Friday, May 07, 2010

Whitey's Watery Woe

Few forces of nature are insidious as floodwater. It's something I first realized while floating through a sea of dead cattle. That was more than ten years past and I still smell the desperation that Hurricane Floyd left in its rainy wake. Now a similar surge has laid waste to much of Music City and a friend of the blog has suffered as a result.

Longtime readers of Viewfinder BLUES will no doubt remember Eric White, that lanky everyman who poured his endless reserves of enthusiasm into what can be a very thankless job. After four years as a general assignment reporter here in the Piedmont, "Whitey" left El Ocho a better place than he found it, bagging a local Emmy before he left for the flat screens of Nashville. There, he flourished - proving himself a capable storyteller in a larger, busier market before turning his thoughts to higher education. In the meantime, he more than enjoyed his downtown apartment...

I guess you can see where this is going. Whitey was out of state visiting family when the deluge that threatened to swallow Nashville settled in. By the time he returned, there was five and a half feet of water in his apartment - an apartment he was no longer allowed to enter... Word went out. Through new social networking and old fashioned phone calls, associates far and wide learned the most decent guy they ever worked with had just lost most of what he owned. Hearts ached, hands dug into pockets and before it was over I wasn't the only schlub feeling good about helping an old friend. Meanwhile, Eric perservered and - if I know him correctly - tried to dodge any local coverage of his waterlogged plight. Well, eventually his current coworkers got him in front of a camera and produced a piece that is as touching as it is understated.

Days ago, Whitey finally got into his apartment. Most of the water was gone, but the pallor it left over this single man's belongings won't soon wash out. Among the higher-end items lost were his new Mac laptop and a treasured PS3, no tto mention all the other things we take for garnted until they soak in near-sewage. But Eric knows others in Nashville fared a lot worse, so don't look for this eternal optimist to start complaining. Heck, he even Emmy got his back, the grimy press passes looped around it now serving as a fine conversation starter. Godspeed, Whitey...

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