The forecast was so dismal last Thursday that I called my travel agent from my office in Chicago and asked her to re-book me for a return flight to Seattle on Friday, instead of Thursday night. The National Weather Service was calling for severe winds with gusts of hurricane strength.
I returned on a bumpy flight to the Emerald City and landed after the storm system had moved on to find my home without power. My wife and daughter fared well, and with a gas fireplace and hot water heater, along with plenty of camping gear, we managed to survive quite well and had some fun along the way. My family was thrilled to find me cooking up coffee, eggs and hot dogs on the propane camp stove at sun-up on Saturday morning.
Thankfully, our electrical power has been restored, but there are still hundreds of thousands of people without any power or heat. Many have branches or whole trees -- uprooted majestic douglas firs and cedars -- through their windows and rooftops. Hundreds of people are living in shelters, and people are suffering. Our prayers go out to those who here who are still suffering hardships, and I am reminded that as difficult as things have been this past week in the Pacific Northwest, there are still many on the gulf coast who have yet to reclaim the lives they left behind after Katrina.