Naturally, with Hurricane Ivan threatening to do a Cyclone Tracy on New Orleans (a city the size of Adelaide or Perth), a lot of people here in Oz have had the South East US on their minds. I've heard people discussing it in the supermarket queues, while waiting for service at the post office, and had quite a few remarks made to me while I was wearing an "I Heart FL" badge. The Firestorm that singed and parbroiled Canberra about 18 months ago is still on our minds. We know what it's like to sit and listen to emergency broadcasts as a threat draws ever closer. Been There, Done That.
So I wrote a letter to the Tallahassee Democrat (a paper I'd found while doing some researching for another article), and wonder of wonders, they published it. Perhaps it was the novelty value, I don't expect they get too many letters from Australia. Certainly it was no epic of Shaespearean proportions, just a reflection of the wellwishing here.
As the link is evanescent, I'll quote the letter:
A few months ago, I had the privilege of attending a concert at the Sydney Opera House by the Tallahassee Winds orchestra.The simple truth.
I just want to let everyone in the Florida Panhandle know that there are people as far away as Australia who were wishing you guys the best with Ivan the Terrible.
You've got friends here, friends you've never met.