ordered to get into the van! The airport was shutting/closing and everyone had to evacuate the parking lot.
Evacuate!!! To where?????
Our fourth and last shelter.
Day Six - The Road to Merida
Joe and I must have been the last to arrive at the caravan pulled over to the side of the highway. We were rushed over and pushed into a cargo van, not the luxury bus. The van was already full to capacity.
Joe and I were cool. After all, we had just survived a Category 5 Hurricane. To crowd into a van for three hours....piece of cake.
I wish that was the story. The group of seven people already in the van had just gone through the Hurricane together. We were once again the intruders. They were nice enough, but the van was now very crowded and all our stories out trumped their stories.
You know how it is after a Category 5 Hurricane.
Joe and I decided to just be quiet and listen to them talk among themselves. Actually they were very nice.
We drove South at first. We came into a tourist town called Tulum which had to be legendary for its scuba diving taking into account all the shops on the main street. Our drive, Speedy Gonzales....actually Fernando Gonzales....pulled over to a taco stand in the middle of the town.
Everyone piled out and we immediately got ice cold 16 ounce bottles of Coca Cola handed to us with a straw. The first cold drinks we had had in six days! The most delicious sensation imaginable.
Everyone had tacos. Real authentic Mexican tacos. I decided that I was going to continue on the Cancun diet for awhile. No food just tuna. Lots of water if you have a working toilet. Minimal water if you do not.
And it is a good thing. Montezuma got his revenge on several of them a little later on.
The three hour trip was another one of the Smurf's sick little tricks on the silly tourists. Because the main regular road, which was a three hour trip, was flooded out, we had to take the long way. The back roads.
The nine hour trip.
DAY SIX - THE RACE
Stranded! Standing in front of the gates in the throngs of people desperate to get out and get home. Our bus had left. The Smurf's spoke very little English. I understood they were trying to secure us a ride to the bus! A van approached and stopped. Lots of chattering between the Smurf's in the van and the Smurf's outside. The van drove off.
Joe and I were perplexed. I had no idea what to expect. All we could do was stand there and wait.
I looked at all the taxi cabs lined up in front of the LaSalle. They must have had a tremendous day the day before ferrying the unfortunate to the Hotel Zone for their luggage. Things were slower today. The tourists were all catching the buses this day. I looked over Joes shoulder and saw the Maestro! I was so very glad to see him since he had made all my dreams come true the day before!
We shot the bull together for awhile and then explained our plight to him. He immediately began talking to the Smurf's. Rapid fire Spanish, lots of shaking of the head, a phone call made on the only cell phone I ever saw in a Smurf's hand and it was settled.
For $10, he would take us to the bus!
We loaded out luggage in the back of the station wagon and off we went! He took us about 20 miles out of town towards Merida! I thought we were going to the Cancun airport! I was totally wrong. This was no time for idle chit chat. Traffic was dense and he had to concentrate on driving very fast. We took a wrong turn. The usual road to Merida was flooded out and there was no way to get through. He had to make his way to a turn around area and double back. He honked and swore and even went nose to nose with the Military man who tried to stop him. In a matter of moments he had us turned around and once again on the right path, chasing down the bus.
The bus had pulled over on the side of the road waiting for the caravan of Funjet evacuates to make the journey all together.
We made it. I felt like I had driven the 20 some odd miles. I only had the $10 to give him. He kissed me goodbye and told me not to worry about tipping him.
"I'm giving you the Friend rate." he said.
We left him and ran to catch up.
I never did know his name.
Day Six - October 25th, Tuesday
I awoke early, before the sun rose. I took a bottle of water and was determined to somehow wash my hair!!!!!!!!! I was totally blown away when I reached the bathroom and realized the lights were on. We had running water!!! First time since Thursday.
It was heaven. I did not even notice it was cold water! I was able to use a towel I had pinched from the hotel to wash my face, arms etc. When I finished I gasped at the dirt on the towel! A lady was next to me, we were the only two there so early in the morning.
I showed her the towel. She looked at the towel and then at me and then said in this droll throaty voice with an English accent.....
"You filthy bitch."
I laughed until I was doubled over.
This was definitely going to be a glorious day.
We began to leave. First Loretta and Tom at 430am, followed very quickly by Zoe and Martin who were summoned during the night that their flight to England was leaving early. (by way of the Dominican Republic).
Joe and I made ourselves a nuisance to the Smurf's. "I don't know."
"We are waiting word from our superiors. They are trying to open doors. One at a time."
"Maybe take a bus to Merida. A three hour trip."
This was the type of information everyone was getting. It was frustrating. People stood around in tight knots. People were stationed with their luggage at the front gates. Buses pulled in and out. Where were they going? No one knows! One thing for certain, the compound was clearing out, thinning down. It was rumored that the school was to be used for the locals who needed shelter.
We got on a list for a hotel, just in case. We all continued to want to stay together and ride the adventure out. We began this together, we will finish this together.
Joe and I returned to the room. Lunch was being served. Thick bread with ham and cheese. Bottle water. I was trying to write in my small diary, Joe was tossing basketballs on the school court yard.
Suddenly......(time goes on and on so slow. Nothing happens Nothing happens Then everything happens).......A Smurf runs into our room. "Quick! Quick! The bus is leaving! You must be on the bus!"
It was the only way to say goodbye. The only way. I could not have endured it any other fashion.
We were on the sidewalk. The bus had left us behind.
