A low pressure system has been stuck out in the Gulf, and folks have been waiting for some days for the reported high pressure system now in Texas to nudge its way to the east, to head across Louisiana, its swamps and oil fields, miles of refineries, to finally sail over the top of southern Mississippi.
As the weather in the Gulf dances its own zydeco two step, staying largely in place with the waves below and clouds above, the rain comes down here on the coast in sheets and buckets and then stops. And then starts again. All the while, it is very warm. This is not, not at this time of the year, like the coast of Ireland. That will come later in February.
So on a humid early morning, walking toward the front steps of St Rose, carrying the only umbrella I could find (bright blue, child size), I see the line-up of umbrellas standing just outside the front door. They are leaning upright and awaiting turns like kids at the end of a school day, maybe only then noticed for who they are, redeemed, made useful once again.
There is a locally famous politician at the service, sitting in the back. It is voting day for the local Primaries. I hadn’t seen him here before in my short tenure. When Mass ends, we all stand outside under the front portico for a few brief moments. The locally famous politician shakes hands, mine too, and I notice his hand feels thick, calloused, as if he had worked for years as a tradesman, though I imagine the roughness comes from the countless hands gripped and released over his years of service.
I watched as he walked away down the sidewalk, the small crowd dispersing, heading for their cars. He was by himself. He had muttered that it was going to be a long day.
It was a very humid Mississippi morning. Someone made a joke about preparing their ark.
I learned later that he had lost the election. He had been, for many, their best hope in this place.