Thinking during travel can be all kinds of bad

Travel isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When you’re traveling alone, there’s nothing to do but think. Eight hours of thinking can hurt your head.

Still, on my way home from Springfield, Ill., I got caught up in this thinking process. Thinking about the trip, about the weather, about what I planned to do on my way home.

Got into Iowa from Missouri way too early to have supper with friends in Marion, so I decided to turn left and see what was cooking in Allerton and Humeston. Iowa Press Women friends live in those two towns, and I was lucky enough to find them home. At supper, we planned a slumber party play date for early December.

It’s always good to have something fun planned.

From Humeston, I popped over to I-35 for the trip north. Coming home in the dark, I couldn’t even look around, so I was left to think.

Unfortunately, I’d heard about the horrendous typhoon in the Philippines, so that’s all I could think about. My Scrabble friend lives in Luzon and just finished fighting floods from earlier storms. She’d told me once that November is the end of the rainy season, so this huge storm – the worst ever recorded – likely wasn’t expected.

It didn’t directly hit Luzon, where Sally lives, but the force of the winds at the center of the storm were so great, they tore the roof off Sally’s home 350 miles away. Two walls collapsed.

We chat as we play Scrabble, and every time she wrote, it got worse.

“Half the Philippine archipelago was damaged,” she said. “Reports said that almost 10 million have lost their homes, so they are the priorities right now. Build some shelter for the homeless and provide food for them.”

Money for that comes from the government, of course, and all available money will go to help those who lost everything. Sally and her family were lucky in that walls and a roof can be rebuilt. She feels worse, she said, because money for the loan they had approved for their son’s school is now being used for storm damage.

“It’s a mess here right now,” she said. “So horrible. They’re putting mass graves for the dead bodies. Offer prayers for them who are buried if no relatives show up to claim the body.”

They’re using old ply board to shore up the walls and fix the roof, but it’s raining again, so things are going slowly. Not just raining; it’s another typhoon, just not as strong as the big one.

She said the government is making plans “to improve our geo agency which is responsible for forecasting typhoons and storms. What happened really is they never expected a tsunami or storm surge.”

I cannot even comprehend living with that kind of threat year after year.

If you thought about helping Filipino storm victims, you could start with Sally by sending a donation to me and I’ll wire the money to her. My address is 1612 D Street W., Fort Dodge, IA 50501.


So long friends, until the next time when we’re together.

Sandy Mickelson, retired lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at