Preparing for Inclement Weather

July 6th, 2007 by Nick Jacobs Leave a reply »

When the crawl moves across your television screen, and you hear a dull, duck-like buzzer sound coming from the speakers, it’s a signal to look up to see where the severe weather —tornados, floods or blizzard conditions— will be hitting next. The National Weather Service lets us know when it’s coming… minute by minute.

On the 4th of July, we rode around the Allegheny River on my kid’s boat as I checked moving radar maps on my cell phone, but as a kid, we weren’t so well tuned in, and we were more dependent on our instincts.

In a discussion with one of my board members today, as I described some inclement weather of sorts that was approaching, he laughed and said, "But before I go after those varmints, I’m gonna sing you this song."

At first I hesitated and was a little concerned that he had lost it until I asked, "Gene Autry?" "Yep," he said, "He’d jump on his horse and say those famous words." For those of you who are half a century too young to know who that was, Google Gene Autry. He was a famous movie, radio and television cowboy who looked a little like my Uncle Bill… or anyone’s Uncle Bill, for that matter.

A review of one his movies described this scene: "There was a bust-up-the-joint fight and a furious stagecoach chase at the end, and then Gene sings the title song When the Bloom Is On the Sage." Yes sir, that about sums it up: Punch ‘em out, shoot ‘em up… and then sing. Those were the days when macho-manhood and the arts worked well together. Now, our society is all about bust-up-the-joint and take no prisoners. We see it everyday in all aspects of life. The unspoken rules have become really unspoken and, in most cases, completely ignored. The lines of ethical consideration are so blurred they remind you of a child’s finger painting efforts. What ever happened to Rules of Civility?

Well, we are not in a position to discuss varmints here, but we are in a position to discuss the challenges of inclement weather. It’s something that we all need to prepare for… because we know it’s just a matter of time until the blue clouds move away and the thunder heads move in from the West.

It’s not enough to have a flashlight, batteries and candles ready. You need to have a commitment. Thirty years ago when the Johnstown Flood hit, I was a volunteer. I worked at first aid centers and shelters for the first few days and then moved into the ugly volunteer job of cleaning up mud and debris.

Well, that experience has made me mindful of the forces that surround us on this earth and has helped me to realize that they can reap great havoc on our existence, and, like the flood, are capable of wiping out our possessions. But the reason that we are still here was not because of our stuff, it was because of our spirit, our willingness to stick with it, and our commitment to creating a future that will be better than our past.

Nick_autreyOf course, there will always be varmints and thunderheads, and all forms of pestilence that can be brought down on us, but we need to smile, look directly ahead, and prove that we have the power, the will and the determination to withstand anything that is thrown our way. That’s what made it all work in ’77: attitude. If we get knocked down, we get back up, dust ourselves off, and get on that horse again.

Like Gene used to profess:

I’m Back in the Saddle Again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again

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