Me & Hurricane Irene
by Sarah Lasry Leizerowski
Yesterday I met face to face with Hurricane Irene, we were up close and personal, and all I can say is IT WAS SO NICE TO MEET HER!
I had heard about Irene on Thursday, reporters warning us that she was the biggest hurricane that the east coast had ever greeted on our shores in the last 100 years. Understandably, I was not looking forward to meeting Irene, yet I started preparing furiously for her imminent visit none the less.
Like the good Jewish hostess that I am (always overly prepared for surprise company), I started making my list of things that I needed to have on hand in case Irene decided to pop by my house for a visit.
That beautiful sunny Friday afternoon, was instead spent running around town for flashlights, batteries, soft package tuna & peanut butter food supplies, and cases of water for my Motzei Shabbat/Sunday guest. Fortunately for me, I was eating out all the meals that Shabbat and could endure the hours standing on line at my local walmart.
My hospitality knew no bounds, I even went so far as to pack a little emergency guest bag for my family, just in case Irene’s social call was a little too much for us to handle. I was more than willing to leave her the whole house if she were to decide, this is where she would most like to land.
Shabbat came and my family and I were prepared! And I mean R-E-A-D-Y for Irene! At the Shabbat table my husband & friends did not believe Irene would come on Shabbat, and I was lovingly mocked for my need to overly prepare.
As we napped Shabbat afternoon to the sounds of heavy rain and wind, all I could think was –Irene are you on the way? What do you have in store for everyone? Will your visit be short and sweet or long and troublesome?
I fell fitfully asleep making lists in my head of all the things that could go wrong during her visit. You see I am a Worst-Case-Scenario kind of girl ( this way I think, I can never be too disappointed and always happily grateful when things work out for the best case)
Motzei Shabbos came and Irene was definitely on her way. With heavy sheets of rain falling and wind blowing 30 mph, our inconvenient company was loudly announcing her arrival. As I looked out my kitchen window, at my lake front view, my heart started pumping at the sight of waves of water lapping at the edge of my street. Oh Irene – Why must you come visit me, go find another hostess pretty please!
On Sunday morning when we woke up, the lake started rising and my husband panicked and got into “keep our visitor out” mode (he single –handedly brought large pieces of furniture and heavy seforim up to the attic, climbed into our very narrow crawl space to get our sub-pump into place, emptied out the garage freezers and moved everything to higher ground) I decided – you know what LET HER COME!
No I am not Crazy – I just realized at that moment of her impending arrival – that WORST CASE Scenario is – we lose our STUFF. Yes it will be hard in the beginning but it is JUST STUFF! Boruch Hashem my daughter will be safe, my husband will be safe – what else is important? My Prada Purse? My Ethan Allen Couch – who am I kidding? Other than my family and what I could fit into one waterproof duffel bag – nothing was really that important.
You see it seemed, that where everyone else in Lakewood got away pretty easy and thought that hurricane Irene missed their addresses, we the “lucky ones” who lived on the low end of the lake, got her unwelcomed visit head on. ( In fact – we became a tourist attraction and proof that Irene had really stopped by)
So as I saw the lake fill my front yard and make its way into my back yard I was calm and composed. Instead I went to my neighbor, the Eisnbergs, and I said let’s have ourselves a pizza party – and we did because unlike others we still gratefully had electricity. Gam Zu Latovah!
And when people we barely knew from shul (Mr. Glatzer) called and ran over with not 1 but 2 subpumps to help us keep out the water that was rushing in from the lake– resulting in what ended up being very minimal damage instead of major – I thought and said out loud – Chasdei Hashem – It was so Nice to Meet You Irene! (but please don’t come again!)
I recently found out that there was some tragedy to our community as a result of Irene – my thoughts and prayers are with those families. The chesed and unbelievable selfless act of the man who tried to save the boy that ran into the electric wire…. words cannot describe.