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What Would You Take with You?

By Daddy James

[Editor's note: This essay was posted by the author at his FetLife blog on September 11, the day before Hurricane Ike began to slam into the Gulf Coast.]

0530 am: I awake to a BOOM. I think it's just a bad dream from Iraq (happens sometimes, PTSD is a motherfucker). I feel my kitten lying next to me and know I'm OK. Then the second BOOM. My first thought was that my son had left the storeroom door open and the door was banging in the wind. I got up and looked out and saw the door closed and secure and then I heard the third BOOM. Great, looks like some of the army's artillery from the local base must be off range and landing in our housing area. Then I looked to the right . . . flames are shooting into the air. There is a house about three doors up from ours burning like an inferno now. I apparently said 'Oh fuck' and kitten asked what was wrong (she thought we had just woken up late). I told her there was a house on fire as I was calling 911. She went out the back door and then came in; I had slipped on jeans and my boots and was off to make sure everyone had gotten out OK. We went into the back yard together and saw that the police were on scene, and I decided that since the authorities were there I would stay back and let them do their jobs. The way people were moving, it appeared that everyone had gotten out, and the neighbors in the blazing duplex were removing their stuff from their house. I held kitten in front of me and asked her, "What would you take with you?"

I didn't realize how much my words would effect her, or me for that matter. It was just a random thought.

Once the fire trucks finally arrived (it seemed like forever), we watched a bit more and offered a family the use of our spare bedroom to lay their small child down (it was early in the morning after all). Then we went back in to wake up our boys. The entire morning as well as the neighborhood was turned upside down, and things weren't going right for most of the day. We found out later that the authorities found a body inside the house that burned. It still hasn't been released whether the body was there because of the fire or before it. The news in this area really doesn't have much info about it to release yet. The residence belonged to a soldier, whose captain and first sergeant were in the area earlier today. I still don't know if the body was of the soldier or of someone else. Really doesn't matter at this point. The point is . . .

What would you take with you?

Why do we allow the petty, childish arguments and back-biting ruin our communities? Think about this, what happens if tomorrow you die or something else horrible happens to you? Is this how you want to be known? Is this how you want to be remembered? If we live each day like it may be the last . . . and we stop these childish antics, our community will be that much stronger, that much more worthwhile. I challenge each of you to drop the childish BS (if you are involved in it) and just . . . be. Just be happy, be healthy, be strong, be free, but most importantly, be alive.

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About the Author


Hurricanes Gustav and Ike issue.

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