Three years ago tonight ... ok, not exactly tonight, but the last Sunday in August, 2005, I sat on the old back deck in my recliner, riveted to the television, flipping between FOX, CNN, and MSNBC.
Which is exactly what I did tonight: sit on the new deck, riveted to the television, flipping between FOX, CNN, and MSNBC.
(Man I miss that deck. Screened in? check. Covered roof on not one, but two levels? check. Couch, recliner, television, hammock, coffee table, and countless other seating devices on upper level? check. Hot tub on lower level? check. Kind of sad when the greatest deck you'll ever have, you attain when you're in your mid to late 20s. Actually what am I saying, that's gotta be every kid's dream ...)
Anyways, the reason for my attention focus? Simple. The great city of New Orleans faced imminent danger from Hurricane Katrina in the morning.
In the last 15 years, we have witnessed destruction in this country. We have seen the Northridge quake in Los Angeles. The attack in Oklahoma City. The fall of the Twin Towers. And closer to home, the destruction of Greensburg by a tornado.
But nothing, nothing, like what unfolded that fateful Monday morning, as Katrina came ashore ... then turned its wrath directly on New Orleans, raising Lake Pontchartrain to uncontrollable levels ... and ultimately the collapse of the 17th Street and Canal Street levees that unleashed arguably the single most destructive and altering week in American history since either 9/11 or Pearl Harbor.
I don't really have a point, other than to say, I hope God spares this great city this time. The current models at 10:20pm the night before, have the hurricane heading west of Lake Pontchartrain, west of the areas hardest hit three years ago. In the great tradition of that great city, here's raising a glass to hoping for the best, to believing that the rebuilt levees will hold, that the pumps will work, that somehow, someway, the progress and rebuilding won't be set back by even one uplifted board.
And, since all I've written about lately being politics, here's two more raised glasses to the incredibly classy gesture not only of John McCain, to give away the one night of the convention, which was devoted to the hard core conservative base of the party he still needs to wrap up, given up in the name of national unity in a time of crisis ... but also to the smart, informed decision by Barack Obama and the DNC to suspend the "war room" and any campaigning until the RNC resumes normal operations.
Some things actually matter more than Convention Week(s). (Wow, did I just type that? I missed my first Chiefs game in years to watch a freaking speech, and I just admitted something is bigger than the Convention(s)?!?! Wow.)
Anyways, that thing? The safety of a great American city. Its refreshing to see both candidacies grasp it, and place the greater good of the country over a 1 or 2 point potential "bounce" from night one. Especially when Zogby has McCain up two, and CNN has Obama up one. Its why I am perfectly calm regarding this election cycle. The worst case scenario is what? Status quo with McCain, an exciting new direction with Obama? Two decent people who won't disgrace the office seeking to leave their mark on the nation. Refreshing. Inspiring. Yeah, it'll get negative, it already has ... but at least this cycle, we've got two guys who get it when it comes to what really counts.
Which just continues to make my decision on who to back more and more difficult to reach ...