A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker


I’m not saying they are heroes.  Not exactly.  But as far as I’m concerned, the Daveline family did a pretty heroic thing a few weekends ago.

They watched a movie.

And not just any movie.  No, sir.  As fierce winds from Hurricane Frances bent young trees in their Florida yard, huffing and puffing against their boarded-up windows, they slipped a family favorite into the video machine: “Gone With the Wind.”

Ironic?  Absolutely.  Intentionally so.

“Yeah, I laughed when Mom told me,” said Adam, a member of the family who was keeping tabs on his mother and the rest of the Davelines while at school nearly 3,000 miles away.  “But what are you going to do?  You can’t go anywhere or do anything.  As long as you have electricity, you might as well watch a movie.”

Especially one so aptly named.

Unfortunately, they lost power before Scarlet O’Hara could remind them that “tomorrow is another day.”  But that’s OK, because they already knew that.  They’ve been through hurricanes before – both the meteorological kind and the painfully personal kind – and they’ve learned that no matter how dark and frightening “today” may be, “tomorrow is another day.”

It always has been.  It always will be.

For the Davelines, “tomorrow” finds them cleaning up, catching up and waiting in line at the gas station, the grocery store and just about everywhere else.  Today isn’t necessarily a better day than yesterday, when they were hunkered down together watching the Union Army storm Atlanta on their TV screen while Hurricane Frances was outside storming Jacksonville.  It’s just “another day,” filled with new challenges, possibilities and – believe it or not – opportunities.

Dad was no Scarlet O’Hara, but he had a similar philosophy that saw him through more than 94 years of occasionally difficult todays.  Whenever things grew difficult for himself or one of his eight children, Dad could be counted on to listen carefully, consider the situation thoughtfully and eventually intone these immortal words: “This too shall pass.”

To be honest, it used to make me crazy.  “This too shall pass.”  I mean, seriously – what did that have to do with anything?  Of course it will pass.  Everybody knows that.  Everything eventually passes, one way or another.  How does knowing that help me get through it?  I would have rather had him use another Scarlet O’Hara line: “Fiddle-dee-dee!”  Or maybe one from Scarlet’s dear Rhett Butler: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a . . ”

Well, you know.

It wasn’t until I was older that I began to understand what Dad was trying to say.  “This too shall pass” isn’t an answer for situations about which something can be done.  If there were wrongs that could be righted or battles that needed to be fought, Dad was a man of action, and his counsel reflected his energy, vitality and enthusiasm for the fray (except if the battle was with the IRS, in which case Dad would shrug his shoulders and say, “You’re on your own”).

But Dad understood that there are some things in life that can’t be changed – just endured.  These things happen to everyone at various times and in various places.  There is nothing we do to bring them on, and there is nothing we can do to avoid them.  But there is some comfort in knowing that just as surely as they will happen, so too will they pass.  Hurricanes come, and then they go.  Tragedies happen, and then they pass.  Today dawns, and then before you can catch your breath it’s tomorrow.

And tomorrow, as you know, is another day.

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— © Joseph Walker

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