During Hurricane Matthew last year, we got a generator: living out in the country, there are only 4 houses on our electrical line and only 2 are currently occupied. That means during storms, we're generally the last to get power back. Since we lost power an hour into that storm and thought we'd be out for days, Hubby called a buddy 2.5 hours away, who had no storm, had him pick up a generator (the last one!) and meet him halfway to make the exchange. That made me feel better. We used it for 1 day before power was restored.
And yet, seeing Hubby pull that generator out a couple of days ago to change it's oil and gas it up made my skin crawl. It's not the thought of the "things" you can lose, it's the sheer strain of the unknown. You hope for the best, prepare for the worst and stand ready to roll up your sleeves to dig out. The thing is, no matter what Al Roker or Jim Cantore say, I just don't trust hurricanes to stay on a specific path.
Why? Because hurricanes are fickle and Ma Nature is in an extremely bad mood lately. And because my first foray into the world of hurricanes was in 1989 with Hurricane Hugo. You know, the storm that might smack Charleston, S.C., then move on? Well, he came 180 miles inland as a Cat. 4 and made my hometown look like a war zone. I spent the morning before and the night of Hugo's arrival in the Civil Defense office, answering phones. The weirdest part? We were in a basement office and couldn't hear the wind. It took 4 calls with me asking people to turn down their radios/t.v. so I could hear them before I understood that background noise was WIND. For months afterwards, I would watch people flinch when the wind picked up and wonder why. One day it hit me: I only heard the wind one time in the basement. It was at the height of the storm and as it whistled and screamed around the corner of the building, even the phones stopped ringing. The man next to me whispered, "Oh shit!" as we all nodded in silent agreement. Then the phones began again and we were back at work.
Last year we had two hurricanes in 2 months: Hermine in September and Matthew in October. The year before that we experienced the "1000 year flood" with a rain storm that made me consider building an ark. I think many of us in the south are "storm weary". Sure, we know hurricanes happen, just like people in California know earthquakes are a possibility. But you can't live in fear. So what do you do?
Acknowledge the reality, prepare...and live your life. Be ready to pick up the pieces if necessary while hugging your loved ones a little tighter. Because that's what counts. People, not things. And when the chips are down, 99% of people will do the right thing and reach out to someone in need. That's the real America. Strangers helping strangers out of compassion and the acknowledgement that we're all just people. (Cue Barbara Streisand singing, "People...people who need people".).
So if you're safe and dry today, send out good thoughts to those whose world is a bit wobbly from wind, rain, storm surge or fear of the unknown. Hurricane Irma is still a day away from us, but it really does help to know someone out there is thinking of you.
Now excuse me while I go out and give the Old Gal a hug. :)