The Hurricane Is Coming: This Time I'm Not Evacuating My Life

Updated: Sep 1

Last weekend I held the second annual Mother-Daughter Clothing Swap in our backyard. We hosted the first one a year-and-a-half ago, just before the first wave of the COVID Pandemic.

In January we held it inside, taking for granted that this was normal and okay.

Then, in March of that year, everything changed. Inside living became verboten and, if we gathered at all, we scrambled to find ways to socialize outside in the fresh air where the germs would not spread as easily.

We are now chugging up the long mountain of COVID’s Delta Variant in a shaky little gondola, puttering up the top with no idea when we will get there. We have the return of the mask mandate and an alarming number of COVID cases among the unvaccinated and vaccinated. School is in person and we’re going ahead with much of normal life as if we’re going to be okay, even though we have no idea what the height of this wave will look like.

At the same time that all of this is going on, Hurricane Ida is raging on the gulf coast. My partner Nancy is from New Orleans and most of her family and many of her friends live there. She is in constant communication with them about the impending storm and their evacuation status.

Nancy said that growing up her family evacuated many times for different hurricanes. Often the efforts of shuttering up the house, packing the car, and driving several hours north or east were for naught. The storm passed over and their evacuation had been unnecessary.

Yesterday Nancy’s brother sent his two teenage kids and their grandparents (his parents) to Dallas to escape the storm. They will play it safe and hunker down in this place away from the storm where they can wait out the danger of it.

Nancy’s brother would stay put with the two older kids and hope for the best. He, like many of Nancy’s friends, will shutter up his home, make sure he has enough food and water, fuel up the generators, and have faith.

The clothing swap yesterday felt like the last hurrah before people start evacuating away from COVID. I was aware that this might be the last gathering for a long time. The feeling I had yesterday as fifteen mothers and daughters gathered in my yard, stepping into the basement room with all the doors and windows open to try on clothes, was a s