Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A White Christmas

Yes, last week we finally got real snow! As I write, it is snowing lightly. The temperatures haven't gotten very far above freezing, if at all, in the last week, so this snow is going to stay around. The transplanted New Orleanians are going to have their first white Christmas as newlyweds. Is that romantic or what?

Like Santa Claus, I'm making a list and checking it twice, but my list is a little different from Santa's. Bulletin for Christmas Eve children's service -- check. Bulletin for candelight service -- check. Bulletin for next Sunday -- check. Bulletin for the week after that, so I can take a week's vacation -- check. Pastor's report to session -- check. Pastor's letter for January newsletter -- check. Speech to local Rotary club -- check. Sermon for Christmas Eve -- hmmmm...and here I am writing an entry in my blog...

Back in New Orleans, the locals are remembering Nash Roberts, who died on Sunday at the age of 92. Nash was a television weatherman who first went on the air in New Orleans the year I was born, 1951, and is perhaps best known for predicting accurately where several major hurricanes would make landfall, including Betsy in 1965 and Georges in 1998. I remember Nash on the air about ten o'clock the night Betsy came ashore, standing in a pile of broken glass that was the remains of the front window of his office on Royal Street, telling viewers, "We're going to stay on the air as long as we can" -- and then the power went out.

In recent years Nash stayed home to care for his wife, who I believe had dementia. As Katrina approached, he made the decision to evacuate (for the first and only time) to get her to safety. I wish with all my heart he had called his old colleagues at WWL-TV and told them of his plans. If only they had announced on the air that Saturday in August 2005, "Nash Roberts is evacuating the city for this one," many of the old-timers who had decided to stay because they had ridden out Betsy in their homes and they believed they would be safe in this one, would have changed their minds and gotten out. Immediately! "Nash is leaving? We're outa here!" So many older people drowned in their homes or died from the heat and the stress. Of all the people in the city, Nash was the one they would have listened to. Not the mayor. Not the current crop of weather forecasters. They trusted Nash.

Nash, thanks for all that you did. Be at peace in a place where the weather is always perfect.