“I’m scared,” my friend Janet told me.
I’m scared for her.
Janet lives in a suburb of Houston, a city people are trying to leave. She’s staying put. Her elderly in-laws are living with her now. They lost their home in New Orleans to flooding from Katrina.
Now Rita looks like it may slam into Janet’s area. Her street never floods, but she’s worried about the fragile-rooted pine trees in the front yard. Will they withstand the 150-mph winds? She does live near a river. It’s never flooded her neighborhood. Hopefully it won’t now.
Evacuation just wasn’t a possibility. And looking at the lines of cars leaving Houston, running out of gas and running out of time, I don’t blame her.
She thinks she has enough food and water. Batteries were gone at the store. A friend is Fed Exing her some. Hopefully they will get there tomorrow. Janet was running to the store to buy cat food when I called.
I asked if she needed anything. She gave a little laugh and said, “I forgot to get peanut butter.”
What about chocolate? Chocolate is always good, she agreed.
Janet and I have been friends for years. We met over the internet. We’ve never met in person. She’s a huge fan, always talks up my books to friends. She’s one of those rare people, genuine, sweet and caring. Janet has this adorable Texas accent. She says "sugah" instead of "sugar." We almost met a couple of years ago when I was going to visit Houston and give a talk to a reader’s group. But life and the job got in the way and I couldn’t make it.
I’m sending her a big Fed Ex package I hope will arrive by tomorrow. It contains chocolate, peanut butter, a flashlight and batteries, hand sanitizer so she won’t waste water washing her hands, cat treats, crackers and a Stephanie Bond novel. Janet loves to read.
I’m also sending prayers. Those won’t be sent Fed Ex.
I sure hope the prayers prove more effective than the Fed Ex package. She’s really scared.
So am I.