Hurricane Ida’s ferocious winds and rainfall hit southern Louisiana hard. Fortunately, my son Seth came out unscathed. Luck? Some. But he was prepared. As for me, preparing for the unknown was a lesson I learned only later in life.

Regarding Seth, two months back, he moved from boisterous New Orleans to quiet Prairieville, a suburb of Baton Rouge where he earned his master’s degree at Louisiana State University. Careful research led him to a townhouse in a community about as resistant to flood as possible—the site slightly elevated, buildings raised on their foundations, driveway and backyard sloping downhill. Also, he always makes a point of stocking up on non-perishable food along with water.

Seth’s community remained free from flooding. Prairieville’s power eventually went out, but his was restored in 22 hours. Unfortunately, many people still lack electricity and fresh water in heat approaching 90 degrees.

I wish Carolyn and I were better prepared for the major storm that hit San Antonio when we lived there almost 50 years ago. It struck while we were attending Yom Kippur Eve (Kol Nidre) services at Temple Beth-El. By the time the service concluded, the storm began to let up. We figured we’d drive home despite San Antonio’s infamous lack of drainage. “Young” and “foolish” often go together.

We made it two blocks from our apartment and no further. Broadway was a raging river. We pulled into our bank’s elevated parking lot and beneath the roof of a drive-in window. The rain stopped. The temporary river seemed to have crested. We waited. 

A woman’s cry roused us. She’d made it out of her VW Beetle before rushing waters swept it away and managed to wedge herself between two utility poles. We pulled her out of the water. 

Now, three of us waited. The river went down. In minutes, Broadway was crossable. We took the woman to our apartment where she spent the night. The next day, her husband picked her up. As I recall, she found her car.

Carolyn and I have experienced major winter storms in San Francisco but nothing like Hurricane Ida. As to earthquakes, we’re prepared—now. After the 1989 Loma Prieta quake—our house suffered minimal damage—we called an architect friend. He drew plans to have our house bolted to its foundation and the garage sheer-walled. We also replaced posts supporting overhanging rooms in the back with a wall.

Nature aside, people also are subject to emotional storms. Witness the challenges of marriage. I doubt anyone can fully prepare before a wedding for a lifetime together. But over the years, you learn a few things about preventing or overcoming inevitable storms in your relationship. 

You listen, acknowledge your partner’s feelings, cop to your own mistakes, and keep your sense of humor. And you store up the will to obey my 11th Commandment: You shall cut each other some slack.

Tomorrow—September 4—Carolyn and I will celebrate our 52nd anniversary. Every day demands not just addressing problems that may crop up—we’re only human—but also preparing anew to be more understanding and forgiving.  

Some days, some people can’t avoid taking a hit. But preparation plays a big role in weathering life’s storms. A small investment in awareness and anticipation can yield big dividends.

To everyone observing the Jewish High Holy Days—and everyone else—may the new year 5782 bring you fulfillment, peace and comfort from the storm.

The blog will take off next week and return on September 17.

Remember, you can order my new novel 2084 in softcover or e-book from or your favorite bookstore.

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  1. Carolyn Power Perlstein on September 3, 2021 at 11:18 am

    David “we” did not pull the woman out of the river on Broadway–YOU pulled her out. You were, and are, the much too modest hero. You could have been swept away in the rushing waters. But you wouldn’t let that woman remain in danger and you stepped in and guided her to safety. My hero always for 52 years.

    • David Perlstein on September 3, 2021 at 12:56 pm

      Couldn’t have done any of it without you.

  2. Jerry on September 3, 2021 at 11:21 am

    Happy Anniversary – 52 Years!

    • David Perlstein on September 3, 2021 at 12:56 pm

      Thanks, Jerry.

  3. David Newman on September 3, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    Mazel tov on more than half a century together. I’ve come to think of a solid marriage — yours, Ellen’s and mine — as a continuous collaborative act of creation. What do we want this relationship to be? Who do I want to be within this relationship? Creating a lasting relationship is like building a structure that not only shelters you, but provides a sense of security for the children who grow up in it and inspiration for the friends who recognize it for what it is. And, like a building, a relationship requires constant maintenance and renovation. May you keep up the good work.

    • David Perlstein on September 3, 2021 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks, David. You know whereof you speak.

  4. Penelope De Paoli on September 3, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    Happy anniversary. I’m happy for you two and a little jealous. Fate! I think you treasure each other a little more as time passes. It is as it should be.

    • David Perlstein on September 3, 2021 at 2:25 pm

      Some things we can control, Penny, others we can’t. We never know. Just put one foot in front of the other. Thanks.

  5. Jayne Wezelman on September 3, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    Happy Healthy Anniversary to you both, and Happy Sweet New Year to you and the entire family!

    • David Perlstein on September 3, 2021 at 10:22 pm

      Thank you, Jayne.

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