Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sour Times

I want so desperately to have good news for you. Trust me, this is not for your benefit, but for mine, for my family, for my mom, for the hundreds of pitiful and proud people I've talked to here. Some good news, some hope, even just a little thimble full, would save some lives.

But there is none. Not even a thimble full. No, I take that back, occasionally good news travels in from outside, like a birdsong though an open window. It's as if Katrina left in her wake a huge zone of Bad, where no new Good can gain a foothold. All the Good we get has to be imported from exotic far away lands, like Missouri, or New York. Places where people have homes, and electricity, and phones, and running water, and a future. Those of you who've given, who've bought prints from me, or donated money, you've sent us some good news. That's what we're surviving on. Thank you.

But down here, the Bad just keeps lingering. While I was in what's left of my mom's Eden, photographing what happened to her few belongings, like the picture above, she tripped over a fallen tree in the backyard and fell on her face. Katrina did this to her.

We rushed her to the motor home medical clinic at the local distribution center, and a nice volunteer doctor from Florida checked her out, after he was done checking out the little fat kid who had accidentally split his foot wide open with an ax while trying to clear his dad's yard.

In 100 degree heat she sat there, and I watched as what was left of her dignity and pride slowly drained out of her. I could see it happen, right as she apologized to the doctor for having unshaven legs, but we haven't had running water this whole time, so I feel bad you have to touch them. The doctor was charming and said nonsense don't apologize, but it was too late, and Katrina and the 100 degree heat evaporated my mom's reserve of dignity and all I could do was watch, because dignity drains much faster than you can fill it back up.

We listened to Johnny Cash's Hurt on the way back to our shelter, and my mom silently cried a little, and I put my hand on her shoulder and couldn't say anything, because Johnny already said all that needed saying.


clayton cubitt said...

rae- thanks so much for your offer, I greatly appreciate it. But until I get my mom in some kind of more permanent housing, extra clothes can't help her much. Right now the biggest help anybody can give my family would be to donate via the Paypal link on the sidebar, or to buy prints I've editioned here:

I'm using all the proceeds (and all my own personal income for the foreseeable future) to rebuild my family's lives in The Gulf.

posted by: siege on 9/20/2005 1:11:26 AM


I would like to send a bunch of collected clothes down th people who need them. Since I have been following along on your blog, I was hoping that your mom and family could use them. let me know what you think.

posted by: raerae27 on 9/19/2005 1:08:07 PM


You're makin' me cry, Clayton. Tell your Momma she is in my heart & that I'm sending her all my love. I wish I could kiss her skinned knees & make it better.

Love, Aileen

posted by: firefli on 9/18/2005 4:03:17 PM

Anonymous said...

I have always admired your mother's strength. She passed that on to you. You (all) have reason to be proud. All my love, wish I could help more.
I am so impressed by all your work, creative/masterful/talented as usual, and of course, passionate. Great job. Julie

Doug Bagley said...

Thank you.