litlegirl.jpgSpent the day Sunday with Amy and some friends from Fort Chiswell. After breakfast, headed for the Carroll County Gun Show and Flea Market (Amy’s second trip for the weekend, my first).

Like many other events this Labor Day weekend, the flea market suffered from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and spiraling gas prices. Lots of empty spaces in the parking lots and far fewer vendors than usual. One lot owner said a number of vendors normally come from the hurricane ravaged areas of Mississippi and Alabama and may have been unable to make the trek. Others probably balked at paying $3 and up for a gallon of gas.

I eventually parked my butt in the chair of a food concession area and stood guard over the bounty collected by Amy and our friends. With everything that happened on the Gulf Coast this week, I couldn’t really concentrate on the flea market surrounding us (not that I ever really get into flea markets — that’s Amy’s bag). Plus my body still ached from a morning of loading food and water on board three cargo planes Saturday so they could head for New Orleans.

Like many Americans, I can’t get the images of the dead and dying in The Big Easy and other Gulf Coast cities out of my mind. I can’t stop wondering how we could leave hundreds of thousands of people stranded for four days without food and water while local, state and federal governments argued over who had jurisdiction for rescue efforts.

I looked up and saw a young girl on a bridge staring intently into the water below. Was she watching fish, daydreaming about something or, like me, thinking about the horror 900 miles south of where we both rested in the summer heat? I picked up my camera and snapped a couple of shots. She moved on, replaced by flea marketers with their bags and wagons full of booty.

Tragedy comes. People die. Elsewhere, life goes on.