Hurricane Harvey left behind one thing more important than damage. It left behind the knowledge on the American psyche that in a pinch we can put aside our petty political differences and all work together for a common cause.
As I write this column, Hurricane Irma is bearing down on Florida and seems certain to wreak devastation there, too.
I received the message below about the people who helped in rescuing folks from the ravages of Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. The message comes from a friend in Iowa, but I doubt that he originated it. If I knew the source of the following message, I’d acknowledge that writer. But, whoever it was, the message deserves circulation. Here’s the e-mail as I received it about the “Redneck Navy” to the rescue.
“The hundreds and hundreds of small boats, pulled by countless pickups and SUVs from across the South, are headed for Houston. Almost all of them driven by men. They’re using their own property, sacrificing their own time, spending their own money, and risking their own lives for one reason: to help total strangers in desperate need.
“Most of them are by themselves. Most are dressed like the redneck duck hunters and bass fisherman they are. Many are veterans. Most are wearing well-used gimme-hats, T-shirts, and jeans; and there’s a preponderance of camo.
“Most are probably gun owners, and most probably voted for Trump. These are the people the Left loves to hate, the ones Maddow mocks. The ones Maher and Olbermann just know they’re so much better than.
“These are The Quiet Ones. They don’t wear masks and tear down statues. They don’t, as a rule, march and demonstrate. And most have probably never been in a Whole Foods. But they’ll spend the next several days wading in cold, dirty water; dodging ‘gators and water moccasins and fire ants; eating whatever meager rations are available; and sleeping wherever they can in dirty, damp clothes.
“Their reward is the tears and the hugs and the smiles from the terrified people they help. They’ll deliver one boatload, and then go back for more. When disaster strikes, it’s what men do. Real men. Heroic men. American men. And then they’ll knock back a few shots, or a few beers with like-minded men they’ve never met before, and talk about fish, or ten-point bucks, or the benefits of hollow-point ammo, or their F-150.
“And the next time they hear someone talk about ‘the patriarchy,’ or ‘male privilege,’ they’ll snort, turn off the TV and go to bed. In the meantime, they’ll likely be up again before dawn. To do it again. Until the helpless are rescued. And the work’s done. They’re unlikely to be reimbursed. There won’t be medals. They won’t care. They’re heroes. And it’s what heroes do.”
Speaking of the “Redneck Navy,” last week I got humorously asked if I wuz a member of that heroic group. My good friend, ol’ Claude Hopper from Pratt, Kan., and I were headed to a fishing spot, pulling my loaded boat behind my equally loaded pickup. As we came out of a Casey’s store with our sandwiches and favorite beverage, two guys filling a pickup with gas took one look at us, grinned, and said, “You’re either goin’ fishin’ or else you’re headed to Houston. Which is it?”
Claude replied that we planned to try fishing first.
Claude and I caught quite a few fish in two days and sent plenty of fillets home with him — as well as some homegrown tomatoes and farm fresh, free-range eggs.
But, Claude wuzn’t the only good buddy I fished with last week. Ol’ Sawyer Bord, my new Colorado carpenter/farmer friend, stopped in for a day of fishing that started with a hearty Milo Yield breakfast. We fished at ol’ Lon G. Horner’s place and the fishing wuz good enuf for big bass and catfish to make Sawyer happy.
Plus, you could throw in a couple of turtles we caught and I pulled a 40-pound whopper out of the water. No, it wasn’t a fish, but a fish caused it. I hooked some kind of fish and it somehow snagged the line on something on the bottom.
I wuz fishing with six or eight pound test line and, when I finally decided I had to break the line and re-rig to start fishing, I stretched the line as hard as I could and the line didn’t break, but I thought I felt the obstacle move an inch or so. So, I kept pulling and the line didn’t break. After a few minutes of inching the “thing” toward the bank, I finally saw what I wuz catching on that 6 or 8-pound line — a split-half of an 8-foot, thoroughly waterlogged hedge fence post. When I got it close enuf, Sawyer grabbed one soggy end and grunted with effort to throw it out on the ground. I know that soaked post weighted at least 40 pounds. I can attest that the fishing line folks are sure making stronger line these days.
Sawyer promised to come back some day soon and I hope he does.
I’m tired of all the protesting on college campuses. I didn’t like it in the 1960s and ‘70s and I still don’t like it. And, what really irks me is when it’s the college or university professors — who are on the public payroll — take a prominent role in the protests. The way I see it, if those professors believe their own socialist propaganda, they should be volunteering to teach for free — or at the very least, voluntarily giving their salary to more needful folks. I don’t foresee them being so benevolent. It’s easier to just protest.
The Saffordville Gentlemen’s Club, of which I’m a proud member, sent $100 to the Salvation Army for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. I suspect the relief effort in Hurricane Irma’s aftermath will be just a huge. Please do what you can to help. You never know when you’ll need to be on the receiving end of emergency help.
Have a good ‘un.