I’m not through talking about my flood experience – not by a long shot. Yesterday I realized, as I was leaving my crew of workers in the afternoon, that three of the most vilified segments of our population are the three that showed up in my hour of need. The media onslaught at these groups rails relentless and pours all members into the same disparaging bucket. The uninformed, unemployed, and unhinged jump on the bandwagon of loud rhetoric and condescending attitudes. Even though each of the impugned categories of human beings sits accused of heinous crimes against the rest of us, they never give up and they continue to press on and they always show up. Who am I talking about?
Who will be there AFTER the shit hits the fan?
The Federal Government, in general, for one. The Department of Homeland Security more specifically. FEMA exactly, showed up on the Saturday after my flood, just one day after my flood, and started my claim. It’s amazing to me that a department of our government had a physical person on site, my disaster site, immediately and while storms were still pounding us and street lights were out and roads were closed. The adjuster accommodated me, when I was late arriving at my own crash site, by rearranging his visits. The adjuster did 90% of the work getting my claim started by taking pictures which could be translated into a possessions list. Over the next few days, the adjuster picked up the phone each time I called. Additionally, I received money from the FEMA Disaster group which set up an office near my house. They came out, took notes, and approved a rental assistance check the next day. Big government will never change but it fortunately changed me by being there.
Big government is the enemy until you need a friend.
Waiting in the wings was the Church. The Christian Church. The Episcopal Church in the name of St. Isidore. The Warden texted me after the flood, asking about my welfare. I texted back that I was deluged. He asked what the church could do. I was skeptical that they could do anything, would do anything. After the fellow FEMA left, St. Isidore arrived and they did do something. A small group came and did what the no-show remediation companies were supposed to do. The professionals never showed up. The for-profit companies never called. But there was the unsolicited, not-for-profit St. Isidore. By Memorial Day 2016, all the soggy furniture was on the lawn, the bottom four feet of sheet-rock was cut cleared, and the clammy carpet was pulled out, rolled up, and thrown down with the rest of the steaming mess on my messy front lawn. Then, like a vision of angels, they were gone! Gone until three weeks later when they were back in force, two dozen, who went through the house and yard to assist with the massive cleanup of the house grounds, garage, barn, animal buildings and pastures. I may never be a Christian but I will from now on be a believer.
I don’t believe in God but I love him/her.
Following FEMA and the fellowship came the fellows who nobody seems to want, the immigrants. They came in after everybody left and are with me to this day. Father and son working side by side, putting insulation in the walls, covering it with sheet-rock, painting it with a double coat, and then tiling the entire house. Yesterday, wife and daughter arrived to begin an intense scrubbing.
Give me your tired your poor, because the rich and rested never showed up.
None of us deserve anything and I certainly didn’t deserve this. I am not bitter about fate’s flood, or friend and family’s absence, probably to a great extent, because of these three groups who showed up when I was in need.
The shit will hit the fan one day for each of us. Who will be standing with you then? Look around. How did you refer to your saviors before the deluge? How now? Custom love is my nomenclature.