when the storm blows you together…

August 30, 2011

post hurricane truth

My PTSD sort of sets in at the mere mention of a tropical storm. I grew up in sunny south Florida and lived in Homestead when Hurricane Andrew rolled through all those years ago. So much has changed since then, I live 1,000 miles away, I have babies of my own to protect, I know that storms, even in all their destruction, bring people together…and when there is fear in your heart, every invitation of love is a good idea.

It started with a food conversation, I guess storms and food have that one thing in common. We decided that at 5pm all who wanted to would gather, Jen (the mayor of the street commune and neighborhood)  would make her famous curry soup and naan. Yes, six batches of naan should be enough, although there really can never be too much naan.  I spent the day running to help with naan, making breakfast casserole and puppy chow while kids played their own version of monopoly with tiny stuffed animals. There were lots of rules to follow.

When the wind picked up and the sky grew dark, the naan and Irene worked their magic and 30 people, (neighbors, dear friends and family who just happened to be visiting, grandparents seeking higher ground, etc.) gathered in one house to ride out the storm together. Somehow happy chaos found her way into the storm…along with some piano playing, a shot of vodka and the holy breakin’ of igniting glow sticks. Everyone bringing their own light in some way.

I looked around and wished everyone had this sort of community, because the truth is life is full of all kinds of storms…what if each one were greeted with such love? I imagine we all would be doing a helluva lot better. We woke up to lots of trees down, some on our street, damaging the houses of the people we care about and live with. It seemed like the only perfect response was to do what we knew from the night before. So we set a long beautiful table with linens and flowers, right in the middle of the street and all the destruction…and ate naan cakes.

We all decided that when the power is gone you should just empty your refrigerator and eat like kings! The morning turned into day, someone brought out Balderdash and beer, the kids played in the street and I chalked what I know to be true over and over again…if ever there was a perfect storm, it was this one.

4 Responses to “when the storm blows you together…”

  1. Sarah Says:

    We did this in my neighborhood too (all gathered in a circle in one front yard for an outdoor meal rather than a table in the street, which I love!)…and heard the older neighbors tell stories of when they the same thing for Isabelle before we even lived here. They remember who made what dish 8 years ago, and it is neat to think about remembering this week 8 years from now. After the firepit was lit, we found a forgotten bag of marshmallows in our pantry late last night and even though there was only one for each kid in the neighborhood, you’d think those kids had won the lottery! Our plan is to do communal dinners every night til the power comes back on…everyone contributing whatever they can, plenty of sweets and beer! I have definitely been reminded in th elast 4 days of how many blessings we have and what a community we have in our neighborhood and in our friendships…odd that it takes natural disaster and property damage to remind me and I can’t always conjure it when everything is running smoothly…

  2. Sam Bernstein Says:

    Dear Kindness
    After reading and seeing pictures of your neighbor hood and how everyone took part in looking out for one another and caring for each other brings a special bond that can never be broken. Every parent loves there children and grand children and their spouse . And even though we have never met. I am so thankful for you and everyone in the neighbor for looking out for one another. It would be so great if everyone had a. Neighbors like you and Sarah .

  3. Kim Says:

    I love your story of kindness and food and community. Thank you for sharing it.

  4. […] beer tastings and girl power tea/tattoo parties, we celebrated kids birthdays and had one magical hurricane that left us holding the street (and each other) together in a deeper […]

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