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Mark Antony Rossi

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I began September stocking up supplies for the Hurricane Season. I do this every year. I have a Hurricane Room in my home and my young sons are trained how to handle themselves with power outages, water outages and first aid. I never had to worry until this year.

It's ironic how an impending disaster halts your enjoyment of music. I found it hard to listen to anything while realizing I had to listen to my gut and make some serious decisions that might affect the lives of my family for years to come.

I surmised from traffic reports and friends whom evacuated earlier that leaving might prove to be more dangerous than staying. People were running out of gas before even arriving at their safe destination; leaving them stranded on the side of the road very far from home, deep into the night.

I decided to stay and pulled my gun out of storage for the first time in twenty years. With most of the area evacuated there would be no police available in my community and I was home with women and children. Looting and home robberies are commonplace on a golf course when homes are vacant and alarm systems are irrelevant. You are on your own.

We listened to the alerts. The winds hit my home at 90mph. It rained on my property for 11 hours straight. If it weren't for pumps, living on a hill and decent drainage my home would have been total loss. We used the Hurricane Room for the first time and it was a success. The tree that came crashing down in the backyard hit the home next to us. Thankfully it didn't do much damage and they weren't home.

Next, we listened to the tornado alerts at least three spun off the outer rim of the Hurricane and one hit the golf course knocking down my back tree and nearly 100 other trees while dumping over 500 lbs. of debris on my property. Fortunately my children were sleeping in the Hurricane Room and didn't hear the tornado. It sounded like a sick train. The worst black metal you can listen to sounds better than a tornado. If Death has a sound a tornado is its vocalist. After the storm it looked like my land was a war zone of tree limbs, pinecones and pieces of other people's roofs.

We listened to the City inform us that water was unsafe to drink and you couldn't flush your toilets for fear of deadly backups that could contaminate your home. I had water stored for a week and it took them 5 days to safely restore the tap water. We listened to the community asking for volunteer help and I enlisted my sons after we cleaned our property to help our neighbors and the damaged harbor that literally had boats pushed from the ocean to the streets.

We listened to the school system continue to cancel school until a week had gone by. But through it all the absence of music in our lives was noticed. While at the harbor someone brought a boombox and the kids together with all children brought to volunteer danced and sang to the popular songs on the radio. The nightmare was over and parents and kids seemed to finally let down their guard and start acting normal again. Music can be medicine in days of despair.

The Listening Room for September was me listening to my best instincts, family preparation, military training and Italian stubbornness to survive America's worst Hurricane. But not a week later the children were afraid to sleep in their own rooms. I listened to their fears in and out of sleep and it worried me. They wanted to sleep again in the Hurricane Room and my wife and I feared the trauma of the experience had hurt them more than we expected. Their reintroduction to school was rocky the first few days. A week later the community started getting back to normal. Trees removed. Roads open. Boats removed from streets. And the kids started to play again like they believed the worst was over.

As for me something changed. I haven't had to be responsible for people lives since the military over 30 years ago. It wasn't pleasant then and it's damn less pleasant now when considering your decisions might harm the closest ones you Love. Whatever answers I can't get from God I'll get from Music.

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