Katrina Still Ain’t Got Nothing On Me

, , , , , | Hopeless | June 29, 2018

(It’s 2005, and I’ve gone south to volunteer in a shelter after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. One of the shelter residents is elderly and frail, and we are able to get her temporarily lodged in a local nursing home while we locate her family. She is from way down in the southwest part of the state, almost a hundred miles away. I am on the phone to a nurse at the home, explaining.)

Me: “We’re trying to find a way to get her home; unfortunately, she doesn’t have transport, and her family can’t come and get her. I’m going to be calling some of the churches in [Her Hometown] to see if we can arrange something.”

Nurse: “You’re at [Shelter], aren’t you?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

Nurse: “Is [Deputy] there? Tell him to come talk to me.”

(There are a couple of local law enforcement personnel providing security at the shelter. The deputy in question is, in fact, on duty that day, and I call him to the phone. He is the size of a small truck, has a shaved head and a grim face, and looks like he eats live alligators for breakfast. He puts the phone to his ear and…)

Deputy: *in a deep bass rumble* “Hello?” *suddenly his expression changes, as does his tone of voice* “Yes, Mamma.”

(And that is how a little old lady got a ride home courtesy of the local sheriff’s office.)

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Katrina Ain’t Got Nothing On Me

, , , , | Hopeless | June 27, 2018

(I’m volunteering in a shelter after Hurricane Katrina. One of the residents is a frail, elderly woman; she is all alone and possibly suffering from dementia. She is barely able to tell the medical staff her name, and any paperwork and records were lost when she was evacuated a second time — before Hurricane Rita hit, many shelters housing Katrina evacuees were moved because they were in the path of the second hurricane. I just happen to be getting a cup of coffee in the staff room when the medical officer is lamenting to the shelter manager that they are getting nowhere trying to find her family.)

Me: “Are you talking about Mrs. [Common Last Name]?”

Doctor: “Yes. Nobody seems to know anything about her except that another resident thinks she may be from [Mid-Sized Town on the coast].”

(Like me, the doctor is from a major city, but I now live in a fairly rural area. I have an idea and Google [Mid-Sized Town]’s City Hall. The receptionist at City Hall doesn’t know our lost lady, but she gives me the number to the local senior services office. The woman who answers the phone there almost screams when I tell her my errand.)

Woman: “You have Mrs. [Common Last Name]? My Lord, her son is frantic! She’s been missing for almost two weeks!”

Doctor: *somewhat later* “What an incredible piece of luck, that woman knowing Mrs. [Common Last Name]. What if she hadn’t?”

Me: “Then I would have started calling every single church in [Mid-Sized Town] until I found someone who did.”

(I’m not exactly Sherlock Holmes; you just have to know where to look.)

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