DAY FIVE - What happens in Cancun stays in Cancun
Naturally when we went to our hotels we brought back much more than just our luggage. Although alcohol was prohibited during a crisis, we smuggled it back to the LaSalle. Joe and I did our usual of filling up water bottles with vodka and tequila. Dave had emptied his refrigerator of the cerveza. (Oh, I did learn a new word! cerveza - beer!) Others were much more cunning and deliberate, they ripped the bottles from the wall!
We hung up towels to hide us from prying eyes and then we threw ourselves a party on the veranda! The MP3 player was cranked up and we began to dance.
We did shots did tequila. We drank cerveza Cowboy Cold which I found out means room temperature! We did shots of everything actually, since mixers were scarce and ice was unavailable!
We even did the Limbo. "How low can you go. How low can you go."
A good time was had by all.
No pictures of this debauchery. What happens in Cancun stays in Cancun.
DAY FIVE - The first to leave
After returning to Lasalle I offered to share my clothes, perfume, soap, towels with everyone. I wanted to toss all my clean underwear on my pallet and roll around on it! In our absence the others had begun their journeys to the hotels! Luggage and suitcases were all on the way.
Then we began to focus on how to get out of there! Information was sketchy and inconsistent. We were informed that the Airport was closed. We were told it was open. We were told that you had to purchase a bus ticket to Merida and fly out of there.
It was chaos and confusion. Yet things were beginning to happen. The RUI hotel group that had been finding us shelters and feeding us now turned our fates over to the Group Charters we had booked our vacations through.
A Charter was a good thing. On the other hand a Charter was a bad thing. We were at the mercy of Funjet. Their representatives dressed in Caribbean blue shirts and white trousers. Much like Smurf's. Very few spoke English.
Dave was the first to go. Suddenly. The American Consulate was involved in getting those who had commercial flights out first. He was summoned to leave.
He picked up his back pack we all kissed him. And he was gone.
He was our Rock.
Day Five - The Maestro
We stood in the middle of the intersection and tried to hail a taxi. It seemed the city was waking from a long slumber. People were moving again. Taxi's were at a premium. Dave was able to flag one to pull over. He had a fare in the front seat, but agreed to take us to the Hotel District! We climbed into the back and took off.
He spoke broken English. He told us only four people were reported dead in Cancun by the Hurricane. Three in a gas explosion, and one had a tree fall on them. He told us the Airport was very bad, no tower and flooded. Yet, it was expected to be re-opened by Thursday! He sadly told us the beach was gone. And no Cerveza!!
He was going to take the long route to the Hotel District. We were absorbed into long lines of traffic. This did not deter him. He drove on the sidewalks and in the wrong lanes making the oncoming traffic pull to the right. If it was two lanes traveling forward, he made it three by squeezing in between vehicles going too slow for his liking. He used his horn like a refined musical instrument. He was a maestro! He only had to back up and retrace his steps once!
We were greeted by the "welcome to Cancun" sign laying half in the street, the other half in the medium. We laughed at this, a bizarre sight. The palm trees were sheared in half. Coconuts and palm leaves covered the medium. The new construction that was being put up would have to be restarted. It lay in ruins as if some big giant had bent the steel every which way. Many parts of the road were flooded, but he bravely drove through.
I think he was enjoying himself!
He pointed to the hotels as we passed, "Finiquito." I wish I knew the Spanish for "very sad".
Dave went to his hotel first and the taxi driver waited with Joe and me downstairs. He was inside for 20 minutes.
Then to our hotel. I will let the pictures tell the story. The beautiful glass lobby was a pile of rubble. There were many people inside. A hotel worker got a flashlight and led us up the four flights of stairs to our corner room.
And I wanted to fall to my knees to give thanks. Our luggage was sound and dry, sitting in the bath tub, covered in towels, awaiting our return!
October 24, Monday - Day Five
We laid out our pallets, lit our candles and laid down. One of Papa's sons took out his MP3 player and attached speakers. Now we had music. We fell asleep listening to the sweet sounds of Mexican music.
We slept the collective sleep of the dead. None of us had more than several hours of rest in the past three nights.
Then it was Monday. Jeannie has been reunited with her lost friend. Thank God she was okay. We found her immediately upon our arrival at LaSalle. Me, Joe, Jeannie, Dave and Leona took off to find a phone. Even though my cell phone continued to work thanks to everyone contributing their Motorola batteries when one would run out. We were able to call out! I had the only phone that worked! I let everyone use it. I figure I will catch Cingular's ear and tell them the story and hopefully they will waive my charges....maybe they will give me cell service free for life in exchange for the testimony!
But I was unable to get through to Bridget. We waited in line for over an hour. Joe and Jeannie returned to the compound, Leona and I stayed in line and Dave watched over us. It was my turn. I had my phone card ready to go. And the phone went dead!
That was the only time I came to tears. Leona was able to reach her daughter on the other phone. She was kind enough to ask her to call my old friends in Lexington and have them call my new employer in Ft. Wayne.
I was suppose to start my job on this day, Monday October 24th!! We headed back to the compound and as we entered through the gates we encountered people returning from the Hotel District with their luggage.
They had hired a taxi driver to take them. We did not even need to communicate with words, Dave, Joe and I headed to the large intersection to find a taxi!
DAY 4 - Return to the Casa de la Cultura
The inside of the gym after Wilma. What we left behind.
The concrete stairs where we first set up camp and met Dave.
The Back Porch where we evacuated.
The kitchen. The wall. The window fan.
The roof is gone.
Day Four - "One step at a time."
We were ecstatic to arrive at the school. As Papa said, "one step at a time." We were moving forward and closer to returning home. LaSalle was overflowing. The 1,600 refugees from the gym were now crammed into the sprawling school campus. It had sustained much damage. The building had many windows in its concrete structure. It was surrounded at one time, by beautiful majestic trees. It was just short of being in ruins.
