I read last night that the Wal-Mart in Joplin, MO destroyed by the tornado of May 22, 2011 reopened yesterday.
The greeter, a greeter for some 18 years, is a survivor of the Dachau concentration camp.
What a happy day this must have been for the residents of Joplin. So many of us now understand that feeling. We are the residents of Joplin. We are the residents of Vermont, of New Jersey, of Texas, of Fargo, North Dakota, of upstate NY, of Pennsylvania, of Oklahoma.
We are the Fellowship of the Thing. No, not the Cosa Nostra. Rather, the thing that is all the natural disasters that have struck our country in the past year and the aftermaths. Together, in our Fellowship of the Thing, we may hurt. But we are among others who understand. We will not be defeated.
Look at what happened in my area of upstate NY last Friday.
Pete's Legacy Diner is open again for business.
The co-owner (with two of his sons) Pete Metritikis was there to welcome his customers. Pete's is located in Twin Orchards in the Town of Vestal. Of all the flooded neighborhoods in our area, Twin Orchards arguably has suffered the most. Flood, sewage, and thieves who entered houses through cracks in the foundations to steal the last of residents' worldly goods. When you drive through Twin Orchards, you will see houses marked with spray painted X's (condemned) and K's (inspected and OK to reenter). There are still porta potties on street corners. Winter is coming and the cold weather is here.
But on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, we joined other steady customers of Pete's to welcome Pete and his sons, and to say hi to our waitresses. At least one waitress lost everything in the flood. We said Hi to Lois, and to Lisa, and to the other staff. People were hugging each other. Pete (who is in his 70's) went from table to table to greet everyone. It had taken 8 weeks of hard work, some by his customers, for the diner to be able to reopen. We were so happy to be back. And so were they.
For a few minutes our troubles were forgotten. And that is why I felt so happy for the residents of Joplin yesterday. It is because we are all part of the Fellowship.
The Fellowship of the Thing.