Takin' it to the streets of Joplin...
Random notes about Joplin:
The city has been under a boil order now since the tornado. This means that in restaurants, you will not be able to order anything from a soda fountain. At Wendy's today, the employees were pouring us Diet Coke from a 2-liter bottle from the grocery store. Restaurants pass out bottled water - or no water at all...drink choices are limited, based on what canned pop they have. Speaking of Wendy's, I managed to sneak in a few minutes today and grab a Frosty...and it never tasted so good.
Storms keep rolling through here, which is wreaking havoc with the rescue operation...lightning was all around us, and we'd have to suspend operations until the storms passed. I have a poncho, but the wind was blowing so hard, the rain was coming up from the bottom of my poncho. I kinda', sorta', look like a drowned rat.
Okay. Forget kinda', sorta'. I really DO look like a drowned rat. Disasters are not a place for wanna-be beauty queens.
While waiting out the storms, I amused myself by witnessing two fellow Red Cross volunteers do an inadvertent Abbott and Costello comedy act - set to the tune of "Who's On First?" Only, in their case, it was, "Where's Our Car?" They were being totally serious, but I was busting a gut on the inside - and when they finally DID find the missing car, I laughed so hard, I cried. When you don't have TV, you have to make do with the simple amusements in life.
I am amazed (and I shouldn't be) by the outpouring of generosity and support I've seen here...It's brought me to tears to see the cars, trucks, utility workers, vans, etc from all over the country, rolling in to help.
Today, hundreds of cars slowly crept down the street in front of our Aid Station (as traffic is moving very slow - no stop lights, and LOTS of cars makes for slow-going), and they would roll down their windows and yell, "Thank you, Red Cross!" I felt so humbled - and wishing we could do even more than what we have.
Wishing we could wave a magic wand and make everything better. Wishing all the debris would be removed in one scoop - and houses would mysteriously re-appear where piles of unrecognizable wood and metal are now heaped. It reinforces the notion that sometimes, when you've lost everything, a simple act of kindness - such as a bottle of water, or a hot meal - can mean everything.
Did I mention the traffic? Oh, I did already? Well, I'll mention it again - because it's crazy. People have driven in, and they mean well, but it can be very frustrating for the search-and-rescue crews and other first responders who can't get where they need to be because of the thousands of cars on the street.
Speaking of first responders, the local law enforcement guys here are wonderful. They have to be a bit shell-shocked themselves, and yet they've all been so responsive and helpful. We're still hearing ambulance sirens and police sirens at all hours - it's almost become background noise.
One last note, and then I'm headed to bed early tonight. On the wall in the bathroom of the boys' dorm where I'm staying, there is a sign that says, "Please clean up after yourselves after using the bathroom. And please do not pee on the walls."
I'm just sayin' that you will never find that posted in a girl's bathroom.
And that's all I'm sayin' about that.