« I'm Ready for My Closeup, Mr. X10 | Main | All Hat, No Cattle »

Mississippi Imaginations Burning

In all of the tragic news surrounding Hurricane Katrina last summer, there was little notice that my Uncle Bubba lost his frozen custard stand. The stand had survived Hurricane Camille in 1969, and kept both locals and tourists through Waveland, Mississippi, cooled off on a typical spring and summer day. Now, the custard stand was no longer frozen in place, and its remains landed somewhere near Gulfport.

Uncle Bubba was luckier than most, his house survived Katrina, in fact his property value improved when the vestiges of some very expensive waterfront homes landed in his backyard. Among the debris was evidence of what might have been a big-screen television set and an X10 Video sender. While the big-screen TV had met its makers, there were signs that the video-sender still had life.

Uncle Bubba was somewhat of an amateur technician. To him, there were two delicacies in the world — pecan pie and circuit boards. I thought that was kind of funny, since he served neither at his frozen custard stand. He did fashion himself a neat little radio system at the custard stand’s drive-up window, but it was nothing like the X10 video sender he had just been sent as a gift from God.

Bubba went directly to the X10 Web site to see what the video sender device could do. This thing was amazing! It seemed like it could provide more fun than Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Calendar night at the local NASCAR track! You could send video and audio from any electronic device like a DVD player, a VCR, or even Bubba’s beloved eight-track player and send it to a more convenient screen or audio player — even if that screen was your neighbors.

Bubba himself felt lucky that all he lost was his frozen custard stand. He had neighbors that had lost so much more. Like his Waveland neighbors, he had struggled for months with the insurance companies that insisted that the frozen custard stand’s trip to Gulfport was caused by the resulting floods from a storm surge, not by wind damage. Bubba, like many others was not insured for floods.

Still, Bubba was determined to stay in Waveland, where t-shirts declared “Sometimes, the waves come on to the ground.” He had come here forty years before when he joined the Air Force and served in Biloxi. Now it was time to serve Waveland.

The entire community – including the insurance companies – feared that this first hurricane season after Katrina would deliver a rerun of another devastating storm. It would take something powerful, something beyond the imagination to alter the course of Karma.

Bubba, still feeling some pain, had just the thing. God had delivered it in the form of his X10 video sender. All that was needed was a little hard work and some coordination.

Like a Pied Piper, Bubba convinced the community to help construct his vision. He had read about scarecrows protecting cornfields in the Midwest. Mississippi needed some sort of scarecrow that would keep hurricanes from the coast. If he built it, they would not come.

In weeks, he and volunteers constructed a giant movie screen that would be the envy of any drive-in theatre. It was built on the foundation of three devastated waterfront homes. Finally, on the evening of Fourth of July, Bubba pulled the switch on the X10 Video Sender.

Up on the screen, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward recited the words of Mississippi’s great pride, William Faulkner. The Long Hot Summer had officially projected itself on the Screen of Dreams from Bubba’s DVD player. A few members of the Waveland community looked on, keeping a wary eye on the bay waters.

It worked! The seas remained calm.

So far, it has worked better than anything else the government or insurance companies have done.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)