It Happens
…cogitations on calamities, cataclysms and catastrophes, preventing, preparing and pulling through.

 

March 17th is the Feast of St. Patrick—a day that inspires many people to claim Irish roots. We’ve all likely seen the Irish-Aspiring wearing green, pinning on a Shamrock* or four leaf clover, drinking green tinted beer, dressing as Leprechauns** and speaking with the worst fake Irish accents imaginable…and having a gloriously fun time doing it. No matter your heritage, and no matter how you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, don’t depend on “the luck of the Irish”*** to get you by when a disaster hits.

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Just what is luck? Gamblers know that luck is fickle, when it’s good, it’s very good; when it’s bad…it’s awful! Statistician Chip Denman said “Luck is probability taken personally.” This bizarre concept of luck is surely a construct our amazing minds came up with in order to make sense of the unexpected good and bad moments we all experience.

What does luck have to do with St. Patrick and the modern day celebrations of his feast day? One could argue, Patrick had his share of bad luck! As a Roman citizen kidnapped and sold into slavery in Ireland around the year 401 AD, Patricius/Padraig/Patrick surely had a rude awakening. Plucked from his comfortable life as the son of wealthy Christian family and forced to work as a shepherd in the hills around Antrim, he made his escape after 6 years.

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Aside from March being the month of the Irish-Aspiring’s shenanigans in celebration of St. Patrick, March is an odd month for weather as well. Unless you’re a great mathematician and meteorologist, March weather is a real crapshoot: wind picks up, ice storms happen occasionally and rain sometimes pours down between sunny days that can feel like summer. For those of us who are not mathematicians or meteorologists,
the unpredictability is enough to push some us into a state of frustration close to crazy.(Shoutout to @Gary Lezak, may I please have your forecast for the month of March?)

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Weather and merry makers who have sipped too many green beers and hit the road can have disastrous consequences in our lives. As far as the weather goes, preparedness is your ace in the hole.

For the wind and floods:
• Take a walk around your yard and look for broken or damaged tree limbs dangling from your trees. Carefully remove them or contact a professional tree trimmer.
• Trim any dead branches off shrubs and bushes that are close to the house and wooden fencing.
• Inspect your roof lines and gutters, if you can see a hanging gutter or missing downspout from the ground, missing or curled shingles…it’s time to get some help with that.
• Look at the foundation of your house (especially important if you have a basement), any cracks or gaps between the foundation and the dirt of your yard? Add dirt, sloping away from your foundation, all the way around the house. This will help deflect rain from sneaking its way into your basement. Residents of Kansas City, MO should look into “Keep out the Rain”, if you are in an eligible part of the city, they may be able to
provide you with help at no cost to you.

For road safety on a day of celebration:
• If you do not need to go anywhere, stay home.
• If you are out and about, please be extra vigilant whether you are on foot, bicycling, motorcycling or driving a car, you may be stone cold sober but others on the roads might not be. And they might not stay on the road so don’t think you’re totally safe because you are walking on a sidewalk.
• There really is no “ok to drive” after drinking. And there really is no reason to do it when there are ride-share services you can use, including the very reasonably priced from Kansas City Area Transport Authority: Iris

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You now know, if you didn’t before, if luck is real, it can be good or bad and it can run out at the most inconvenient moments, as it did for the young St. Patrick. We cannot rely on luck to get us through the stormy weather ahead and the aftermath of the celebrations. We can be prepared. We can all of us, Irish ancestry and Irish-aspiring, have a day of solidarity as human beings as we prepare for the storms ahead and celebrate the feast day of a former slave turned Bishop and “Apostle to Ireland”.

“in luck or in song, You just have to be right one more time than you’re wrong” (U2, 2023. Atomic City. Atomic City Single. Island Records Limited).

Be right. Be prepared. Stay safe. Stay joyful. Sláinte!

By Shayna Deitchman, AmeriCorps Disaster Relief Services
#DisasterServicesCCKCSJ #ItHappensCCKCSJ #Itsnotluck #St.Patrick

Still with me?…
*Wearin’ o’ the Green: a little more than 200 years ago, all of Ireland was under British rule. It was illegal under British law to wear the color green in Ireland or to have a shamrock in your possession or growing in ground for which you were responsible on penalty of imprisonment or death. Shamrocks grow like weeds.

**Leprechaun: solitary fairies of legend, often depicted in fable and song as shoemakers.

***Luck of the Irish: an expression first used in the United States in the 1800’s during the gold and silver rush. Many successful miners were Irish and Irish Americans, the expression “luck of the Irish” implied that they were only successful because they had good luck.

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