Thursday, October 27, 2005

After Hurricane Wilma

When you write for a newspaper in Florida, you write a lot about hurricanes and how to cope with them I did this piece two mornings after one of the biggest ones hit us.

For Cecile Levant, the search for a cup of coffee took her all the way from Century Village in Deerfield Beach to North Federal Highway in Boca Raton.

And to, of all places, a hardware store.

She stood outside the front door of Belzer's Hardware Co. on Wednesday morning with her fellow huntress, Merlene Humphrey, a home health aide who works in that same Century Village.

They had money in their hands from five neighbors who had the shared hope they'd come back with the small item that loomed large in their notion of survival: a Master Glow Backpack/Expedition Stove.

It is a contraption with two pieces: a grapefruit-size propane canister and a spider-shaped metal stovetop, which can grip a small pot or a can of beans, and heat it over a flame.

This feat seems almost like magic when the electricity is out for you and 6 million of your fellow South Floridians.

It was the second post-Wilma day that Levant and Humphrey made their way to Belzer's, their second 20-minute wait to be let in the door.

"I love a cup of coffee in the morning," said Levant, a pert white-haired woman in a pink workout suit, explaining her need for the stove. "That's why I'm so determined."

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Rosh Hashana shooting

This was a story that the cops reporters covered copiously. I was hoping to capture the elements that were particularly hurtful to this community. A child nailed it:

Date: Thursday, October 6, 2005
Edition: Palm Beach Section: LOCAL Page: 1B

The hole was about 2 1/2 inches wide, as indicated by the stick-on measurement left by detectives, and surrounded by webbings of shattered glass.

It pierced a wall-length window of the Chabad Weltman Synagogue west of Boca Raton.

Josh Goldberg is 6. He wore shiny black shoes and dress pants, his holiday wear, and stood on the sidewalk surrounding the shopping-center synagogue where he goes to Hebrew school once a week.

He stared with a look of sorrow at the uncovered hole and the shattered glass.

"The old man," he said, "shot a part of God's heart."