We were not greeted with open arms. The rooms were filled to overflowing capacity. Though they were larger than the ghetto school rooms, it was not comfortable for 50 to 60 people. When personal space is so cramped, tempers flair.
Jeannie and I were at the gate entrance sitting with a volunteer helping with the American consulate. She was giving information out, as limited and unreliable as it may be, it was at least news. We were told that our luggage was more than likely unretrievable. It would be gone through and cleaned then given to the poor.
This is when I lost it. I did not cry, I did not yell, I did not scream. I just become so angry that when a disgruntled woman appeared and began to complain to the Aid about the new people entering the LaSalle I let her have it.
"We were brought here by the military, just like you. We have nothing, just like you. We have been wearing the same clothes for four days, just like you. Do you think we want to be here? We feel just like you."
We were not to be separated. We were adamant that we stay together. Joe and Dave went across the street to the gym and salvaged rubber pallets. The RUI group hastily cleaned out a flooded area on the second floor of a back section of the school. We trooped up there and found a mansion on a hill! We had the room to ourselves! Twenty of us spread our pallets, set up housekeeping once again and then began to work on the next step.
SIX DAYS IN CANCUN - Day Four - The lost 200
We were the last of the RUI group to be found. The military brought in buses for us. Once again, we gathered our plastic bags and stood in line. The first bus was filled and took off. When the second bus arrived we decided to walk to the front of the school and exit through the broken fence rather than wade through the dirty water.
The second bus was filled! No more room! The military Sergeant turned toward the traffic that was patiently waiting for us to leave and commandeered a VW van directly behind the bus! Two young Mexican males offered no resistance and allowed twelve of us to board their vehicle. It was a tight squeeze. So overflowing was the human cargo, that the back doors would not shut, so the military took heavy duty vinyl twine and tied Dave and another gentleman in!
We followed the bus through the streets of devastation. The bus was able to plow through the high standing water on the flooded streets. Our driver could not and had to be more creative. At one point he drove on the higher ground, which happened to be the sidewalk. There was a roar from us on the bus as the front end went over the curb then another as the back followed!
We turned down alleys, through parking lots, over crushed glass and debris, on sidewalks and any surface that would allow us passage and to catch up with the bus.
Our fearless driver deposited us at the LaSalle, minutes behind the bus.
We were the last of the lost to be delivered.
The Commandeered Duo.
Scene outside the bus.
Child from the neighborhood
The flooded street where we disembarked the bus on Friday
The rising water outside the school rooms
Military explaining to us we had to leave and return to LaSalle area
Devestation left behind by Wilma in our schools neighborhood
Tido, the Entertainer!
DAY FOUR - October 23 Sunday
At the first light our whole room was up and out the door. It was over. Now we had to concentrate on being rescued.
It had become apparent to us that we were lost. The RUI group had evacuated the gym the best way they could ensuring that the 1,600 people trapped in a rapidly deteriorating building would be taken to a safe place. The bus driver was a hero, finding us a safe sanctuary during the beginning of a Category 4 hurricane.
Tido, the Entertainer had stayed true to his promise to take care of us and share food. The men in our group were determined to take charge of our destiny from this point on.
Papa and his son's persuaded the taxi driver to take them back into the area we had originated from. Even though the streets were flooded, trees blocked the roads, wires were down and God knows what else was out there, he took them.
There was a collective sigh of relief felt in our compound. We had endured the Hurricane under the most adverse of conditions and had outsmarted, outlived, and persevered! We were true survivors!
We also stank. Each one of us had been wearing the same clothes since Thursday. We had some extra T-shirts, but for the most part....we smelled pretty ripe.
The men came back with news that the LaSalle school (the school across the street from the gym) was in worse condition than our little ghetto school. Windows broken, trees felled on the school and tempers raging over unsanitary conditions and lack of food and water.
We had to go back. We had no choice in the matter. The military showed up and so we packed up our possessions, which were becoming even more meager, and prepared to evacuate once again.
But first......group photo!
DAY THREE - Second Night of Wilma
There was less tension in the room the second night. Now we knew each other. During the past 24 hours we had really gotten to know each other very intimately! Situations of tremendous stress bring out the good, the bad and the ugly in every person.
We were a very diverse group. Twenty-four personalities randomly thrown together. An Armenian family from California traveling together for the first time and probably the last! The Mama and Papa, son and daughter, daughter-in-law (Sema) and the daughters boyfriend. Two couples from Holland who did not know each other before the disaster. A honeymooning couple from England. Two college students from Switzerland. A mother from England traveling with three teenage children. Jeannie, from Colorado who was separated from her friend at the gym during the evacuation. Her friend was the rumored victim of the cigarette smoke! And the remaining Americans, which are Dave, Tom and Loretta, Joe and myself.
A microcosm in group dynamics.
Papa remained in a chair the entire second night keeping on eye on the rising water, ready to alert us if the contaminated water would begin to flood the room. One of the Holland young men was stationed by the door most the night. Our meager pallets of just several blankets served as our beds.
It was dark by 730pm with the rain and wind beginning to howl again. We lit one candle and everyone got quiet and began the long ordeal of making it through the night.
At 1030 there was a loud knocking at the door. Everyone bolted upright and gasped!
"Who is it?" the Armenian son demanded!
"Tido, the Entertainer! I bring you coffee."
We threw open the door and shouted at him, "You scared the hell out of us!" We were now in the grip of a Category 3 hurricane! One thing for certain, the Mexican tourism industry takes their jobs seriously!
