Tags: Reflections | Big | Wind | Named | Frances

Reflections on a Big Wind Named Frances

Wednesday, 08 September 2004 12:00 AM

I got out, moving into the rectory at St. Joan of Arc church a few miles away in downtown Boca Raton, where just one priest was in residence. As the former sacristan there I figured I might be of some help if things got too bad.

We had a lot of trees go down, especially the huge banyans that tower above the landscape with gigantic circumferences and barely any root systems to anchor them. Sometime shortly after I moved into the rectory, the power went south. With temperatures in the high 90s outside, we found ourselves sweltering in the dark while listening to the winds howl and the rain beat down in torrents.

This went on until I ventured outside Sunday, drove home and discovered I still had a house and all of my trees were standing. There was a lot of debris, which my community's lawn service showed up early Monday and promptly removed before mowing the lawn. This was done voluntarily and efficiently by the owner of the lawn service and his dedicated Guatemalan workers doing back-breaking work we Americans believe is beneath us.

I watched one of these men kneeling and picking up leaves one by one where the leaf blower couldn't be used. He looked up at me and smiled – happy to be doing more than his job. He is of course one of those immigrants a lot of Americans scorn – he is also made of the same stuff that drove Americans in times gone by to cross the continent in rickety Conestoga wagons to build a nation. God bless him and all the others like him.

And while we're at it, God bless Howard Adkins. Twelve or more years ago Howard and his sons opened the only food market in the area. Over the years the market grew and grew until today it is of supermarket size. But it is not a supermarket by any means. It is an elegant wine shop, a gourmet delicatessen with rich hot and cold meals, most of them buried in shamefully rich sauces, a butcher shop with the best meat around, a fish market where you can get the best the sea has to offer, even live Maine lobsters. Since my wife died almost 13 years ago, Howard has fed me – and my waistline – nearly every day.

On Labor Day, with the wind and rain bands from Frances still battering the area, Howard opened his market on the holiday to provide people from as far away as Palm Beach with some of the necessities of life available nowhere else. People without power and refrigeration need to eat, the supermarkets were closed, so Howard fed us.

God favored him with electric power and he repaid by staying open until his shelves were almost empty. They were promptly restocked. And as he is always, Howard was there, helping the cashiers, scooting around doing whatever menial task needed to be done, including mopping the floors. John Kerry wouldn't understand it, but this is what private enterprise is all about.

Who needs FEMA when you have people like Howard just around the corner?

We were lucky. I was lucky. After 36 years here in the Boca area, this was the first real hurricane I've had to endure. I went through more hurricanes on Long Island, including the monster 'cane of 1938.

Today is Wednesday. The sun is shining, I got electric power and blessed air-conditioning back late last night. After a few scary false starts I got my computer up and running, read my e-mail, cleaned out the refrigerator and am starting to get back to my normal routine. Thank God everything is fine, Frances is moving north and life here continues apace.

At least until Hurricane Ivan scares the life out of us as it heads in our direction as a powerful Cat Three or Four storm. Go west, young Ivan. Go west!

Ora Pro Nobis.

Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist who writes for NewsMax.com. He is editor & publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.

He can be reached at

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I got out, moving into the rectory at St. Joan of Arc church a few miles away in downtown Boca Raton, where just one priest was in residence. As the former sacristan there I figured I might be of some help if things got too bad. We had a lot of trees go down, especially...
Reflections,Big,Wind,Named,Frances
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2004-00-08
Wednesday, 08 September 2004 12:00 AM
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