A Day In The Life, After The Tornado

Here’s the way it works these days in Joplin:

In the morning, I teared up over an obituary in Thursday’s Joplin Globe.  It was an obituary of a tornado victim, a nine-year-old little boy who, like one of my own once-nine-year-old little boys, loved Pokemon and had “the dirt and scrapes” that come with being a nine-year-old little boy.

I later went to Target to pick up a few things. I ran into the father of a boy I coached ten years ago, a boy who now works at my favorite Joplin restaurant and has a wife and two kids. They lived in the apartments by Dillon’s Market on 20th Street.  Lost everything. No renter’s insurance because they had little left over to spend on such “luxuries.”  Remember, he works at a local restaurant.  Just getting started.

The father said he was grateful for FEMA, who is helping out his son.  FEMA, just one voice of the American people in this tragedy.  Yes, I said, I’m thankful for FEMA, too.

It turns out that the father of the boy I coached so long ago was also a coach these days.  He coaches soccer for a Christian youth group.  He had just attended the funeral of a nine-year-old little boy he coached, a boy who played his last soccer game the Saturday before life changed in Joplin.  A little boy whose obituary I read in the Joplin Globe.

In the aisle, in the middle of the store, we shared some tears.  Said goodbye.

9 Comments

  1. What a tragedy. I’m glad FEMA is helping. Even with insurance, those companies do anything to not pay out. 😦

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    • ansonburlingame

       /  June 3, 2011

      Spinny,

      Care to provide any examples of such in Joplin right now. I know of MANY cases where insurance companies have paid more than what the policy calls for TODAY IN JOPLIN, many. And I can provide name, rank and serial numbers (except for anonimity) for INDIVIDUAL CASES that I am seeing all over town today. And I have been out asking about for such information and have YET to hear a single complaint, yet.

      I suspect such might happen and have been on the lookout for same. But have yet to find a single case. So “show me” is my challenge to your allegation. And I hope you report such cases to the attorney general who is also on the lookout for such scam artists according to press releases.

      Anson

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      • Naah. I’ll concede. You’re probably right. You did the heavy lifting for your side. Good for you. I was just looking at past disasters.

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  2. These are the times when we need government. A good, working government. Not one that spends it’s days arguing about gay marriage and pot smoking.
    I can truly relate to your sadness. I have my two grandkids with me since they lost everything there too. They are 6 & 10 years old, and both lost good friends of the same age.
    Many heartaches will never heal.

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  3. I can’t imagine the heartache with every step, encounter, and around every corner of one’s day.

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  4. Stories like these remind me of how far we’ve come since the old days. As a child of Great Depression parents I was so struck by a Ron Howard movie, Cinderella Man that its images have stayed iconically in my mind.

    The boxer James J. Braddock (played by Russell Crowe) and his family damn near starved before his come-back. They were down to their last apple at one point. One could dismiss such images as Hollywood I suppose, but because of my parents I happen to know it was all quite real.

    Just imagine if the EF 5 tornado had hit Joplin in 1931. There was no FEMA then, and Herbert Hoover was daily dressed to the nines and dining on fine china in the White House, desperately pretending there was no crisis.

    Yes, we have indeed improved on the old days.

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  5. ansonburlingame

     /  June 3, 2011

    To all,

    Absolutely, GOOD FOR FEMA. I agree completely.

    But now for the hundred million dollar question. How should this country PAY for FEMA?

    My only point is that if we cannot pay a few hundred million for the good work of FEMA OURSELVES (not “other people’s money as is deficit spending) then I submit we are far less great as a nation than we might think. If we cannot find a few hundred million out of $3.5 TRILLION this year alone, then shame on us. It is all a matter of real priorities. And prudence CAN be very compassionate.

    Anson

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  6. Life is too short and too hard. I have no solution to that. It just is, and sometimes it makes me sad.

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