It was the longest night I have ever lived through.
Yet, I lived through it.
DAY THREE - Saturday Oct. 22 - WE SURVIVED
You began to be able to hear the rain. That was a good sign! The day lightened and we opened our door. It was still raining, but the worst was over. We had made it! The little school house that could! The structure was solid concrete, built to withstand hurricanes! The Category 4 did not budge it one iota.
Everyone was fine. The smokers began to smoke furiously. We were reunited with Dan and Cindy, who were in the school room next door!!
For some inexplicable reason, I pulled out my cell phone and dialed my Mother. The call went through! It was a miracle! She was overjoyed to hear my voice and gave us the first solid CNN information from the states! Wilma was to hover over Cancun another 12 to 24 hours.
Impossible! It was Saturday morning! Wilma had been here since Thursday night!! She had to go!!
We began to take advantage of the semi-calm, thinking this must be the eye of the storm. The men left the school area and ventured out into the neighborhood. They first went to the small stores that were in the area to bring back such luxuries as toilet paper, candles, water, and of course junk food!
The locals began to come into the compound and help us. The bathrooms were horrible, and they cleaned them as best as they could. They gave us five gallon containers. We dipped them into the pools of water surrounding the school houses to flush the toilets. They took several of the men back into Cancun to the part closer to the Hotel district and the area we had evacuated the day before.
The taxi driver cooked for us. He boiled eggs and scrambled at least a dozen. The most delicious food I have ever tasted. He was able to round up a half bottle of wine for us. Very dry! We stood around eating the eggs and standing in little groups chatting and laughing. One would think they had stumbled on a cocktail party.
He refused to take money. When we returned the Tupperware container, we slipped him a Hershey candy bar and $20.
We passed the time putting together a 300 piece jig saw puzzle, playing Hangman on the chalk board and talking to each other.
The day turned into night, and the storm returned.
Day Two - WILMA
For the first time we had good information. She began to pick up steam as the evening progressed. We had no light other than one candle burning and a flashlight that we positioned by the bath room area.
Joe and Dave sat at the back window with the slats open keeping an eye on the little slice of the world behind the school room. It became darker, then night fell. Wilma began to rage.
A very nice couple from the Chicago area, Loretta and Tom offered us one of their blankets. Joe took it and handed it to Dave. Most of the others began to go to sleep. I doubt that they were sleeping, they were laying still and praying. I know that I was. I was saying the rosary using my fingers as beads.
The only thing you could hear was the wind. It is impossible to describe it. It raced down the channel beside the wall and the side of the school. You knew it was raining, because it was pushing itself through the wooden slats. But you could not hear it. People shifted trying to not lay in water. We heard objects flying in the night and landing with hard crashes. Joe would open the slats and peer the flashlight out hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever it was out there.
Sometimes there were lights. People were out in the hurricane. Walking the perimeter. Occasionally you would hear dogs barking. Mainly you just heard the overpowering monstrous fury of Wilma. She was a Category 4 all night long. Winds were 150 to 140 mph.
Around 10pm Tom offered me his bed. He told me he wanted to sit up with Joe. It was the kindest gesture I have ever been offered. Despite the violent storm raging two feet from me, I feel into a drugged sleep for about two hours.
That is how we slept. Several hours here and there. People moving in almost reverent quietness to visit the back window and sit for a while.
We were all silently praying.
Day Two - Survivor Cancun
Twenty-four stunned, drenched, and battered people found themselves randomly thrown together in a small school room. The Yellow Slickers gave a few parting words of caution and then were gone.
Its funny looking back the things you remember happening. We were the first in, so we ended up in the back corner with two chairs. The others spread out and sat down along side the walls. Only one woman sprung into action immediately taking charge of the situation, Sema. She barked orders at everyone, and for some unexplainable reason we followed her lead.
We piled all our supplies in the middle of the room. We contributed the bottles of water we managed to get out of the gym. So did the others. Flash lights, blankets and pillows (some people did not get the order to abandon the sleeping gear, thank God) batteries and candles. She had come with food! So had others. Peanut butter and jelly, chips, cookies etc. purchased the day before at the Walmart.
We examined the windows and water proofed them as best we could with several pillowcases we tore into strips. She even broke into the school supply cabinet and found some tape which we taped up the windows...just in case.
We fashioned a bathroom in the corner with several of the black garbage bags, the tape and a trash can. We moved furniture around so that those who wanted could lay under desks. We even positioned a large heavy box inside the door so that no one could get in, not even Wilma.
We had one visitor, Tido, the Entertainer. We had crashed the shelter being used by another hotel group. Only about 50 of them were already hunkered down. Tido told us that he was in charge of the other group and would do all he could to help take care of us, share food and water. And what ever we do, do not open the door! We are in a dangerous and very bad section of Cancun, a ghetto. Be very cautious.
We locked the door behind him and decided to heed his ominous words.
That is until someone knocked on the door. We did not even ask who it was, we just threw open the door! Two Mexicans stood in the door way with the hurricane beginning to rage behind them. They spoke only Spanish. We figured out that they were offering us canned tuna and canned beans. They would also be able to bring us little gifts.
At least this is what we thought they were saying.
Good Samaritan or Highway Robbers?
The Hurricane was scheduled to arrive in all her fury around 7pm. It was close.
DAY TWO - A TOUR OF CANCUN DURING A HURRICANE
Once we made the turn and could see into the Back Porch it became apparent they were loading us onto buses. Where were we being taken? Destination unknown. Maybe across the street. No one knew a thing. We just wanted out of the gym.
