This is for typewriter people.
Remember when we had that term paper to write, and we’d place the paper in the spool, rack it ready to go…and freeze?
Or start, get one or two pages in, and realize what’s written so far is nonsense even to you?
Or, worse, get it all finished, all 23 pages, typed neatly double-spaced, and you ask the roommate to proof it, and he hands it back and says, “Not bad for the first draft,” and it’s around, oh, 1:33 a.m. and it’s due in six hours and, man, there just isn’t a second draft in the tank.
That’s how I felt Thursday night.
This was — no joke — my fifth try at today’s blog. Rewrites are common but this puppy should have been put to bed hours ago.
I’m not sure what the problem was exactly.
Thing is, I can’t get Crystal River out of my head. I drove through there Thursday morning and I’m telling ya, it's with a heavy heart.
The neighborhoods were a beehive of activity. Everyone was cleaning up something. Many streets had large deep pockets of water that vehicles coasted slowly through.
I saw a ton of people helping out. Church folks, sheriff’s deputies, National Guard service men and women, fire rescue and regular government types. It’s a full-court press on Crystal River, and I’m guessing the same is true for Ozello and Homosassa, which I didn’t get to Thursday.
There is plenty happening.
Several people commented Thursday that there should be a central effort in collecting funds and items for people affected by the floods. I was pondering that thought in version No. 2 of today’s blog when I checked my email and wouldn’t you know, there’s a press release from the Chamber of Commerce announcing just that.
This is how it began:
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia, the United Way of Citrus County and its partnering agencies, the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce, the City of Crystal River, the Homosassa Civic Association, the friends and neighbors in Ozello, are announcing the immediate opening of local recovery relief funds to aid residents and businesses severely affected by the storm.”
I’m not going to reprint the release because it’s on the JWC Facebook page, but United Way has all the info to help on its website or Facebook page.
I’m stoked about what this community is going to do for our coastal neighbors.
The flooding and aftermath are bringing up Hermine memories for many people, including me. That 2016 hurricane did practically the same thing: Moved up the gulf, made landfall in the Big Bend, and brought a 7-foot tidal surge into coastal Citrus County. It was bad. Just like this week.
I was on the road the morning after Hermine flood waters started to recede to the places we could reach. That was some of Chronicle photographer Matt Beck’s best stuff, working with him in the days following Hermine, charting lives suddenly turned upside down. (By the way, his stuff this week is pretty awesome too. Matt ALWAYS rises to the occasion.)
I took a similar drive Thursday but unlike Hermine, I didn’t stop and talk with people who were emptying their homes and garages of soaked belongings. I’ve always felt funny about that but figured it was part of my newspaper duties. In this role, it seems intrusive.
However, I wanted to see for myself what others were writing all over social media, especially the Just Wright Citrus Facebook page.
People sent me links to community pages, such as Ozello. Actual folks chatting with each other about what’s open and the areas to avoid.
Boots on the ground, you might say. People tuned to their community sending out reliable info to their neighbors. Finally — an actual community use for the internet.
We use these platforms for everything else. Now’s the time to rally around our coastal communities and social media is going to make sure we know how to help.
Two things before blog attempt No. 5 concludes:
— Priceless: Miles Saunders’ video, on the county’s Facebook page, of Citrus County and Crystal River firefighters rescuing an 82-year-old Army vet by airboat and then going back for his endangered parrots. Watch it here. It’s the smile we’re all looking for.
—Hard to believe, but this is a three-day weekend. No blog on Monday, but I’ll be updating the Just Wright Citrus Facebook page with Hurricane Idalia recovery efforts. Have a safe Labor Day, friends.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.