Chapter Twenty Eight
Late evening at the church and tent city didn’t proceed well. The hasty collection of Red Cross people and volunteers, some victims themselves, handed out what food was available. Without a functioning field kitchen, the tons of supplies couldn’t yet be used. No one had much but at least everyone had something to eat and drink. More supplies rolled in after 8:00 p.m. Andy took charge of the distribution. This’ll give us a head start for tomorrow. At least tonight everyone can spread out and find room in tents or just the open field.
Dusk wasn’t much better. Kids were afraid and crying. Parents looked for family, tension showing on each face. Andy and other officers were plentiful, and their visible presence helped, but still, Tent City was on edge.
Andy listened as an unknown young man, frustrated with a group of crying kids, boldly started singing a nursery song.
When he finished, a young mother looked at him in appreciation. “Sing it again please? Louder, so these other kids can hear too?” She pointed to another group of fussy kids.
So he sang again. His high tenor lifted over the crying kids and general noise.
When he finished, two men from part of a quartet started singing a Christian song, ‘In the dark of the midnight, I have oft hid my face…, while the storm howls about me, and there’s no hidin’ place…”
One at a time, a few others picked up the tune, until a chorus of voices sang of His Peace. Singing it through once wasn’t enough so they sang it through again, expecting His Peace to fall.
When they were done a sweet soprano voice began with a melody. “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God…” It was the former Raven, now Mary again, singing one of two songs she remembered from her Aunt Ruth from when Mary was a little girl.
The songs seemed to do the job. His Peace settled on the camp for the night. Andy and another older officer shook their heads and marveled. “This is amazing. What was a loud, panicked crowd is now quieted down. At least for now.”