Outside the doors, leading to the waiting buses, lined up on both sides were the Civil Protection unit all dressed in identical yellow slickers forming a human wall to protect us from the surging winds and driving rains. One Yellow Slicker grabbed our bag of possessions. He ran along with us to the bus and once aboard, he handed over our bag. We had been ordered to leave behind our blankets and pallets. There was not enough room on the buses to remove us all quickly if we carried too much with us. I did manage to smuggle out a large plastic black bag! I was using it as a rain coat.
Joe and I were the last on the bus. I sat behind the driver, Joe sat next to Dave. Our bus pulled out and began to follow the bus in front of us. Immediately there were problems. The driver of the bus ahead of us was much more cautious than our bus driver felt was necessary. We had a Yellow Slicker ride shot gun on the bus and our driver continuously sent him out to yell at the other bus driver for him.
The first bus would come upon flooded out streets and slowly make his way through the high water. When it was our turn, we crashed through at breakneck speed immediately catching up with the first bus.
We drove through Cancun as the Hurricane began to make her entrance. People were still walking down the streets, faces silently watched us pass from open windows in concrete buildings. Trees were bending, lines were down, debris was flying all around us.
Ahead of us the other bus stopped. An entire section of a roof must have blown off and landed in the street breaking into many parts. The first bus carefully and cautiously drove over the sheets of metal as several more Yellow Slickers appeared and began to help. It made it! Now our turn.
Our bus driver threw it into gear and began to drive over the metal with all caution thrown to the howling winds. There was a hurricane after us!!! He made it! And quickly! Suddenly we heard the sound of one of the sheets of metal hung up and being dragged under us. We stopped and the Yellow Slickers, now four of them, began to yank and pull the metal free. The sound of airbrakes hissed loudly. Joe asked me to check over the drivers shoulder and see if the brake light was on. He worried the brakes may have been severed.
The Check Engine Soon light was glowing.
A Yellow light was on....
And the Green Left Turn Signal was flashing on and on.
This made me smile.
We continued on, the windshield wipers almost worthless against the barrage of rain. We once again quickly caught up with the first bus. I realized we were no longer on commercial streets, but had entered the neighborhoods. The bus in front of us stopped at what appeared to be a car port and people were exiting the bus. They began to run like hell into the storm.
We continued on. Still following the bus in front of us. Down narrow flooded streets. Finally making a tight left turn into a much narrower street and stopping at an entrance. The Yellow Slickers waited until the first bus disembarked then turned towards us....it was our turn.
Joe had our plastic bag. I ran like hell behind him and the Yellow Slicker. We ran into a compound that was surrounded by a concrete wall, we rounded a turn and headed left. Down a passage till we arrived at an open door. We rushed in, followed by 22 other people.
Our second shelter. This is where we rode out the hurricane.
Six Days in Cancun - Day Two The Second Evacuation
People began to gather up their belongings. The pillows, blankets, pallets and the plastic bags. We were unable to exit through the front door, as it was guarded by one of the Mexican Army with a rifle. No one was getting out that way.
We made a plan. There was an area between the kitchen and the back porch that led to the men's rest room. It appeared to be the safest place in the building. We would huddle in there.....after going out into the gym and locating the families with the infants and making them join us.
At least we had a Plan B.
The RUI group had a Plan B also. We were to be evacuated a second time. The information that made its way to us was this....they were taking us across the street to the school, LaSalle. All 1,600 of us lined up in an orderly fashion and waited patiently to exit out the Back Porch.
It was like going through the neck of a bottle. I was truly amazed at how calm everyone was on the outside. I'm certain, like me, most of us were falling apart on the inside. Dan and Cindy were able to push up ahead quicker. We lost them.
Dave was with us. We were on the other side of the wall trying to make the turn to head out the exit. The wind continued to gain strength and intensity. It continued to lift the South corner. The rain was pounding. Loud crashes were heard on the metal roof and what sounded like coconuts rolling and loudly hurtling across its length.
The wind began to pick up the roof from the South corner and head in the opposite direction. Light continued to be seen each time it lifted. Higher and higher. More and more of the sections.
Without warning, a section in the middle was peeled back. Rain and debris began to fly into the gym. People gasped and cried out!
Still, no panic. People remained calm and the evacuation continued.
I looked at Dave who was standing stoic and patient. "I'm not going to panic until the hurricane hits." I said to him.
I felt I was going to be okay. There was a strong feeling inside of me telling me it was not my time.
A thick calmness engulfed me.
SIX DAYS IN CANCUN - Day Two October 21st, Friday
I woke up from a restless sleep around 6am and tentatively made my way over the slumbering bodies to the bathroom.
Another arrival had joined us...bringing our total to seven (there was a lovely couple from Liverpool in the makeshift room when we arrived). I was relieved to see Dave, who had stayed behind on the concrete steps, had found us! Actually, he just stumbled into our area around 4am unable to deal with the rain any longer. Karma.
The day took on a frustrating rhythm. A television had been set up in the Back Porch area and was broadcasting in Spanish. All we wanted to do was to watch the picture and path of Wilma making her way, very slowly towards Cancun. Now a Category 4 with winds of 150 miles per hour.
When was it going to hit Cancun? That was the question on everyones mind. We were smashed together like sardines. It was hot, dank, sweaty and muggy. The roof was leaking. Babies were crying, the emergency medical staff had visited our gym numerous times.
A pattern was established. We were being given false information!!! The hurricane was to hit at 2am. At 2am? Nothing. Just false information to appease us.
