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January 29, 2009

TT: Too far from home

1195102-H.jpgSikeston, the Missouri town that normally goes under the guise of "Smalltown, U.S.A." on this blog, was hit three days ago by a fearsome ice storm, one of the worst on record. The power is out throughout the city and its environs and is expected to remain that way for the next few days. Cellphone service is spotty. Last night I managed to talk to my brother, albeit briefly and through heavy static, during the intermission of Chicago Shakespeare's performance of Macbeth. He told me, as best as I could make out, that my seventy-nine-year-old mother has been evacuated to Cape Girardeau, a town thirty miles north of Sikeston where the storm was much less severe and the power is still on, and that's she's all right. I haven't spoken to her since the night before the storm hit.

Times like these remind me of how big America is. Right now I'm in a Chicago hotel room four hundred miles from Sikeston, but I might as well be on the far side of the world. I felt a bit like this on 9/11, when I was visiting my mother in Sikeston and suddenly found myself out of touch with my many friends in New York City. It doesn't help that Mrs. T is in Connecticut, where the weather is somewhat better but still pretty rocky.

I'm glad I had a piece to write this morning, and that I have a show to see tonight. It's a comfort to be distracted by art when there's nothing to do but sit and wait.

UPDATE: I finally got through to my mother in Cape Girardeau a few minutes ago. She's safe and warm. The situation in Sikeston, she says, is fairly chaotic and likely to remain so for a few more days, but my brother and sister-in-law are safe as well.

Posted January 29, 2009 12:20 PM

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