I haven't mentioned the K-word in a long time. You don't hear the word Katrina too often in New Orleans anymore. The vocabulary has changed. Most people break down time into "before the storm" or "after the storm." There's no need to specify which storm. Around here, it's THE storm.
The reason Halloween brings up thoughts of the storm is that tonight's trick-or-treating is a measure of where we stand. For as long as I can remember, my mother has kept track of how many trick-or-treaters visit each year. Before the storm, we usually had about 80 kids come to get candy. Last year after the storm, we had maybe 25 or 30 trick-or-treaters. Our lowest number in the history of mom's candy census.
This year we didn't know what to expect. We took bets. My mom guessed 40 would come. I guessed 80. My dad went for 100. Tonight the neighborhood was crawling with children, their parents, and their Maw-Maw's. My dad won the bet after 100+ kids (and one candy-lovin Maw-Maw) came to the front door. We almost ran out of candy and spider rings. That's never happened before.
After the storm, there's a feeling of gratitude for the small things that return to normal. Tonight we were grateful to see all the kids, even the double-dippers who took two candy bars instead of just one.