A woman had been rushed out of the back porch area because she was overcome by the dense cigarette smoke. Also false, we met up with this lady at a later date and a different shelter.
The hurricane had split in two! One headed towards Cuba and the second towards Cancun!
The only thing we could trust was what we were seeing with our own eyes. Around noon, the roof above the South corner, directly above our first camp on the steps, was being lifted by the fierce winds and dropped back.
Each time a thunderous metal BAM vibrated and reverberated over us. At first it lifted one section along the seam on the edge. Light could be seen under it on each lift. It began to spread. First one section, then two, then three. Each time, the loud BAM as it slammed back down.
My heart began to beat faster. I felt the panic begin to rise from some deep part inside of me. Each BAM cause me to shudder and quickly look into the corner. In time, I could not tear my eyes away.
The wind was now lifting seven sections.
DAY ONE - TARANTULA DREAMS
We were plunged into total darkness. Immediately the Rui staff, who were interspersed throughout the gym switched on flashlights to guide our walking. Joe took off quickly with Dan and I following him through the sea of people trying to keep our feet off the pallets, blankets and bodies. It was very difficult, every inch of space was covered with only narrow paths for walking and at times, not even a path.
When he reached the steps, he gathered up the remainder of our belongings that were not sopping wet. One pallet and the plastic bag that housed our sparse belongings. He turned and headed back once again with Dan and I following him.
The kitchen area was located next to the back porch. The staff was operating from what actually was only a very large concession area, maybe 40 feet by 30 feet. Joe turned the corner and headed into the secluded area. Seven or so Mexican Rui staff were standing at the entrance to the area, located at the back end of a chest high wall. They were aware of the water problem in the South corner and immediately stepped aside to let us enter the kitchen.
We dropped our gear on the opposite side of the wall. The staff had moved the boxes of bananas and apples that were originally against the wall about eight feet giving us a small narrow room.
Dan went back and got Cindy.
We were able to lie on a floor that was a wrestling mat instead of concrete steps. We even had some ventilation! We could see a tree through the fan. It was swaying and dancing with the strong wind. I kept my eye on that tree, it became my barometer on how the storm was progressing.
Cindy arrived, we spread out and began the futile attempt of trying to get rest and just possibly some sleep. Everyone became very quiet. Almost peaceful.
Right before I fell asleep I heard a soft murmur coming from Cindy.....
"Tarantulas like to hide in banana's".
Day One - Good Karma
The roll of the dice.
Luck of the draw.
Being in the right place at the right time.
How do you try to explain the things that happen to you in your lifetime? How do you understand it? Wrap your mind around it? The unanswered questions. Each one of us is such a small piece of humanity. Like a grain of sand on the beach. All of us have families, histories, dreams and this unexplained thing known as Karma.
The guiding hand.
Joe and I stumbled into the gym and the inn was full. No room existed on the floor. We were forced to find an area on the side. This was the bleacher area. Large green concrete steps on either side of the gym.
We moved to the right hand corner and set our stuff down. Every tiny space on the floor is covered with people. It is much better on the bleachers. We have room to spread out. We had nothing but two pillows. And then we give one of those away.
We begged and wrestled away two mats from a couple who wanted them as pillows! That is where the pillow went.
Life is getting better. We move around the gym making a kind of route. To the area in the back which will soon be dubbed, "the back porch" where the bathrooms are located and the smokers congregate, past the food station, down the side wall back to the steps.
The rains came. The roof began to leak only above our area of the bleachers. We all shifted around to avoid the drips. We confiscated a large trash can to catch the worst leak. We took empty liter water bottles and cut the tops off and used the bottoms for the smaller leaks.
That is where we found Dan and Cindy. A couple from(....gasp!!!!!.....)Indianapolis! Another gentlemen was sleeping above us, he later became known as Dave. We worked together to remain relatively dry.
Anyone who has been reading my journal for any amount of time knows I have a penchant for falling down. I will not disappoint you all and now I have many more fans. My flip flop went one way and my body went the other. That large gym of 1600 people all were silenced when my scream pierced the air as I went down.
I hobbled off to the bathroom on the back porch.
I actually was hiding out. Joe can back to hold my hand and tell me is was not all that bad, there were some people on the other side of the gym on the steps over there who did not see me fall.
Dan found us and brought the following news. The rain had become worse and the ceiling leaks had become more numerous. Unfortunately, it gushed all over our sleeping area. He and Cindy moved our stuff as best they could, but it was wet.
"Can it get any worse?" I laughed.
Then the lights went out.
DAY ONE - Casa de la Cultura
But we just call it home.
We were one of the last groups to board the bus. That was to become our modus operandi. We took a short bus ride that was made a lot longer by the amount of people trying to escape the Hotel Zone.
We were driven into the city of Cancun and taken to an auditorium called the Casa de la Cultura, where we joined approximately 1,600 other evacuees from the Hotel group RIU. It was in their best interest to keep us all together. We were in two groups. The second group was setting up camp in the school across the street, LaSalle. I could not venture a guess how many. Hundreds.
We arrived too late to be issued a sleeping pallet for the floor! Joe and I did not really mind, thinking that Wilma would blow through and we would resume our vacation. We even thought that maybe we would be offered extra days!
God bless us.
The day was bright and sunny. The wind was still strong, but not enough to stop the couple of thousand tourists from making a beeline to the WalMart on the adjacent street.
We purchased essentials. Sun glasses (ours were sacrificed to the Surf god the day before), bottled water, hair bands, moist towelettes, and a phone card. If only I had known then what I was facing........
