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One of Many

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Have you ever watched a newscast on t.v. about hurricane victims? Did they show any of the hundreds of thousands of people that were victims just after their houses were destroyed? I bet they even might have interviewed a few, asking for their feelings or what they were doing while it happened. Newscasts never get the whole picture, though. All they show is some family of three that used to be four, and it says how they have to cope with what they've got. When the news shows those blippits, the heartless people change the channel, thinking that they'll tough it out. Those with shallow feelings will think, “oh, they must be so hurt in this tough time.” They have no idea. The select few who have been there and done that don't want to remember, and those are the ones that cry silently for the others that had to go through what they did.



I watched KOMO 4 News the day of hurricane Katrina, and I cried when they showed the disaster that it had struck with. The scene around me quickly faded as I had a flashback from when I was one of many victims. We were a family of a father, mother, two older brothers in their teens and one little girl, about age 5, me. Our dad was in the emergency room, and the rest of us were clinging to each other in a huddle, maybe because they thought it would go away, like a bad dream. We had not moved from our spot that we had been shown to by a paramedic, which was under a tall oak tree, uprooted now.



A news reporter walked over to them, and asked the mother first how she was feeling after this terrible accident. The mom looked up from where she was holding her daughter. Her eyes were red and tear-stricken, her nose ran, and her hair was tangled. She looked directly into the camera and said,



“If you had to ask that question in this kind of situation, you need help. I thought it would be obvious.” The reporter looked at the cameraman after a pause, speechless.



At that moment I slowly climbed to my feet, and spoke to the reporter myself. One of my brothers was behind me, gently holding my shoulders. “Miss, I'm not trying to be rude. My mommy says rude is bad. But, don't you think that my family deserves some time together?” I paused. “Alone? We're going through a real bad booboo right now, and I think my mommy doesn't want anyone around.” The reporter's eyes teared up almost instantly, and she nodded. Without another word, she and her cameraman trudged away, avoiding debris that had blown away in the sandy beach.


As they left, I looked up at the older of my brothers, whose name is Tom, and I asked him a question. “Will Daddy come home soon? Until then, who will make eggo's in the morning?” For the sake of innocence, that put a smile on Tom's face. He bent down, scooped me up, and told me that he would make my eggo's in the morning, just the way Daddy did.


Just then, the younger of my brothers said he was hungry, and he wondered if there was any food under the little tent that had been set up for victims like ourselves. As we started to head over to the covered table and chairs, my mommy picked me up gently and cradled me in her arms. She whispered quietly in my ear so that no one else could hear what she said,



“Remember this always not as a disaster, but as an opportunity. A chance to start over for the whole family. So do just that, love. Start your life over and make it a good one, no matter what kind of tragedy comes your way.” My vision got blurry as I wondered what she meant, and I started seeing white spots that filled my field of vision. The last thing I remember from that memory was my mother's smile, warm and comforting and always there for me.


As I was pulled back to reality, I was sitting on my couch, watching a hurricane newscast. Some hotshot young reporter was telling the camera about a family that was hit with a hard blow and their house was only a cement foundation left. Even parts of that were breaking away. Another silent tear crept it's way down my aged cheek as I thought about how the families were left with nothing but each other. Making a quick decision, I went over to my old white corded phone hanging on the wall, and made a quick call. After it had ended, I had officially donated all of my money from investments, my mansion, and belongings to hurricane victims all over the world. The person I told this to practically cried with joy, and that's what I wanted. “I made a difference,” I thought. “I gave people a chance to start over with their lives, and I'm happy.”


Right at that moment, I thought I could die, and I would die happy.



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