I still remember Hurricane Cindy. My now-ex-husband and I were in town for the Fourth of July holiday in 2005, and it had been decent weather outside when we borrowed my dad’s truck to drive Uptown to visit a friend. I hadn’t watched the forecast because I was 24 and paying attention to the weather was something old people did, but when I heard the wind howling later that night, I cracked my friend’s door to peek out and was shocked when:

A. The door blew wide open and slammed against his wall and
B. I saw someone’s trash can rolling down the street

“Wow, it’s really coming down,” I said, surprised but not really concerned, and an hour or so later, we drove home in blinding rain and gusting winds. It seemed really intense for a normal New Orleans summer thunderstorm, but I had been away from home for awhile, so maybe I’d just forgotten.

The next day, the news said it had been a hurricane, and I was shocked. I remembered the days of angst over Andrew and Georges, the stress of whether my family would stay or evacuate. Hurricanes didn’t just happen out of nowhere like that.

“How can it have been a hurricane?” I wondered aloud. “I didn’t even know it was supposed to rain!”

Of course later that summer, the forecasters got it wrong – and then horribly right – about Katrina, and Cindy kind of disappeared from my memories.

I think about it sometimes, though, when people complain about forecasts being wrong because I would so much rather then be overly cautious than not.

Yes, we canceled school – but our kids were home anyway.

Yes, we had to bring in our lawn furniture and stock up on batteries and canned goods – but that’s good practice and now we have lots of black beans and our backyard looks better.

Yes, they were wrong – but isn’t it nice to have power? Doesn’t it make you appreciate it more?

Tropical Storm Laura is still out there – and if she makes Bob Breck nervous, she makes me nervous – and of course, hurricane season itself still has a few more months to go, but for right now, I am not going to be annoyed about a storm being less bad than predicted.

In a year that’s brought so much grief and tragedy, I am choosing, instead, to be thankful for a rare bit of good news, a pantry full of hurricane snacks, and an air-conditioned home in which to consume them.

Stay safe out there, NOLA, and I’ll see you on the other side of Laura. May she fizzle out too!