On the way out there was a television set turned on CNN broadcasting in English. We were glued to the screen as the weather came on with news of Wilma. The hurricane was heading towards Cozumel. What he said next will be forever branded into my brain.
"CANCUN IS GOING TO GET HAMMERED"
Day One - The Evacuation
We were handed a bulletin written in both Spanish and English outlining instructions for the evacuation. I was skimming the page and came to the part that read "From Thursday 20th at 8.00 a.m., we ask you to be prepared for the evacuation."
I read no further!!!
I began to run around the room picking up all the clothes and personal items and smashing them into suitcases. Joe took a shower, but I had showered before going to bed and decided not to waste time!!! It was 7.45 a.m. and closing in on 8.00 a.m.
What does one wear for an evacuation? I chose white Capri pants and a blue Old Navy V-neck tee. We proceeded to go down stairs to see what was going on and eat breakfast.
It was very close to 8AM. There was very little activity in the lobby. I asked at the front desk and was instructed to go eat breakfast....a good breakfast, the evacuation will take place in time.
In time. Time became our nemesis .....in time.
There was no panic. Things moved along slowly. We watched the staff climb around the balcony area and tape the windows. We watched as they took apart the heavy glass doors leading to the swimming pool area and the beach. We watched people watch people.
The bars are closed in a crisis event. Any type of alcohol sales are prohibited. People were drinking the Corona's from the refrigerators in their room.
Joe and I returned to our room and gathered what the hotel staff had instructed...pillows, passports, money, personal cosmetic items. We skipped the blankets. We were only going to be gone for 12 to 24 hours! We placed our luggage in the bathroom later to be moved to the bathtub by the hotel staff. Naturally we filled a water bottle with tequila from the bottle supplied to us in the room. Survival.
We patiently waited for buses to pick us up. All our belongings resting in the large plastic bags supplied to us by the hotel. We watched the staff begin to remove coconuts from the excessive number of trees surrounding the hotel, then some of the limbs themselves.
Out of boredom we began to chat with a couple seated with us, close to the back of the lobby. Bob and Judy.
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Thursday Morning October 20th - Day One
We rode the bus provided to us by our vacation package company, Funjet, to the resort. The representative gave us the low down on the hurricane status. "We don't know."
A familiar refrain we would hear the entire journey.
She assured us we would have Thursday to go sightseeing, to visit the local disco's on the bus tour, go into Cancun, visit the ruins, and participate in the various excursions. She informed us that the hurricane was scheduled to arrive in our area on Friday. What category? How close? "We don't know". Wilma is expected to miss us and continue to the east.
In the meantime, Wilma is south of us, with winds of 175 miles per hour, a Category 5 hurricane....destination: unknown. She is a monster and moving slowly.
We are frolicking on the beach and playing on the foamy waves. We are taking advantage of the waning hours of a beautiful sun drenched Caribe afternoon. We are drinking Pina Colada's with the innocence of the uninformed. We are now in a third world country with limited resources to information. Soon to become no access to information.
I slept fitfully during the night. The wind was picking up speed and intensity as the hours crept into morning. I opened the sliding glass door and retrieved our wet t-shirts and towels that laid on the patio chairs.
Joe went to the front lobby at 5am. The staff shook their heads. The kitchen staff was busy making breakfast for all the guests. It would open at 7am. Joe returned to our room. We were glued to CNN. Information? Little to none.
Joe and I had dozed back to sleep after spending most the night awake. A loud knocking on our door at 730AM caused us to bolt straight out of bed.
We were evacuating.
Wednesday October 19
We left on Tuesday for Chicago to spend the day before traveling on Wednesday to Cancun in the Quintana Roo area of Mexico. Also known as the Mayan Riviera on the Yucatan Peninsula.
We contacted our travel agency to get information on the storm Wilma, which was being reported on CNN and MSNBC as building to the largest and strongest hurricane ON RECORD.
No one knew anything. Weather is like that. Fickle and unpredicable.
I could not imagine what I would do on an "all inclusive" vacation hotel. How much can you eat and drink? I took along some books and sun tan lotion (HA!!!) and looked forward to laying on the beach, sipping exotic cocktails.
The extent of my Spanish consists of the following ... Ola...gracious, Amigo....and Eye Yi Yi....
I wanted to venture out into Cancun Proper and look into the Bull Fights (please no hate mail.) I thought that the flea market would be cool. We were to be there for three nights and four days and I hoped to be able to get off the "Riviera" section into the city and take pictures.
It was windy. The sea was choppy. The sky was ominous. When we arrived we were able to go the beach and prance around in the surf. We tried to run them out of liquor by ordering every exotic drink we could think of. We ate several times at two restaurants in the hotel.
Then we retired to watch the very late broadcast of the last game of the Astro Cardinal series.
I fell asleep very late. In my broken and restless dreams I heard the wind howling.
(Kisses to Joe (AOL Journal Editor) who tells me this story is MINE. AOL can use parts of it (if they want) because I wrote it here, but it is mine!!!)
I survived Hurricane Wilma.
Early in the summer Joe made reservations at an all inclusive hotel on Cancun for October 19th thru the 22nd. We shrugged off the danger of the tropical storm Wilma actually becoming a hurricane.
My sister had already been through Katrina and sooooo..........
I have the most incredible story to tell about the six days. We just arrived home (moments ago). I want to make sure I have the rights to my story and that I am protected.
I need to know that AOL will not step forward and say since I wrote it on their Journal Service, it belongs to them.
I need to know that I have some type of Copyright protection.
