It's Not about Me - A Story of Hurricane Katrina, Part 3

It's Not about Me - A Story of Hurricane Katrina, Part 3
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   2.37

     challenging words:    bono, hair-raising, Joooohn, levees, low-rent, meltdown, newsman, rag-tag, shutter, stranded, tinge, warbled, wreckage, mankind, leading, invisible
     content words:    Gulf Coast, New Orleans, Joooohn Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, Mickey Mouse Yahtzee, John Jacob Jingleheimer, Hurricane Katrina

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It's Not about Me - A Story of Hurricane Katrina, Part 3
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     The hurricane roared outside. "Katrina is drenching the Gulf Coast," the newsman said. "Ten or more inches of rain are expected, with storm surges up to 30 feet..."
2     Storm surges? That didn't sound good. Dad said the storm could push lots of sea water inland. It could cause major floods. New Orleans, he said, was below sea level. Water could surge over the levees and flood the city.
3     By 8:30 A.M., the storm was howling like a wild animal. The kids were clingy. They fought over Dad's lap. I looked at his face. You could tell he hadn't slept all night. "Hey! We're still camping!" Dad said. He grabbed the kids and shooed us all downstairs. "Let's go have fun! Campfire songs!" he said. "That's what we need."
4     I snorted. Dad winked at me. He lifted his arms like a conductor. He tapped with a pretend baton. The kids began to smile. Dad cleared his throat and burst into song. "Joooohn Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt," he warbled. He waved his arms, leading his invisible orchestra. The little ones giggled. Happily, they belted out the words. Soon they and Dad were marching around the big room, their fears forgotten.
5     I marveled at my father. He'd been up all night. How could he do it? He had put his own needs aside to help the kids feel safe. I'd seen it many times. My parents were always putting others first. I wondered if I would ever learn it wasn't about me. I jumped up and joined the band. Hayden played a dazzling air guitar. One song led to another. We were a rag-tag bunch, marching in our PJs. Finally, we collapsed on the sofa.
6     The fun made me realize how much I missed Mom. A thought hit me. The new baby! I forgot to ask what they named her! I wanted to see her, too. The same thought came to the little ones. That "I want my mommy" tinge was creeping into their voices. All three were near tears.
7     We were seconds away from a meltdown. I took a deep breath. "I haven't gotten to play my favorite game in a long time," I said. "Anyone for Mickey Mouse Yahtzee?" We dug the game out of our bags and played, it seemed, forever.
8     That evening, Mrs. Bono came back. She'd been unable to get to work that day because of the storm. She brought us hot dogs to roast on a fireplace out back. She even had marshmallows so we could make s'mores. She was getting into this camping thing.
9     The skies were quiet when we stepped out on the back patio. The sight of the yard was astonishing. Wreckage littered the ground. What would it look like at home? Dad said as soon as the roads were cleared, we could go see Mom and head home.
10     I got up in the morning to see Dad staring at the TV. There was shock in his face. What's wrong?" I asked. He shook his head. I saw tears in his eyes.
11     "The storm did terrible damage in New Orleans and Mississippi," he said. "Many people are suffering."
12     I put my arms around him. "What can we do?" I asked.

Paragraphs 13 to 30:
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