Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Hurricane Earl is barrelling toward the US east coast. My heart goes out to those folks that are going about their lives today with such an awful threat in their near future. Waiting for a disaster to appear is nerve wracking to say the least. Unlike when a tornado forms, hurricane time involves days!
We packed up for evacuation twice while living near Savannah. I don't remember the names of those particular winds, but I will never forget the preparation for their arrival.
Days of warning and watching the weather news was surreal. Everyone knew that total devastation was possible while hoping that the global winds would send the hurricane in another direction. All experts declared that it was headed straight for our area.
I walked around the house asking myself, "what can I NOT live without" The answer to that question amazed me as I started taking family pictures off the walls and started wrapping up crystal and china. My car was loaded down quickly and I hadn't even started on clothes or necessities such as water and granola bars!
Honeybuns came home from work after stopping by the lumber yard with several sheets of plywood. He set up the table saw on the driveway and proceeded cutting protective boards to nail up to all the windows. That's what people on the coast do, you know!
That project took hours and hours. While he sawed, I saw many more items I just HAD to get into that car to carry NORTH AND EAST. We worked and perspired into the night.
The rain started coming...SIDEWAYS. That's called the "outer bands" of rain and a sure sign that the eye was getting closer by the hour. Police cars were slowly patrolling through the neighborhood warning those who were still home to "EVACUATE NOW, EVACUATE NOW!" Many had already boarded up and locked up and had been gone for days. Our college son in Texas called to tell us that he was watching the cloud hover near Savannah on the Internet and yelled into the phone, "get out now!" I assured him we were alright and we would call him when the winds had passed by.
It was late and we were exhausted when we looked at each other and said..."we can't do this." The windows were protected, the car was packed up and gassed up and we fell into the bed wiped out! Death by storm sounded like a relief of sorts.
The next morning we woke up to sunshine and dry land...ALIVE! The headlines of the local newspaper declared that the storm had "WINKED" and taken a turn north, missing our town. What a wonderful relief!
I write all that to publicly admit our stupidity. Hurricanes Katrina & Rita have since convinced everyone that "riding it out" is absolutely foolish and irresponsible! And often deadly.
We faced another hurricane after that one with a much wiser attitude that all experienced coastal dwellers embrace. It goes like this, "Put the kids and the dog in the car, drive away, and don't look back." That is SO WISE. Betting on the severity of a hurricane is ridiculous and thinking that staying will protect STUFF is equally stupid.
Spending a couple of days/nights at a motel NORTH AND EAST of the beach can be a pleasant spontaneous mini-vacation. Stuff is meaningless when compared to life.
Today I join my beach friends and say "GOODBYE, EARL" in true Dixie Chick fashion. We've got space if anybody needs a room for a few days.