A Glory Glory Day
I just took off yesterday. Around 7am I grabbed the car keys and headed...west! Had no idea where I was going but knew there was a State park somewhere between here and there.
Close to my destination I came upon the most beautiful stretch of road. On both sides of the highway along the fence lines were these beautiful flowers! This had to be someone's labor of love. It was enchanting. And it lasted for about three miles.
I took a long hike at the park. I was almost the only one there. The silence was beautiful. I walked up on the largest mushrooms I have ever seen in my life. Someone had laid them in the middle of the path! They were the size of basketballs! They resembled giant marshmellows due to the sticks poked in them.
I realized I was very alone in the heart of a forest. I remembered Hansel and Gretel....I looked around to see if a magical cottage was somewhere on the edge of the tree lines.
Then I remembered The Blair Witch Project!
I walked out a lot faster than I walked in!
WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK - GREENWICH VILLAGE
One of the first adventures of my life took place the summer I graduated from grammar school in the late 1960's. As a reward, I traveled to New York City and stayed for several weeks with my Aunt and her family in Hollis, NY.
I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. New York City had to be the most exciting, stimulating, thrilling and dangerous place for a 14 year old girl.
My cousin Eileen, four years my elder, and had just graduated from high school. I adored her. She had a steady boyfriend Allen and a cool best friend named Mona Lisa (I kid you not). I was totally smitten with them and for those two weeks they absorbed me into their lives. I felt so grown up!
They showed me their New York. Which included the wild and wonderful Greenwich Village. We went to a place called Cafe Wha? Can you picture it? A little old country girl from the sticks at the Cafe Wha?
For fun, I found my first journal (the Bible) and this is what I wrote about that day
"......went and blew our minds. It was fantastic. The Wha? was sensational in every aspect! The stage was a horse shoe type and it has strobe lights around it they went crazy in the middle of it and the effect was maddening. I had a drink called a tiger we all had them and pretzels - cool beyond description."
And yes, there were pictures
When I tried to come up with some ideas for an image to photograph for the challenge this week I thought of finding a tall building that I climb and look down on Ft. Wayne. No go. I thought if I were in Kentucky I could find that Indian village of tee pees that are used as a road side motel! But I am not in Kentucky. I even went to the Fort in down town...but it was a fort, not a village. I was getting desperate...until I remembered that crazy wonderful day with kids so much older than myself accepting me as one of them. In Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village on a July day so many years ago.
* The band was called Rhinoceros and upon looking them up on the Web....The guy must be John Mars!!!
The other Round Robin participants..........
Karen...Musings from Mavarin
Betty...My Day My Interests
Kimberleigh...I Shaved my Legs For This?
Aunt Nub (Liz) Fool's Paradise
Maryanne...My feelings are real
Chris...It's all about me I think
Derek...Derek's Photo of the Day
Mary...Hunybea's Open Journal
Renee...Timeless Calligraphy Studio
Marie...Photographs & Memories
Robin...These are the days of our lives
I carry your heart
Because I have nothing to do, and only two more weeks to do it in, I went to the matinee today and saw In Her Shoes. It was wonderful.
What was especially touching, other than one of the characters hitting very close to home, was the e.e. cummings poem, I carry your heart...
I carry your heart with me
(I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it
(anywhere I go you go, my dear; and what ever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate
(for you are my fate, my sweet)
I want no world
(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life, which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)
I heard this poem not only with my ears, but with my heart. I was very melancholy leaving the theatre.
Doing the Dance of Joy
Received the phone call today that I have been waiting for. I passed the drug test and the back ground check! I'm good to go to resume working for XXX.
My benefits are reinstated and I loose no seniority! I'll have a company car and the absolute best....a gas card! You do not know what you've got till it's gone!
My job will not be the same assignment I had in Hell City (nor in Hell City but Ft. Wayne), but a return to the position I had in Lexington.
I am so happy! I start October 24th. Joe and I have a trip planned for the near future, so the 24th was the best option.
Today is Joe's Birthday! Now we have two celebrations rolled into one tonight! Thank you everyone for your good wishes and positive thoughts. When I quit the job in August I was very appreciative of the kind words and support.
You guys are the best.
Kites in the trees at St. James
Last year after I attended the St. James Court Art Show I came away inspired and full of ideas to create some folk art of my own. I began to search for old photographs. I thought that I could make shadow boxes of "mixed media" as good, if not better than what I had viewed at the Art Show. I went to numerous Flea Markets and antique malls in my quest. I actually found some very interesting photos. To look at a person some how discarded is sad. Yet, there is a new beginning, a second chance to live, in the art. It encourages speculation about the life of that lost soul.
I lost motivation in short time. My own circumstances demanded consideration in regards to the future. That future at the time did not involve creating interesting shadowboxes.
A year later, I found myself at the Art Show once again fascinated with the simplicity of the boxes and the powerful aura's surrounding them. Discarded souls.
I encountered discarded souls of a living nature all over Louisville during the weekend.
Three separate times during the course of a 12 hour period I was asked for money. Once at a fast food joint as I was walking back to my car. I handed over a $1.
At the Octoberfest festivities on Fourth Street Live. I handed over all my change in my pocket.
At a convenient store a little later on, while buying lottery tickets for Powerball, Omega and I encountered a young kid in the parking lot. "Have you got 74 cents?" he asked, "Its all I need to get home." Peggy turned to me and I handed over a dollar. "More", she demanded. I added another two bucks. She gave it to the young man.
Once we got back into the car she said, "Since New Orleans......K. (her husband) says you never know when the person you are helping could be Jesus. I think there is God in all of us anymore. No matter what."