Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Changing Lanes

After last week's post I got a call to pack up and come on down to New Orleans to go back on PDA staff. The "season" hasn't really started yet but they are between camp managers at this camp and since it's pretty close to the Ninth Ward they want somebody on the premises. So here I am.

It looks like instead of going back to Pearlington I'll do my time here in the newest camp, the Hilton of PDA camps. I can't help but feel like I've had a promotion. I hesitate to list all it's amenities for fear of losing my reputation as a sturdy chick who can rough it with the best of them. My trailer here isn't much better than the last one except this one has a working toilet. It doesn't have TV. But the flat screen HDTV in the lounge makes up for that. Opps, pretend I didn't say that.

The name of the camp is Olive Tree. Most of the camps have cute names like Good Earth but everyone ends up calling them by the name of the city--like the Pearlington camp or the Houma camp. We're housed in what used to be a Presbyterian church that had dissolved years ago and was being used as a Day Care or school of some sort. But after the storm the school didn't reopen and the church donated the building to the Presbytery for PDA's use. This means that we have a real live, fairly modern brick building. Instead of tents and pods and propane heaters that crap out at 2am or 20 degrees, our camp has set up sleeping accomodations in the previous Sunday School classrooms. This means, yes... central air and heat.

We have a brand new kitchen and a commercial dishwasher. I spent most of my day today unpacking boxes of dishes like a new bride after the honeymoon. Near as I can tell we'll have over a hundred each of plates, bowls and silverware. I'm supposed to hear back from the dishwasher rep tomorrow because this dishwasher takes three different kinds of chemicals to do the dishes at the speed of lightning.

We'll have 20 volunteers the middle of September, then increase to 80 the next week. So I expect the pace to pick up and stay moving. Many on the PDA staff think our camp could end up the most popular when the word gets out. If we reach our our capacity of 90 I'll be moving at breakneck speed every day.

Slow now; fast later. I'm trying to take it slow now, anyway. I learned a great lesson in slowing down just before I left for New Orleans.

I guess I'm probably not the only person to ever get a speeding ticket on the way home from taking Defensive Driving to wipe a speeding ticket off her record. I'm sure this happens to other people all the time. I was patting myself on the back over being so smart to get this class out of the way before I left for New Orleans. When the cop stopped me I prayed my guts out and dropped all sorts of hints about what a great humanitarian I was to be in a hurry to pack for my volunteer work for Katrina rebuilding but the guy wouldn't bite. He gave me the ticket and I did what I always do, I thanked him. Where is the logic in that?

But it did prompt me to an earnest conversation with God. "WHY does this stuff keep happening to me?" was my plaintive (and very loud) cry.

Word came back to me in a very loving voice, "Because I want you to slow down."

It was one of those "DUH" moments when I realize something that had never occurred to me before. All I have to do to stop getting speeding tickets is to not speed.

So, I drove very slowly to New Orleans. I stayed in the right lane. I watched the speedometer constantly. I kept track of the speed limit signs. I had the demeanor of a guilty dog who had just tracked mud into the house. I was a very good girl. I am living very slowly nowadays, yes, siree.

We'll see how long this lasts.

1 comment:

Sharla Fowler said...

Thanks for my weekly giggle session! Many prayers will go up for your wonderful PDA work. Wish I had time to join you, but life beckons otherwise.

Take care my friend.